Currently there are at least four contenders (five if you count Indrema ... which I'm afraid to say, I don't) competing for your living room gaming (and partial net functionality) time. If I can be bothered, I'll update this node as the "battle" progresses, but to get the ball rolling, here is my prediction : Saturating the market in this way will be harmful for all concerned. Remember what happened in the early Eighties
? For the younger readers, Home Computers
happened, eradicating the need for consoles almost overnight. Now, if it all goes pear shaped this time (which is unlikely with the amount of marketing muscle and casual gamers
in the equation) we can only speculate as to where games development effort will regroup. The obvious answer would be the PC
, but two years down the line we are going to have much more powerful (and connected) hardware permeating our homes (mobiles, PDA's, set-top boxes...)
Who will be victorious and who will go the way of the 3DO
? Gentlemen, start your (rendering) engines ...
Contestants will be judged on hardware sales, quality of games, playground status symbol factor, and viciousness of advertising.
(Other entrants:: NUON, Indrema, Nokia set-top box)
Correction to the below: the NUON was not 'vapor'. You can currently pick one up (and a copy of the very smart Tempest 3000) at your local specialist retailer.
On exclusivity: There is another issue involved with making a game for one format only. And that is that a game designed with a specific format in mind is almost always better than a port, where compromises have to be made and a different style of controller catered for. Only very simple games like Tetris generally survive the porting process. Games that are developed on multiple formats simultaneously sometimes work out OK but that is a prohibitively expensive exercise. When choosing a console the thing to be weary of is that the genres you prefer are well supported. Buying a console on the strength of a 'killer app' is not always a sound method. (Furthermore, Halo is shite- Christ known what witless marketroid decided it could be considered a 'killer app'.)