Gaming is no longer a niche enjoyed by a select few. Rather, it has blossomed into a multi-million dollar industry with millions of equally loyal customers who are willing to spend “religiously” to get the greatest gaming experience. In each “generation”, or couple of years, multiple companies fight for the greatest share of the pot. This action becomes little more than a roll of the dice which can reward handsomely or break the bank for each contender.
When the smoke clears and the results are out, one company gains the majority of market, winning the spoils of the generation. While the main contender has typically been Nintendo and Sega, Sony has successfully taken away their huge shares over the past two generations with the release of the vastly successful PlayStation and PlayStation 2 consoles. However, Sony’s “king” share recently has been threatened on multiple fronts. Microsoft’s 360 launched this past Tuesday, putting Sony in the position of having to “catch up”, something they did not have to do at the same time last generation.
Microsoft also refrained from dramatically changing their flagship controller, earning a “thumbs up” from fans. In stark contrast, Sony’s new concept controller was aptly named the “boomerang” by disgusted fans and eager critics alike. Sony has also even had to face criticism over a hidden DRM root kit in new music album releases. This news led to the discovery of a Sony patent from 1999, which set fire to a quickly debunked rumor involving the implied concept of a “one game, one console” DRM like algorithm. So it comes as no surprise that many believe that Microsoft might have the winning strategy this generation with so many clear advantages it did not enjoy with their original Xbox. But gamers and news readers alike shouldn’t be too quick to expect a white flag from Sony quite yet. A new study by Nielsen Entertainment shows that Sony’s PlayStation 3 may have more going for it than anyone expected.
According to their latest study dubbed “Benchmarking the Active Gamer”, about 50 percent of the 2000 North American respondents stated that they would wait for the launch of the PlayStation 3 before throwing any weight behind either of the next-gen consoles. This feat is enormous for Sony, considering there hasn’t been a major announcement since TGS 2005, or a flood of advertisements on the heels of the Xbox 360 launch. The implication is that even with so much going against Sony, gamers are willing to wait to see how the PlayStation 3 will turn out before making a purchase of either console.
Of course, as with all studies, there are variables that must be considered in order to classify the group they actually are studying. In Nielsen’s case, they classified an “active” gamer as one who owns a console and plays a minimum of 1 hour a week. If this 50 percent value were to theoretically hold true, it still does not guarantee that the 50 percent who wait are guaranteed to buy a PlayStation 3. Of course, this study does not account for those who buy multiple consoles either. Regardless of the shortfalls of the study, when taken with a grain of salt, Sony remains a great presence in the next generation of gaming without even having their product out. It remains to be seen if the Sony will keep their impressive market share by the end of the next generation console war. Only gamers can decide the fate of each company.