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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Xbox conquers video game market

    Despite the buzz surrounding the new generation of video-game consoles from Nintendo and Sony, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 might be the real winner coming out of the holiday season.

    Market research firm NPD Group, Inc. reported that during the 2006 holiday shopping season, 2 million Xbox 360 consoles were sold, compared to 1.8 million Nintendo Wii and 750,000 Sony PlayStation 3 consoles.

    Why did the year-old Xbox 360 sell more than the hot new Wii and PS3? Stores all across the country had no problem keeping the Xbox 360 in stock while crazed parents and gamers gobbled up the limited shipments of Wii and PS3 almost immediately.

    Nintendo owes a lot of its sales to the Wii’s low selling price, but even more important is the system’s inventive control scheme. The simple, one-handed Wii Remote features motion-sensing and an optical sensor along with a standard set of buttons.

    This isn’t to say that the Xbox 360 is now a dud – its components are more advanced than the Wii, and Microsoft’s Internet gaming service, Xbox Live, has proved a hit. More important is the large collection of games available for the system, including the critically acclaimed “”Gears of War”” by Epic Games.

    Supply wasn’t the only issue in the battle for gaming domination; pricing of these new machines also played a large role. Nintendo was able to deliver the least expensive system with the Wii, at $250. Microsoft sells two versions of its Xbox 360, for $300 and $400. The PS3 is the most expensive, as Sony sells two versions, for $500 and $600.

    Nintendo owes a lot of its sales to the Wii’s low selling price, but even more important is the system’s inventive control scheme. The simple, one-handed Wii remote features motion-sensing and an optical sensor along with a standard set of buttons.

    In Nintendo’s hit title “”The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess,”” players can aim a bow and arrow and swing a sword with realistic movements. Nintendo’s “”Wii Sports”” game (bundled with the system) uses the motion sensor in games such as tennis and bowling. While the game is simple, with mediocre graphics, it has been named the 2006 game of the year by The New York Times and Time magazine due to its fun gameplay.

    The motion sensor capabilities have proved a bit dangerous, as Nintendo’s original remote wrist strap was prone to breaking and launching remotes into lamps and expensive TVs. This damage was widespread enough for Nintendo to take notice, and the company began offering free, stronger replacement straps in December.

    With the lowest holiday sales and the most expensive price tag, many think Sony is falling behind. The PS3 itself, however, offers the most impressive hardware and graphics of the three systems. The system’s high-definition visuals are detailed enough to see the sweat dripping from Shaq’s brow in Sony’s “”NBA 07″” and the intricate war action in the system’s hit title “”Resistance: Fall of Man”” by Insomniac Games.

    The PS3 is also one of the first Blu-ray Disc players available. Sony hopes the new disc format outsells its rival, HD-DVD, to become the high-definition replacement for DVD.

    Now that the holiday shopping season is over, what do Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony have up their sleeves for 2007? Microsoft executives are likely grinning, as Activision plans to deliver a 360 version of their previously PlayStation-exclusive “”Guitar Hero II.”” Microsoft is also preparing the anticipated “”Halo 3″” for release this year.

    Nintendo is aiming to lure buyers with new games from old franchises including their “”Mario Party 8″” and “”Super Mario Galaxy”” as well as Sega’s “”Sonic and the Secret Rings.”” Rumors of an even cheaper Wii system in the coming year have also been thrown around.

    Sony hopes to fix its production difficulties and get the PS3 in the hands of more gamers. Gamers will seemany releases for the system in 2007, including new games in the popular “”Grand Theft Auto,”” “”Final Fantasy”” and “”Unreal Tournament”” series.

    With the Wii and PS3 only being out several weeks at this point, it is too early to tell for sure if either system will be able dethrone the Xbox 360.

    Three systems: who will defeat their opponents?

    Sony’s PlayStation 3 uses motion-sensing controllers marketed under the clever palindrome SIXAXIS.
    Nintendo’s Wii features an online store in which users can purchase old games like 1985’s””Super Mario Bros.”” and 1991’s “”Sonic the Hedgehog.””

    Microsoft recently released an external HD-DVD drive for its Xbox 360 allowing its users to play high-definition movies in the new disc format.

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