Word of the Emperor

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Word of the Emperor

Postby Varyar1G » Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:01 pm

Sony’s Brilliance, Microsoft’s Stumble and Nintendo’s Fall
*This article was written by Emperor1G*

As we head into the Christmas season, Sony and Microsoft have announced their respective release dates for their next generation consoles, the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One respectively. Sony is debuting on November 15th while yesterday morning Microsoft announced a November 22nd release date. This is a bit surprising, if one thinks about it for a moment.

Microsoft’s public relations stumbling, from the unveiling of the Xbox One to its controversial Always Recording Kinect and Always Online requirements, have been well documented and debated on the Internet. Microsoft has since backed off on many of these initiatives due to the backlash, but they made one final error that, in my judgement, was a mistake. Sony told the world first exactly when consumers could expect their new console, November 15th. This gave Microsoft the chance to debut a week early and try to grab as many buyers as possible, and by all accounts, they are going to need them.

Sony has made it known they may struggle to meet their obligation to fill over a million preorders systems. With that in mind, this was a chance for a lagging Microsoft to make up some of the difference. By launching a week or even two weeks early, they would have a chance to make a case to people who have NOT pre-ordered to go ahead and pick up an Xbox One, thereby guaranteeing themselves at least one of the next generation consoles for the year 2013. Granted, the preorders and polling shows Sony well ahead with potential buyers and gamers, but this is a “instant gratification” culture, and buying a system NOW would appeal to at least some people.

Microsoft instead opted to release a week later, which is the anniversary of the Xbox 360 launch. Again, this was a misstep. On the other hand, Sony made another brilliant move. They have chosen to release the PS4 in the US before it goes live in Japan. This is unusual in that Sony almost always debuts their products in their home country of Japan first, before letting the rest of the world get their grubby hands on things. If you take a step back and think about it for a moment, it makes sense.

The Wii U will have been on store shelves for the better part of a year already, so all those who were predisposed to buying one probably already have. Microsoft has next to zero market share in Japan, to the point where they pulled even attempting to sell the Xbox 360 a couple years back. Sony is the only game in town (or Japan), pardon the pun, if you’re a video game fan. That being the case, Sony can afford to delay its launch and the perceived slight to the Japanese and launch in what is a bigger, and far more competitive market, North America. It gives Americans a chance to buy during their holiday purchasing season for Christmas, and make inroads into the console market before Microsoft can attempt to make up the ground going forward.

This leaves the odd man out, Nintendo. Don’t buy into Nintendo’s recent claims that they were “never trying to compete” with Sony and MS in the console market. That’s so much nonsense. They made a decisive error in the Wii U, something we covered extensively on the Emperor’s Court radio show some years ago when info about the Wii U began to leak to the Internet. By anyone’s reckoning, the Wii U has been a critical and commercial disaster. While no surprise to me, or anyone else with a shred of business common sense, Nintendo is now stuck with a deceased and decaying albatross tied around their necks. They have a console that no one wants, even before the launch of the PS4 or Xbox One. So what does the future hold in store for Nintendo?

Well, contrary to the doom and gloom naysayers on the Internet have been spouting, Nintendo is actually sitting on substantial capital reserves. These cash reserves are extensive enough to weather several failed consoles and are in no danger of shuttering their doors. That does not mean, however, that they aren’t in trouble of losing serious market share to the point they are no longer relevant, akin to what happened to Atari and Sega. It has been some time since they had a console that seriously competed with the other two big companies. Granted, the Wii sold a couple hundred million consoles, but that did not translate into huge software sales, especially towards the end of its development life. It became a novelty, a family party console that was only brought out for get-together’s. The Game Cube prior to that was never a serious contender to the Sony Playstation 2 or the Xbox.

For Nintendo, now is the time to consider making the move to third party publisher. Nintendo has a slew of huge intellectual properties that people would drool over, especially if released for PS4 or Xbox One. Could you think about playing on your next gen console the Mario Brothers, Metroid, Legend of Zelda, etc? Wouldn’t Super Smash Brothers or Melee be a blast playing with friends over Xbox Live? They could easily go the route of Sega and Atari, all the while maintaining their dominance in the one category that they have always dominated, the handheld market.

They have cash reserves NOW, but that can dwindle quickly, especially if you have to keep subsidizing a console that NO ONE is buying, and by the look of the sales numbers since launch, no one is. It is a very tough road ahead for them to climb if they want to continue to try and vie for consumer dollars on a console to console basis. Now might be the time to announce, following the sales life of the Wii U, that they will begin creating content for the other major consoles.

As always, you can reach me by emailing me at Emperor1G@cox.net, and don’t forget to tune in to me and my cohorts on The Emperor’s Court from 7 to 10pm eastern on Sunday nights starting September 15th right here on RivalCastMedia.com!
"You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced, to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth - and the amusing thing about it is that they are." - Father Kevin Keaney - 1st MarDiv Chaplain - Korean War
"Despite what your momma told you, violence does solve problems." - Ryan Job
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