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|The E3 Crystal Ball by shiva
Ah, after spending all morning working on Homeworld Nation, getting
4 hours worth of sleep, watching my less than 2 year old kid pigging
out on chocolate, and here I am. Doing a rant and rave for a change.
I can do that. After all, if you ask any of the big StarCraft sites,
they would tell you I'm real good at ranting and raving. (But I do
it with class though)
Hmm, who's gonna be the first victim of the evening... Ah, lets pick
on Nintendo, shall we? As you know, I have been doing a Top
Story on the E3 expo. This is the big show for all the retailers
in the industry, and a good or bad showing could make or break a manufactors
year. With the world press well represented, and thousands of retailers
and industry professionals to attend, if you have a important product
to promote, this is the place to do it. Sega will be hawking their
Sega.net, and promoting their Dreamcast rebates, and Sony will of
course have the PlayStation 2 all over the place. Even the Evil Empire,
Micro$oft, will rush out a beta unit of X-Box for everyone to admire.
And Nintendo? Despite the fact that the Video Game industry is the
largest entertainment field in the world, and the industry does BILLIONS
of dollars every year, and we are at the most important retailer's
show of the year, Nintendo has decided not to show the Dolphin or
the Game Boy Advance. (Though there will be a lot of Pokemon) Instead,
Nintendo will show their latest units at the Tokyo Space show in Japan
instead, because after all, IT'S JAPAN, and because the show is SO
much more popular compared to the E3. After all, when E3 comes out,
it's reported on just about every website, magazine and TV show, while
the Nintendo Space show is reported by every... err... hmm...
I guess that even though the world wide market outside of Japan is
larger than the Japanese market, Nintendo is Nintendo. The funny thing
is if your the number 2 game manufacturer, and looking at becoming
the number 3 manufacturer real fast, you would think that at least
you would do something about it rather than let your biggest competitors
get more free publicity on every single game news medium, while you
just sit there and say, "Just you wait, we have something better."
Come to think of it, that's exactly what Nintendo has been doing since
they released that the NES. Nintendo though has seemed to have forgotten
that they no longer control 90 percent of the market. Remember the
Virtual GameBoy? And yes, we have been waiting for that "something
better", and no, we haven't seen it yet.
Anyway, time to go out on a limb on E3 here. Since I had already done
some predictions on the Relic and Blizzard games in the E3 preview,
lets do some quick ones for consoles:
Sega will get the smell of desperation real early in the show, and
announce that the Dreamcast will be dropping in retail price real
soon. They only have grabbed about 11 percent of the total U.S. market,
and you can hear the whispers of "Saturn", and "32X"
already floating around. Lets see what's a good number... how about
$149 by August, and $99 by the end of the year? Oh, I forgot, they
are gonna be a "online company" now. Expect something big
about Sega.net, as the entire company seems to be riding on how successful
Nintendo will have lots of Pokemon products, and will try to hawk
various games to try and deflect Sony and Micro$oft. Won't work this
time. The only advantage that the Nintendo booth will have this year,
is that it's a nice quiet place to catch up on some sleep during the
Microsoft will debut the X-Box, make all the right noises, and then
screw it up by insisting on "Corporate improvements". Come
on, it's Micro$oft! Look at Windows, and it's "corporate improvements".
Funny how a game unit that didn't exist till a couple of months ago,
or even have official specifications, suddenly will have a major debut
at E3. It should look real impressive as well, in it's little sealed
glass case on a table, running games only a P600 can run. Of course,
I wouldn't look to closely, or check under the tablecloth on the table
where the unit is. It could be pretty disappointing if there's a tower
hidden underneath actually running the show.
Sony will just sit back, and say... "show me the money".
They don't even have to do anything. Sure they may be a little upset
that someone found out about the modem and the hard drive, but they
may not even announce it just for spite. The PS2 price? With the cheapest
DVD around 250-300 US, I can't see the PS2 at $300. $350 is a good
number, but since it's the hottest unit at the moment, it will be
more than likely around the $400 level. It's not as if they have any
real competition at the moment, and X-Box and the Dolphin won't be
released till late next year in the U.S.
It doesn't look like there's anything to earth shattering on the software
side, just a lot of sequels, and quite a few computer game ports to
the various systems. Microsoft will undoubtedly announce some major
games ported over to the X-Box, but I wouldn't get to excited, as
by the time the X-Box is released, these games will be over 2 years
old by then. Be a whole bunch of decent games for the PlayStation
2, and even quite a few for the Dreamcast, as developers who are dumping
the system still have to develop the existing games to get some money
back.. Should be a good year.
Everyone is of course waiting for the PlayStation 2, and developers
are flocking to it like wolves after a sheep dinner, but I wonder
about something. It's a hefty price to ask the consumer to pay for
the unit. Sony is expecting ten's of millions of sales, but just how
many people have that kind of money to spend on a game unit? If I
was a developer, I wouldn't be sticking a fork into the Dreamcast
to see if it's done yet, it's a real good unit, and if Sega lowers
the price, it might be a lot stronger in sales than people will realize.
After all, the Nintendo 64 was the number one selling game system
in March, and who would have predicted that?
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