As it’s the last issue of Stats Watch for the year, we thought we’d look at a few numbers on what IT execs really want to know for Christmas: what’s happening in the games console market. (Yes, we read your column, Jim Swanson - see A month of Fridays draws in.)
So PS2, Xbox or GameCube? Specials will give you the box with DVD player and games for $500, so the choice comes down to which games, graphics quality and inclusion or not of a DVD player.
The first two offer (dongled) DVD players, but the latter two’s graphics are considered superior. Nearly a third of 1000 surveyed Americans use the consoles to watch movies.
US consultancy Instat/MDR, in a report whose title tells almost the whole story (“Video Game Consoles: Sony Dominates While Nintendo and Microsoft Battle for Second Place”), expects the Japanese giant to be top dog for some time, having just shipped its 40 millionth PlayStation 2.
But the money’s in the software for the console vendors, and if exclusive games don’t lure the punters, all the major three are pursuing online plans. It’s a more developer/consumer-controlled ex-perience for Sony and Nintendo, whereas Microsoft is (surprise, surprise) controlling the servers and billing for its online offering, notes Instat. Nearly half of those Instat surveyed expressed interest in online gaming, and a third of that group were willing to shell out $US10 or more.
Microsoft has talent in persuading independent vendors to back its products, but Sony is no fool. One estimate I heard last year was that Sony’s market was worth about $20 million in this country alone, which is likely to have increased and been “grown” by the arrival of the Xbox. No small change.
Nintendo has just about released all of its franchise software and has many games targeted at kids, say analysts. Though let’s not forget that it’s sold 130 million portable consoles to date, according to one report.
Trial consoles to Mark Broatch.