What's crazy to me is (not counting the Wii's runaway success story) how well the 360 is doing. Yeah, there's great graphics and excellent games; hell, even the online experience is worth paying for, but there are a lot of problems, many of which I’ve posted about (and some I've had to restrain myself from posting about). For example, back in October, after Microsoft tried to automatically bill me for an Xbox Live Account renewal ($49.99) and I didn’t have the funds, they sent me an email telling me they couldn’t seal the deal, the account would be canceled and I should renew it manually when I had the funds. Then, last week, right as my paycheck hits, BOOM! They hit me with a $49.99 charge without any warning nor any notification about my account status. That really helps my holiday shopping, thanks Microsoft! Anyway, the point is Nintendo would never charge my credit card without notice; meanwhile Sony’s online gaming is free. Additionally, Microsoft’s consoles break down all the time, but the only way they’ll fix ‘em for free is if you have the “Red Rings of Death,” otherwise, it costs you another $100. This sort of bad customer service and unreliable product should be the trademarks of the console in last place in the console wars this gen, not the one who continues to do well and gets exclusive blockbusters such as Left 4 Dead. Or gets to steal exclusives from the other camp, such as Final Fantasy XIII for that matter…
I haven’t kept up with the NPD, though I know Nintendo is doing well from random reports stating how pleased they are with sales. So I had no idea PS3 sales were down. However, with the economy and everyone cutting down on holiday shopping, video games aren’t guaranteed to sell as well as they have past during past holiday seasons and the situation will probably get worse with the economy for year round sales. Dustin just bought a PS3 and given a price drop, along with some games coming down the pipe (like DC Universe Online, God of War III and the next Team Ico project for example), I’m still interested in picking one up. Maybe Home isn’t all that (it always seemed a bit too ambitious) but there’s not much to love about the New Xbox Experience either (in fact Dustin, Rose and I are talking about collaborating on an article about all the things we hate about it!); Nintendo doesn’t even have an online community (yet anyway)!
Yeah, I’m a Nintendo fanboy; that’s who I am. But the Wii isn’t really a console suited to go toe to toe with the 360 and PS3. It can’t, and I can’t get my heart’s content of hardcore top-tier (in terms of graphics and online) gaming action with just the Wii. I got a 360 because it won me over with its slick graphics, great online and console features but the experience has been horribly tainted by all the disasters I’ve had to deal with owning a system—more than any other console I’ve ever had. Perhaps if I, and others like me, had tuned into the PS3 a bit sooner (and again, may likely later) there would be less frustration for the PS3—at least in terms of seeing poor sales of great games and developers uninterested in doing ports.
I’m not counting the PS3 out yet either, but reading both sales of systems and the clearly revolutionary Little Big Planet are less than expected makes me agree with J that there’s an image problem with PS3—and it’s not just a sign of tough economic times. While it’s great to know J will be joining the 360 community soon, it’s also a little worrisome, knowing the troubles I and others have faced with the system and lackluster service. But I gotta say I love J’s comparing the PS3 to past console underdogs; I was big fans of both the GameCube and the Dreamcast, and those consoles being way behind financially certainly doesn’t mean you’re last in the hearts of the fans.