New Year’s Thoughts on Consoles, Gaming for Vista, and More

Dean Takahashi, game columnist for the San Jose Mercury, and author of the recent book The Xbox 360 Uncloaked, gives GigaGamez his thoughts on the year that was, and the year to come:

The big game industry news items for 2006:

– “Nintendo swiftly offered to replace for free any defective straps on its controller for the Wii system. In contrast to delays on its battery recall and objections from Microsoft about repairing defective Xbox 360s for nearly a year, Nintendo set the tone on how to deal with angry customers in the age of YouTube.”

– “In a year when Time named ‘you’ as the Person of the Year, Microsoft enabled ‘you’ the gamer to create his or her own games with the launch of XNA Game Studio Express, a set of tools available for $99 that would allow anybody to create a PC or Xbox 360 game.”

– “Gamers embraced new intellectual properties like never before, according to a recent survey by GamerMetrics. Titles such as ‘Gears of War’ for the Xbox 360, ‘Resistance: Fall of Man’ for the PlayStation 3, and ‘Wii Sports’ for the Wii helped freshen up the usual array of franchises this year.”

Three big game industry forecasts for 2007:

– “The launch of Windows Vista with the DirectX 10 graphics software will enable a new generation of graphics on the PC. That’s important because it will enable better graphics on the PC than you can get on the consoles, paving the way for a revival of the PC games business in 2007 with titles from Crysis to Spore.”

– “Microsoft has the ace up its sleeve in the console war with the upcoming Halo 3 launch. Sony will try to make up for that with titles such as Killzone 2. Nintendo will make do with fewer numbers of titles on both the Wii and the DS. If gamers embrace original new titles coming for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft cuts the price on its console, the Redmond giant could exit the year with a market share lead.”

– “Music players are entering the fray. Apple’s iPod is capable of playing games and game publishers are putting more titles on that platform. Microsoft has the Zune music and video player and could come up with a version that plays games too.”