Erik Aston said:
Sony's in danger of a snowball effect happening. Its the same thing which happened to Nintendo ten years ago.
Someone commented about Ninty's "seal of quality," and the practices they had back then... Its true, Nintendo strictly limited the amount of games that third parties could release... 5 games a year was the policy..
But lets put that in perspective... When Atari dominated the industry, the idea of "third party developers" had never occured to them... When third parties started putting out crappy rip-off games by the dozen, and even pornographic games for the system, Atari tried (and failed) to sue their pants off... With their own support behind the ill-conceived successor to the 2600, consumers lost faith in Atari, and the whole home console business crashed... Now Nintendo comes and along with the lock-out chip in the NES, but they also become the first company to openly court third parties, with the limitations meaning that they couldn't just try to cash in with endless bad rip-offs...
But Nintendo became arrogant in their success... Even though many third parties had proven themselves to be great developers, Nintendo kept its "quality over quantity" policies right into the release of the N64... And Nintendo got taught the lesson that it didn't matter that they owned the vast majority of the major franchises of the previous two gens: the quantity of titles PlayStation was able to amass was more important. Sony didn't even need a ton of internal development; they raked in the cash just from liscensing fees from third parties. This was a whole new business model. And with the ability to develop as many games as they wanted, third parties could take more risks then they could under Nintendo's iron fist, resulting in a ton of breakout new hit franchises.
This is just incorrect. Every console manufacturer since Nintendo have maintained a monopoly over the actaul manufacturing of games. Nintendo lost because they had a seperate business of selling the physical cartridges which they maintained a monopoly over. The CD's offered by Sony were much cheaper than cartridges and that more than any other reason is why the PSX beat out the N64.
Right now Sony is losing 200 bucks on every PS3 it sells. The major reason the cost is so high is that they opted for Blu-Ray, to try and parlay their videogame domination into HD video... Because of this, Sony needs to make more money off of liscensing fees from third parties... So game prices go up 20% to 60 USD... But developing for HD actually raises the cost of development even more than 20%... So third parties are basically being asked to finance Sony's interest in the home video market... Now at first glance, it still looks like Sony has an impressive list of exclusives... FF, MGS, DMC, GT. But new B software is being announced for Wii seemingly every day... It just isn't reasonable for third parties to develop exclusives for PS3 unless they are surefire hits, which is why every PS3 game of note has a number at the end of it... Sony may find themselves in the same situation that Nintendo was in 10 years ago, where even though they have seemingly all the important games, the quantity the Wii (and to a lesser extent 360) can amass, in the process gaining pretty much all the new hit franchises, may be more important.
Now with far more 360s and Wiis on the market right now, we could see a snowball effect... Devs know that 360 has the hardcore audience in NA locked up... If they want to launch a new franchise like Lost Planet or Dead Rising, the 360 is the only system which makes sense right now... If they want to make something like Trauma Center or Elebits, Wii is all that makes sense... More and more games coming out for the other systems means they sell more, giving them a greater installed base advantage, and bringing on more new games still...
Also, someone mentioned "radical unique exclusives" could make a difference... Hmm... Check those most recent Japanese charts...
U.S. developers will utimately port the best XBOX 360 games to PS3 (and PS3 games to XBOX 360) unless they are paid not too. The systems are just too similar to maintain exclusivity. This means that Sony will not dominate in the U.S. market they way that have in the past, and may cause them to lose the U.S. market.
Japanese developers will probably choose to develop for PS3 first and then port to XBOX 360 (if at all) because it represents a risky investment due to the failure of 360 in Japan. In other words if a Japanese developer is unsure about the worldwide success of their title, it may not be worth the risk if it will only sell a few thousand units. This might lead to the smaller Japanese development teams to not consider the XBOX 360 at all. This is the reason that I believe that the PS3 will win this generation in worldwide sales. Equal support among U.S. developers, but inferior support in Japan.
The Wii is fun for now, but I count myself in the pessimistic camp, having owned every Nintendo console until now. I don't believe 3rd parties will support the console for the next 5 years, and I just think that controller mechanic will get old. Wii is the easiest console to develop for, but it is the hardest to port multi platform games for. The graphics of any 3 system game (like Madden) will need its own development staff to downgrade the graphics and add features that take advantage of the Wiimote.