The Latest Salvos in the Console Wars

Wii serves a million in its first month; Sony admits defeat and sells its game division to… Microsoft? I’m writing this from the old town square of Warsaw, Poland, where the cobblestone courtyard puts you in mind of a World War II movie — and the throughput on the wireless hotspot nearby is better than decent. I’m still debating the social value of always being connected, even from a former communist country so recently impoverished. Still, it does let me track the latest developments in the battle to become the next generation console of choice — and by default, the dominant broadband interface for the world’s living rooms.

And from where I’m sitting, it’s still not looking good for the Playstation 3. According to Ars Technica, Nintendo plans to have one million units of their Wii console on the shelves for their November launch. This is in marked contrast to the 300,000 units of the PS3 that Sony plans to have out the gate. In further contrast, Nintendo expects to make a profit on each sale, while Sony’s console comes with the expensive Blu-Ray and last-ditch discounts that’ll keep it in the red for some time. So grim do Sony’s prospects look, that an analyst pseudonymed “Evermore” has blogged a detailed and tightly-reasoned case that the company will soon find itself forced to sell its game division to Microsoft.

Generally I’m reluctant to give much credence to an anonymous blogger on a girl gamer site, but Evermore offers an extensively-sourced argument. And even more key, since her post has been Slashdotted, there’s a definite likelihood that it could become, through the wonderful feedback loop of the Web, received wisdom among gamers. Perception becomes reality, and the bottom line, and a significant number of them pass on picking up a PS3 this year.

Then again, I am blogging this from the heart of a city devastated by the Nazis and ravaged by the Soviets, but now has wireless Internet and a burgeoning economy, so it’s a place where anything seems possible.


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