The next generation of consoles is upon us, so it’s time to answer the questions that have been on every gaming fanboy’s mind since this generation started, "Who won the console war? Was it Sony with the PS3, Microsoft with the Xbox 360, or Nintendo with the Wii?" Well let’s take a look at the competitors and find out, shall we?
First, we have the Wii, the least powerful, but most popular of the competitors. From a sheer numbers standpoint, the Wii is obviously the winner, outselling both the PS3 and Xbox 360 through most of the new console generation. It opened up the gaming world to casual gamers, many of which wouldn’t have been interested in gaming if not for this sleek white console. It also had some incredibly notable first party titles, such as Super Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
However, much of the Wii’s numbers can be contributed to this casual surge of people who wanted to play Wii Bowling once every few months. When you look at the Wii’s software library, a different story is told. Most blockbuster AAA titles never even came to the Wii. Instead, we got waggle controlled spin-offs that were never as interesting as the original. The Wii’s software library was quickly drowned in shovelware. For every Super Mario Galaxy there was a lukewarm Metroid: Other M, an obscure Cooking Mama, and about 10 pieces of dreck like Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? Development stopped for the Wii a few years ago, and Wiis everywhere simply started collecting dust in closets. The Wiis fervor also hasn’t carried over to the new generation as the Wii U is currently struggling.
Then we have the Xbox 360. Microsoft’s console is notable because it was the first one to release this generation, giving it a head start. This also meant that it was the hardcore console that most people adopted. It was also the first to start offering online services through Xbox Live, which meant most people were ok with paying a monthly fee even though Sony’s online service was free. For the past 30 months, the Xbox 360 has been the bestselling home console on the market and it certainly isn’t losing steam.
But, the Xbox 360 is also very polarizing. While the console is a boon to fans of shooters and sports games, many fighting games (especially fighters from Japan), didn’t even come out on the Xbox 360. In addition, the Xbox 360 has had one of the biggest instances of people migrating to other consoles. Microsoft’s handling of the Xbox One also hasn’t won them any fans, and many will be switching to the PS4 as well. This makes Microsoft’s position as “winner” debatable if it doesn’t earn them anything in the coming generation.
Finally, we have the PS3, which undoubtedly started off as the loser this generation. Its price point was too high, at a whopping $599 for the top of the line version, and it had few killer apps to warrant buying it. It also made some horrible mistakes with how it handled piracy and homebrewing, and eventually even got hacked hard enough to take the PSN down for the better part of a month. It also really angered it’s fans when it removed the ability to run Linux or play PS2 games when the newer, slimmer version was released.
However, as time went on, the PS3 slowly came back with lots of console exclusive titles like Ni No Kuni and the upcoming Divekick. The price point fell and PlayStation Plus began the tradition of literally giving away free games to anyone who subscribed. For a while, the console managed to beat out the Wii U and Xbox here in America and it has always been the best selling console in Japan. This makes it a powerhouse on the international stage.
So who won the console war? Well, we aren’t sure yet. This generation isn’t over and there’s a lot to consider before we actually pronounce a winner. What do you think? Is there really a clear winner? Let us know in the comments.