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Which System Will Prevail?

Our look at the coming war

By Troy Roberts     November 27, 2001


Bill Gates' mean machine
© 2001 Microsoft

On Thursday, November 15th, Microsoft released its Xbox to the world. On Sunday, November 18th, Nintendo released its new video gaming console, the GameCube. Both systems have a long road ahead of them, trying to gain ground on Sony's Playstation 2, which currently dominates the video game market. But, do Microsoft and Nintendo have what it takes to duplicate the success that Sony had when the PS2 was released?


I can sum up the Playstation 2 launch day in one word: hectic. Nearly every store in America was sold out, leaving gamers buying systems off of eBay for extremely ridiculous prices. In doing this, Sony developed a high demand for the Playstation 2, even if its launch games were sub-par. Now, this holiday season Nintendo and Microsoft are attempting to do the same thing: release just enough systems, and let them fly off the shelves. Well, from what I've seen, it's not happening. I've seen numerous GameCubes and Xboxs in stores around town, which really surprises me. Why are gamers not scooping these systems up like they did the Playstation 2 last year?


Two reasons come to mind. A lot of gamers have lost their faith in Nintendo. A few years ago, Nintendo released the Nintendo 64 to underwhelming success. While the system itself did average in the States, it was completely rebuked in Japan, thus making for a shortened life for the system. Many gamers feel that cartridges were not the best road Nintendo could have taken with their last system, and some feel cheated by the quality of games that came out.


The other reason has to do with Microsoft. Microsoft is brand new into the world of console gaming, and gamers don't know how well Microsoft will stack up to proven system developers like Nintendo or Sony. Plus, to be perfectly honest, a lot of people just don't like Microsoft.


And also, most gamers already have purchased a next-generation console in the Playstation 2. Why go out and spend two or three hundred dollars for another system that can basically do what the system you already own can. Did Microsoft and Nintendo wait too late to release their systems? Can both systems get off the ground?


There is probably a yes and no answer to each question. The Playstation 2 has already been out a full year, and has gotten a huge jump-start on its competitors. In the last set of system wars, it was Sony who got the jump on Nintendo, and without a doubt was the champion of gaming. This looks like a possibility of what could happen this time around too. And even if the Xboxs and GameCubes do begin selling out quickly, why fight for one at twelve in the morning when you can go and buy a brand new Playstation 2? There seems to be no shortage of them.


As much as I hate to say it, it looks like Sony has the upper hand once again on the system wars. But, with Microsoft's and Nintendo's new powerful consoles, and games like ROGUE LEADER, HALO, and PIKMIN, anything could happen. Lets just sit back and watch the system wars heat up this holiday season.

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