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Console Wars

Josh Martz

Here it is, the moment of truth. With the announcement of the Wii, the 3 largest video game console manufacturers are finally ready to go toe-to-toe with each other. Sure, not all of them have been released, but gamers everywhere are gearing up to see which videogaming giant will emerge victorious.

Microsoft already has a head start with its Xbox 360, dazing gamers with high-end graphics and many action-packed games. With 3.3 million units shipped already (worldwide, as of April), they have the capacity to do what they can to keep gamers coming to their side of things. Franchises like Halo and companies such as Bungie are going to help them keep gamers coming back for more. The Xbox was big on First-Person Shooters and not so big on Role-Playing Games... judging by the trend of games released so far for the Xbox 360, it looks like this will probably be the case yet again. This really isn't a problem by their standards, as a very large part of the gaming community is inclined to play action-oriented games such as FPS and Adventure games (I can't walk anywhere on campus without hearing someone playing Halo...).

On the other hand, we have Sony. Sony shocked gamers by showing off their new system along with some extremely gorgeous looking games such as Final Fantasy XIII. And then, the bomb dropped. The PS3 will sell its top model for $599, which will feature a 60GB HDD, 4 USB 2.0 ports, a memory card reader, WiFi support, Bluetooth 2.0, support for High Definition displays up to 1080i and 1080p, and HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) output. The lesser model for $499 will drop down to a 20GB HDD, and will lose the WiFi, memory card reader, and the HDMI. That's a pretty big difference if any of you are considering using the Blu-ray technology to watch HD movies at some point in the future.

However, despite this large pricing, Sony is confident that they will still sell a lot of units at the outset, due to the enormous sales from their past two systems. This may not necessarily be wrong, but I know that I'll probably be waiting for a price drop or two before considering purchase. Sony does however have a huge third-party base for their games, and that IS a good thing to keep in mind. With companies like Square-Enix backing Sony, they have the potential to create some great games from many different developers, over many different genres. Since the PSX, the PlayStation systems have been THE system to come to if you want a large selection of RPGs. Whether or not a lot of them were good is up to the individual player though.

Also, the rumble feature from the Dual Shock generation has been removed, but in its place, Sony has introduced a 6-degree motion-sensor, allowing for detection of pitch, yaw, roll, and lateral motion.

And then there was one. The Wii. Nintendo has managed to somehow take the strangest system name in history and transform it into a marketing campaign of Biblical proportions. Definitely the biggest thing at E3, the Wii promised gamers a whole new way to play games, with its controller that is based off of both button presses and motion-sensor technology. With this in hand, the doors to innovation have been thrust open, asking... no, inclining developers to create new ways to immerse the gamer in their products.

The controller is just the tip of the iceberg. While Nintendo has yet to announce the official price for the Wii, they have pointed out that it will be cheaper than the Xbox 360, making it the least expensive next-gen console. And let's not forget that Nintendo has a history of making quality games... seriously, their franchises have lasted longer than practically any other on a home console, and with nearly every game being a joy to play. Speaking of these games... the Virtual Console will encompass 3 generations of Nintendo gaming: the NES, SNES, and N64...not to mention the other companies that have allowed their games to be on it, such as Sega. All I can say is... sweet. Now, if they'd only release the price scheme for both the system and VC, I'll be happy.

Every system has its pros and cons, and nothing will be determined until their releases. Save your money, people!

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