Editorial: The PS3 has been grilled to a nice golden brown by head chefs Nintendo and Microsoft
Today, Nintendo finally announced the American release date of Mario Kart Wii
. Nintendo's premier racing title will ship on April 27, making America the last region to receive the game after Japan gets it on April 10, Europe April 11 and Australia on April 24.
Meanwhile, in a few days Nintendo will no doubt release the sales data for the recent American release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl
. In that press release, Nintendo will likely reveal that Brawl sold in excess of 750,000 (or possibly more) copies in its first week. This will come on the heels of Super Mario Galaxy
selling over 500,000 copies in its first week of US sales.
Taken separately, these two events would just point to good fortune for Nintendo and their Wii system. It prints money, yada, yada, yada. But taken together, they begin to tell the sad story of a PlayStation 3 that will drift further and further into third place.
But wait a minute, you say, haven't I been reading article after article in the new year that states 2008 is "The Year of the PS3"? Yes you have, but all of those articles are built on a flimsy premise that places the Wii on a different plane than the PS3 and discounts the Xbox 360 almost entirely.
After Mario Kart Wii, Nintendo will continue attacking the wallets of gamers everywhere with a slew of titles throughout 2008. Wii Fit
in May. Mario Baseball
in the summer. Wii Music
in the fall. Possibly even Animal Crossing
at the very tail end of the year. Third parties will also get in on the act with We Ski
, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
(Square-Enix assures us its still coming) and Cooking Mama 2
. And even though it's been out on the Xbox 360 and PS3 since November, the Wii version of Rock Band
should not be counted out.
If the Wii is the ferocious little guy, (like Wolverine), then Microsoft is like the Hulk, the 800 pound juggernaut that can smash through steel. The Xbox 360's 2008 lineup has been given the brush off by many game journalists in recent days, but when taken on a title-by-title basis the lineup more than holds its own with either of the other two consoles.
This lineup includes titles such as Ninja Gaiden II
(coming this summer), Banjo-Kazooie 3
, Splinter Cell: Conviction
, Fable 2
, Too Human
, Gears of War 2
, Tri-Ace's Infinite Undiscovery
, Tales of Vesperia
and the first extension of the Halo brand, Halo Wars
. Not to mention that the Peter Jackson Halo Project
may be released in 2008 as well. This lineup is absolutely nothing to sneeze, especially with the announcement of Gears of War 2 at the Game Developer's Conference.
The Xbox 360 also has something else going for it, nearly every major third-party title that will appear on the PS3 this year will also come to the Xbox 360. The list of titles that will appear on both systems (along with some that are in development for the Wii as well) is incredible: Lego Indiana Jones
, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith
, Fallout 3
, Call of Duty 5
, Resident Evil 5
, Soul Calibur IV
, Silent Hill V
, Aliens: Colonial Marines
and Tomb Raider: Underworld
. And with the lure of Achievements (and the Xbox 360's current commanding lead over the PS3 in market share) will no doubt push many more copies of these games on the Xbox 360 than on the PS3.
Then there's Grand Theft Auto IV
, which is coming to both systems, but only the Xbox 360 version will receive exclusive downloadable episodes in 2008 and 2009. That's a major selling point.
The other important thing to remember about the lineups of both the Xbox 360 and the Wii is that they're unfinished. More games will surely be announced for both platforms at E3 and the Tokyo Game Show. For all we know about the Xbox 360 and Wii in 2008, the holiday lineups of both companies are a bit of a blank slate. While 2008 may be "The Year of the PlayStation 3", that's only because we learned all about the games Sony plans to release in 2008 years ago.
We didn't find out Metal Gear Solid 4
would be released on June 12 until a few weeks ago, but it has been a centerpiece of the "PlayStation 3 Experience" since the system's debut in 2005. Many of Sony's other 2008 releases, including Tekken 6
, Grand Turismo 5
, Killzone 2
and The Getaway 3
were also first revealed during that infamous E3 presentation. We know exactly what Sony has planned for this year and we've known it for a long time. To add insult to injury, the full version of Gran Turismo 5 likely won't appear until 2009, gamers will only get a "taste" of GT5 this year with Gran Turismo 5 Prologue
However, this is not to say that the PS3 doesn't have a ton of other major releases planned for 2008 including Resistance 2
, MotorStorm 2
, Final Fantasy XIII
(provided it is actually released in 2008), Disgaea 3
(which, as is always the case with Nippon Ichi titles, will be more of a "prestige" game than a bestselling one), Level 5's White Knight Chronicles
, Sucker Punch's Infamous
and Quantic Dreams' Heavy Rain
. Home should appear sometime in 2008 as well, but Sony has been rather mum on their "Xbox Live-killer" the last few months.
The PlayStation 3 should by no means be considered dead, but the writing is on the wall, if this is "The Year of the PlayStation 3", they will remain in third place and will never
catch the Wii or the Xbox 360. The more interesting question is, where will the development dollars go after the publishers realize that the PS3 is not and will never be the top dog?