Let's Crown the King of Consoles!
It's 2011, and gaming has sure come a long way. The Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS and PSP went through many ups and downs between its launch up until now. With rumors of the many new upcoming consoles and with the current generation of gaming coming to an end, I think it's time for us to look back, and see how these machines did over its lifetime and how they stack up against each other.
But before we move on, I would like to explain a number of things. This is going to be from a gamer's perspective (aka, my perspective) so this is nothing official, but I definitely be as fair as possible and judge each console fairly.
There will be five categories we will be looking at in order to determine "The King of Consoles", and they are:
-Market dominance or Popularity
-First and Third-Party game/ support as well as exclusives
-Innovation, (or bringing anything different and new to the industry)
-Features, Hard/Software Capabilities and Unique qualities
-Standing the test of time.
Now that you know the categories we will be looking at, I want you guys to take a look at all the "Kings" of the past generation, and why I chosen them. Unfortunately there's no Atari 2600 because I never played it, nor do I know much about. Without further ado…
The NES: Near complete market dominance, first and third party games, innovation of the D-pad, Light gun, among other stuff. Held its own into the 16-bit era.
The SNES: Heavy dominance in the market despite starting out late. It houses a plethora of great games from first and third parties. Innovation thanks to its semi-3D mode-7 capabilities. It stood well into the 32-bit era.
PS1 (aka PSX): Market dominance, made used of CDs, allowing the storage of more data than usual. And although the N64 could beat it in terms of first party games, you cannot deny that the PS1 houses some of the best third party games ever, (i.e. Final Fantasy 7, Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania: SOTN)
PS2: Near complete market dominance. Most non-gamer people I know, never heard of an Xbox, almost none knew of the GameCube, yet when you say PlayStation, they immediately recognize it. IMMENSE third party support, as well as being a DVD player. All in one. Standing the test of time? PEOPLE ARE STILL BUYING AND PLAYING THIS FREAKING THING TODAY.
So which is the King of Consoles? Let's take a look at each of them, by order of release.
The Nintendo DS
The Nintendo DS, was first released on November 2004, and prior to its release, it is one of the most underestimated consoles. True, the thought of having two screens, one of them having touch functionality, does sound like a weird thing, that is until a number of new innovative game made good use of both of them allowing for some interesting new concepts. The extra screen does have a secondary purpose of serving as extra room for developers to put mini maps and stats instead of cluttering all of them together in one screen.
Still, the DS wouldn't see an increase in sales until the release of the DS Lite, the redesigned model which made the bulky DS phat much smaller, with much brighter and much more appealing to the eye. Third parties would then rush to begin the massive support for the DS that we see today.
Even with the release of the PSP, it seems that the PSP just couldn't do much to slow the momentum of the DS down. As it continues, the DS has sold more than double what the PSP did, nearing 150 million units worldwide, showing clear market dominance, at least in the handheld console market.
The DS isn't without problems. It suffers from being an overall pretty weak and flimsy console (all those crack hinges…), and it is also the weakest console using technology back from the 64-bit era. Despite this, it proves that being a unique console with great games will make a successful console.
The PlayStation Portable
It comes as to no surprise that many people assumed that the PSP would ultimately take over the DS, establishing itself as the new king of the handheld department. Released on December 2004 in Japan, just a month after the DS, the PSP would go on to sell over 60 million worldwide as of this blog post.
The PSP would introduce a number of new concepts to handheld gaming, including using an optical disc format as its primary medium for gaming, introducing a large 16:9, widescreen display to the portable, as well as a new "analog stick". The PSP itself was also a multipurpose device, capable of watching movies, displaying photos, listening to your favorite music and much more.
There are problems with the hardware itself, the UMD way of loading games prove inefficient and not very practical for handheld gaming, and in terms of third party software, it seems the PSP is usually being left in the dust.
There's no question, that after having 60 million sold, the PSP has definitely put a dent into the DS's market. It may not be significant, but it has showed that Sony is definitely a player in the handheld market.
The 360 enjoyed having the earliest launch of all the 3 home consoles. Released on November 2005, it was plagued by having some of the most well known hardware failures of video game history, RRODs. Though it was eventually fixed, some gamers were already put off by it and decided to go with the PS3 or Wii. Despite this, the Xbox 360 did brought us a number of things that are undeniably important to the video game industry.
The most recognizable feature of the 360 is Xbox Live, an online service that has, in many ways, helped made socializing and multiplayer in gaming much easier than before. With friend lists, avatars, easy to use menus, voice chat, downloadable content and many other social features, the Xbox 360 propelled online interactivity and social gaming to whole new level. Even though the original Xbox already had XBL, it was the Xbox 360 that truly set the standard for online gaming.
Sony's Playstation 3 is a bit of a difficult one to judge because of how much it has changed over the course of its lifetime. First released on November 2006, it boasts to be the most powerful hardware of the generation, with processors that rivals of that in supercomputers. That was a fact, and no doubt, it is in fact the most powerful console of the generation. With its Blu-Ray format capable of far greater storage capacity than DVD, it looks to be the best hardware of the generation!
Except when it comes to pricing and marketing, the PS3, was almost a complete flop, with the Wii outselling it nearly 3:1, and it still is the least sold hardware of the generation. However thanks to recent redesigned models and price cuts, the PS3 is coming, rapidly catching up to the 360 in terms of sales, and its hardware power along with the massive storage capacity meant that there are definitely games that cannot be done anywhere else.
While the PS3 didn't really push gaming to new heights with any new innovation, it makes up for it with raw power, and being able to just about anything from playing games, to watching movies, to surfing the web. It's an entertainment center that does everything, so you don't have to own anything more than that.
The Wii is definitely the weirdest of the 3 consoles. Released on mere DAYS after the release of the PS3, the Wii, was both fascinating and weird for many gamers with its motion controls. The Wii was no doubt a commercial success, selling well nearly 85 million as of this blog post, nearly twice as many as the other 2 consoles, no doubt showing huge market dominance as well.
The Wii has a great amount of first party titles, many of which take advantage of the Wii's motion sensing capabilities. It allowed gaming to be more interactive as swinging a sword is no longer a simple button press, and shooting required you to aim you wii remote at the screen.
The Wii is still, unfortunately, not the best of all consoles. Its online is without a doubt, worst than XBL or PSN. It has the largest amount of shovelware, thanks to developers who wants to cash in on the Wii hype, and to top it off, it does not support HD and is the weakest console of the generation (Besides the handhelds for obvious reasons). Still the Wii proved that graphics isn't everything, and gameplay is all that matters, but it also proved, if given a choice, I would like to have both good gameplay AND good graphics. Cheers to those who agree. J
So, which is it? Who is the king? Which gaming console reigns supreme!!???
It's the Nintendo DS!!!
Well, at this point, I don't think I need to explain much more, but you might be wondering "why?" Well it's because when you look at all the consoles, it's obvious the DS has almost the entire handheld market within its grasp, and sure, handhelds tend to sell more than home consoles, but looking at the gameboy, you can see the DS is definitely doing better than the GBA did in its own years. In terms of gaming, though the DS has had its share of shovelware, it cannot be denied that it still has one of the largest and greatest gaming libraries with amazing support from both first AND third parties. The DS was an amazing little machine that was ridiculed by many gamers and looked down upon as well. Not surprising with its weird 2 screen design, yet somehow, it turned out to be the best selling console of the generation.
The home consoles may have proven worthy but to me, it's a bit too early to judge which the better of the 3 home consoles. With the release of Kinect and PlayStation Move, it will be sometime before we can accurately judge these 3 consoles, but for now, the DS is king, and the 3DS will likely follow.
EDIT: More than 1700 words, I felt like I written an article for GameSpot or IGN or something. XD