The battle between Zune and iPod is about to begin but the larger more important fight for Microsoft this year may be the console war that starts with the release of the Nintendo wii and the Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) this holiday season. The Xbox 360 has nearly one full season behind it and has the advantage over both Nintendo and Sony with stores properly stocked and ready to sell. Nintendo and Sony have yet to release their device and although there is much excitement in both camps they must be aware that heavy marketing and proper inventory numbers will be key to success for both units. The competition for game dollars this holiday season are tight and there are many choices available to a whole new generation of gamers looking for a first console to buy. I’m no gamer so I chose to feature some articles written by real game pros about the upcoming battle. Look forward to some great game console reviews and a run down of the “Console Wars” for Holiday Season 2006 being featured all week from us here at ZuneMAX.com.
Game on: the battle of the superconsoles begins
The video gaming giants are fighting for supremacy with three new-generation machines touting advanced technology. Which is best? Stuart Andrews tried them
The simmering battle for the console games market will explode over the next six weeks as the big players vie for a space in your living room with next-generation machines.
On December 8, Nintendo launches its new system, the Wii (pronounced â€œweâ€), with an innovative motion-sensitive controller that it hopes will revolutionize game playing. The long-anticipated Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) goes on sale in the US and Japan this month and in Britain next March, while Microsoft hopes that you will plump for its Xbox 360, already in the shops.
The stakes are high, particularly in the UK. Our games market is the third largest in the world. Around Â£1.7 billion of games were sold in Britain last year, almost as much as the Â£1.9 billion we spent on music.
That is why manufacturers are willing to invest so heavily in development and marketing. None of the big three will disclose how much they spent on their machines but Sony says it spent about Â£850m for the processing chip alone and a chunk of its recent 94% fall in profits was attributed to the costs of the PS3.
What makes these machines so costly for makers, and so exciting for us, is that they are not merely games consoles but full-blown multimedia systems built for a digital home. They will connect to an MP3 player, a handheld games player and â€” with an Xbox 360 â€” your home computer.
Whatâ€™s more, Microsoft and Sony are gearing up for the high definition (HD) era. Their respective consoles offer HD-calibre games and embrace one of the two new HD disc formats aiming to replace DVD. PlayStation 3 features a Blu-ray player, while this Christmas Microsoft will sell an HD-DVD add-on for the Xbox 360.
Each console offers WiFi features (Â£60 extra on the Xbox) and an online games service. Owners with broadband can play with friends all over the world, download classic games and take new titles for a trial spin.
Once youâ€™ve seen one of these consoles running on an HD-ready screen youâ€™ll not want to go back to the standard version. With so much colour and detail, current-generation games can seem, well, dull. To help you choose, we got all three consoles together for a superconsole shakedown.