The Christmas season is the critical time for the games industry. Although the predictions are that it will be a deflated year for sales, the marketing budgets will ratchet up and as everyone is aware, there are some big releases on the horizon.
In terms of software, we’ve got a new Assassin’s Creed, a new Call of Duty and the much (much) anticipated Halo 4 to look forward to. On the hardware side is the Nintendo Wii U, which is promising much and, if US preorders are to be believed, set to be a holiday hit.
So how will the holiday season play out? Looking at how things stand now, I think Nintendo and Sony are well placed. I have a question mark over Microsoft.
The Wii U has got a lot to prove in the market, and I think it’s far too early to guarantee that it will be a successful product in the long term, but launching one month before Christmas is a good move by Nintendo. Regardless of how the Wii U performs after Christmas it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a hit beforehand. The lineup of games is strong enough to entice a broad range of gamers (in no small part thanks to the inclusion of a Mario game), and it’s new hardware; the early adopters are going to be happy to jump on board and pull out their wallets.
The 3DS is almost an afterthought for Nintendo this year, but it’s steadily getting steam through third party output anyway, and almost everyone with 3DS’ will need a couple of months to work through Pokemon Black/ White 2 anyway.
I’ve read some criticisms of Sony that its holiday line-up is way too casual-orientated for the lucrative Christmas period. The big push for Wonderbook, for instance, is not exactly going to wow traditional gamers. There’s also some concerns that the newly-launched PS3 model and the struggling PlayStation Vita are both too expensive for their own good. ‘
But to me it strikes me as rather wise that Sony has conceded that a lot of “real” gamer dollars are going to be tied up by Nintendo this Christmas. By coming up with products that appeal as boxes to stick under the Christmas tree Sony is plaything things smart and distancing its own holiday offering from Nintendo.
There’s a couple of first-party “core” games (PlayStation All Stars) and third-party blockbusters (Call of Duty) that should give the more dedicated Sony gamer something to play this Christmas anyway.
Microsoft has a slight problem in that it is largely relying on two very big eggs, and hoping they don’t drop out of a very small basket. Forza and Halo look absolutely spectacular – it’s impossible to argue otherwise, and in fact the response to Halo 4 at the recent EB World Expo put it up there with the most popular games of the show.
But Microsoft doesn’t really have anything else. Kinect is an older technology now, and the casual market is a fan of buying into gimmicks around Christmas – Sony’s Wonderbook has things tied up there. And again, there are a lot of ‘core’ gaming dollars that are going to be tied up by Nintendo’s upcoming console. This is going to have a draining effect on everything else.
I’m sure Halo and Forza won’t suffer for it, but in terms of customer mindshare, I have to wonder at the Xbox 360’s ability to “win” this Christmas season.
Time to open up the floor – which of the ‘big 3’ will occupy the most time for you this Christmas? Or are you just going to be playing your PC or soon-to-be announced iPad Mini?
microsoft is so lame
I'll give you 2 'winners', Black Ops 2(biggest game launch sales ever!) and the Ipad Mini(a tasty bite out of the Wii U due to everyone having a freakin Apple account)
I just need to say this, do you understand the implications of the Ipad Mini? Do you realize how big this is? how in less than 3 weeks time how the Ipad Mini will change the world once again? this is freaking huge, there will be riots in the street, at shopping malls, everything everywhere, people will go crazy…….ahem, people will wonder if Apple is owned by Lucifer himself, how they get a grip over them, they will wish they were Apple themselves.
So yea, the Vita is screwed, the Wii U will be looked over, the PS3 and 360 will always sell and Black Ops 2 will be the game to play and the Ipad Mini will be the thing to have.
You'll find plenty of fans of Apple's products here, Jay, I can promise you that 🙂
That said, I wouldn't want Apple to be my only gaming platform any more than any other console – I love my Vita and 3DS as well, and I think they all work quite nicely together. It's unfortunate that at this stage it looks like that market can only handle two and the Vita is going to lose out.
Fingers crossed for a turnaround, because what there is on the Vita is very good.
I don't have a Vita Matt, but my girlfriend's younger brother has. I held it in my hands and marveled at the screen, the controls, the touchscreen. It was very powerful and it was very disappointing that it doesn't have the support it deserves. It is not something I will buy because it will never have the games I follow, but still, it has a lot of potential – the kind of potential that isn't tapped yet. I hope one day it will be successful. I'm pretty sure that it will still have life until the next generation of consoles (should ever there still be one.) Just like the PS2 and the PS3 before it. Heck, even the PS1.
Given what I know about your taste in games, I actually thought the Vita would appeal to you, Michael.
Just in terms of JRPGs, there's the best version of Disgaea 3 already on there, and there's a HD remake of Final Fantasy X on the way. There's even a port of Atelier Totori – the most popular of that series – on the way too.
And it's not a JRPG, but Gravity Rush and Little King's Story are both games that appeal to people who like JRPGs.
The PSP was a great console for JRPGs – the Vita will be as well I think 🙂
Yeah, actually, it looks like most of the "most recent" RPGs I played are all on the PSP, maybe because of its ability to let me play those old-school rpg classics is one. But I know Phoenix Wright will never come to the Vita (not counting UMVSC3,) Pokemon won't too, as well as Zelda, Fire Emblem, Bravely Default. etc. And another thing, I don't have the luxury or the capacity of buying another handheld (and games there) at this point. But I'll look into it in the future. Perhaps next year. Thanks Matt for the suggestion 😀
No worries – hopefully Sony makes the Vita essential for you in the future 😉
If you ever do wind up with a PS3 or Vita let me know what your PSN is, we can multiplayer whatever JRPGs are hot at the time or something 🙂
So let me understand:
Nintendo is launching the WiiU, with many games missing in action (We just heard Rayman was delayed) and their marketing proposition doesn't seem to make the casual consumer aware that the WiiU is a different product from the Wii, except for the fact that it's now the most expensive console on the market.
Sony is coming up with Wonderbook for the casual crowd, and PlayStation All Stars for the core crowd – both from unproven developers – and are also upping the price of their new console revision.
All at the same time, Microsoft is catering to the core gamer with Forza and Halo, and to the Casual gamer with Kinect and Dance Central – these 4 of their biggest exclusive franchises. They are cutting the price for Kinect and the console bundles by about 50$. They have better relationship with the COD audience which is the biggest selling game this gen. They are revamping their dashboard to include things like a browser integration (finally) and Smartglass functionality with any mobile device. They are revamping their services to have a more unified experience with WinPhone and Win8.
And yet, you seem to think Sony and Nintendo will be the holiday winners? Funny