- Jun 6, 2004
love that chartDaniel Terdiman said:The state of the next-gen video game console
The Xbox 360 became the first next-gen console to sell 10 million units in the United States.
With the release Monday of Wii Fit, the exercise game that some video game analysts have predicted could become one of the best-selling titles of all time, it was Nintendo's turn to dominate headlines related to the so-called next generation of consoles.
The "next-gen" era began in November 2005 when Microsoft launched its Xbox 360 and then really kicked into gear a year later when Sony and Nintendo pulled back the wraps on the PlayStation 3 and Wii, respectively.
Being big business--video game sales in the U.S. alone in 2007 were $9.5 billion--everyone has been wanting to declare the generation's winners and losers since pretty much the first day all three consoles were on the market.
Doing so, of course, is a tricky proposition because console generations last for years, and sales ebb and flow according to a number of factors. But one thing that seems clear is that past success or failure is not a guarantee of future performance. And so while plenty of armchair quarterbacks have already written the results of the next-gen console wars, industry experts say the final results could turn current assumptions on their heads.
Here's where we are today: Nintendo has shocked the world with its Wii, bringing millions of new mainstream gamers into the fold with its innovative motion-sensitive controller, low price, and fun, easy-to-use games. The Wii was presumed the generation's sure third-place entry and now is seen as its winner.
Similarly, with the expected loyalty of more than 120 million PlayStation 2 owners, Sony's PlayStation 3 was expected to be the next-gen winner, especially with a built-in Blu-ray player and incredible graphics courtesy of its Cell processor. Yet, the PS3 is generally seen as next-gen's loser, due to high prices, the resulting lackluster sales, and the perception of a paucity of killer games for the platform.
The Xbox 360 was expected to be a solid runner-up, but instead, it hit 10 million U.S. units sold first, dominates the list of must-have titles, and has seen its online component, Xbox Live--with more than 12 million users--become the class of the genre.