Monday, June 11, 2007

Triumph of the Wii: How Fun Won Out in the Console Wars

With Sony laying off people in its gaming division, it looks like the Wii is coming out as the king of this gen's consoles, with the 360 being an admirable second place. The company everybody thought was dying out, fading away, has come back with a vengeance and reclaimed the throne it occupied during my adolescence.

Wired has a column that makes for a good read, summarizing how it came to this. Here's an excerpt:

"Thumb candy for dummies."

That's how, in 2003, Time magazine described Nintendo President Satoru Iwata's conviction that what consumers really wanted out of video games was simpler, more accessible entertainment -- not the photorealistic graphics and massive online worlds that the company's competitors were chasing.

Less than four years later, the machine that Iwata built around his controversial strategy is the world's top-selling game console. In the United States, Nintendo's $250 Wii sold 360,000 units in April, while Sony's $600, graphically intense, Blu-ray-powered PlayStation 3 props up the bottom of the sales chart like a doorstop, with 82,000 units sold.

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