Sunday, May 30, 2004

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has made some pretty silly statements lately, what with "Nintendo’s next system won’t be all THAT powerful" and "We like to make games that you can pick up and play." (Not actual quotes, but close.) But, as he stares down the world’s biggest corporate giants, I think he’s right on the money.

Sony is the first name in entertainment. They’re calling their next system, the Game Boy competitor PlayStation Portable, the "Walkman of the future," and they mean it. If there’s anybody that can convince you that this next product is something you absolutely need to have in your pocket to survive the twenty-first century, it’s Sony.

Microsoft is the first name in software. Everybody knows that Windows is terrible, unreliable, and bloated, and that Word contains the viral paper-clip that must melt on a hot grill, slowly and painfully, until there’s nothing left of him but a pair of eyeballs and a thin, freeform saucer, but everyone uses them anyway. In order to buy a computer these days, you have to buy Windows. Microsoft loses money on every one of its subsidiaries but Windows, and they can afford to dump endless amounts of cash into establishing a brand name. If there’s anybody who can take a piece of hardware and pull it through the long haul, it’s Microsoft.

So what is Nintendo to do? They can’t try and make the latest and greatest cinematic movie game with lots of migs and megs and memories or they’ll get their asses kicked by Sony. They can’t try to make the most powerful system in the world with 100,000 horsepower and a heart of gold, or they’ll get their asses kicked by Microsoft. They have two strengths to utilize: their franchises, and their knowledge of gameplay.

Stay tuned for part two, in which Leticia has her chemistry homework done and can afford to write these musings.
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