Five years after the last post about the topic, the state of the everlasting commercial and technological war between gaming consoles couldn’t be more different: the machine which seemed to be done (PS3) recovered brilliantly, the Nintendo battleship is living a new difficult moment in its troubled history and the eighth generation of home console has been finally deployed in full with the PS4 and Xbox One debut. But the market is pretty different compared to the past as well, while everyone’s expectations - for publishers, analysts and players - have grown a ton.
The incoming future of video games will not be streamed, in the cloud, or in social games available on-line for free, and this is a fact that I have tried to explain before. The topic of this post, conversely, is the series of positive novelties that the success of digital delivery as a supplementary tool for releasing games has brought to the industry, the developers and to whom must purchase these games in the end. In that sense, the lack of a physical copy of the gaming software is widely repaid by a greater range of choices for everyone.
While I’m still in the throes of digesting a four days Christmas food stuffing, waiting for the will to (re)start to write something meaningful on these pages I yield to the last dessert made up by variously assorted snapshots. In particular they cover PlayStation 2 emulation with PCSX2 and high definitions rips, two of the many things that where forcedly precluded to me before my new laptop fortuitous purchase due to the lack of adequate hardware equipment.
Replying to the speculations of analyst Mike Hickey, which forecasted the marketing of a cheaper PlayStation 3 edition without the costly embedded Blu-ray drive, Sony was resolute in specifying that the simple idea would be absurd and would kill “the backbone” of the console because games are built just upon the BD format. “Blu-ray will always be part of PS3“, Sony says, but the market environment and the slow, too much slow growth of high definition disks sales allow to easily predict the fact that within the years to come such model will be only valid for the videogames of the Japanese console and very little more.
Maybe it isn’t correct to use expressions like “the Sony failure”, “the death of PlayStation platform” and others on the same model, but the numbers released by market research experts and by NPD Group in particular surely outline a more and more discouraging situation for the market adventure of PS3, continuously highlight the mistakes and the inability of Sony Computer Entertainment into innovating the videogaming market as in the past years and set off even more the clamorous success of Microsoft and Nintendo branded home consoles.
The worldwide recession is getting worse, wasting economies and laying off employees that will find themselves with no salary hence without money to spend in home entertainment. In such a scenario what was a balance leaning between hope and pessimism turns in a sword of Damocles dangerously close to deadly hit Sony’s Blu-ray, that maybe will get through this Christmas but could not be able to see the dawn of the next one.
Blu-ray, the optical format for high definition that won the commercial and technology war against Toshiba HD DVD, continues to be the great question mark of the multimedia market. If the inquiries highlight how consumers aren’t presently interested to the new technology, the disk “in blue” brings controversy also and foremost among the giants of consumer electronics, alternatingly foreseeing for Blu-ray the perspective of a bright future or a short run which soon will take it into oblivion, replaced by more advanced contents delivery channels.
Sony Computer Entertainment chairman Kazuo “Kaz” Hirai would like to sell 150 millions of PlayStation 3 in ten years, but even that wouldn’t be enough to recover from the astounding cost of the 3 billions of dollars lost for the console. It has been said not by a Nintendo fanboy but by the Sony Corporation Chief Executive Officer Sir Howard Stringer, who has frankly admitted with the press that PS3 is and will be a product at a loss for the coming years yet.
Is cause of a sensation the news coming from Japan in these days, according to which the Microsoft Xbox 360 console has exceeded the Sony PlayStation 3 in weekly sales. A fact that’s undoubtedly exceptional, considering that the American device has always been only a little more than an appearance in the Japanese videogaming scenery, and that can be an ideal background for some general considerations on the present landscape of the endless war among the seventh generation home consoles.
Since the past 19th of February, when Toshiba announced the forsaking of HD DVD, the Sony Blu-ray format has became the only standard for the distribution of Hollywood blockbusters in high definition. But at the end of the commercial war between the hi-def formats, after almost three years of hits below the belt and arid controversy, what remains is a market unwilling to go conquered by the (presumed) marvels in 1080p and consumers not particularly interested. However the majors believe in it, and the tech companies continue to invest into the improvement of devices and disks based on the “blue” standard specifications.