Gamasutra's latest Question of the Week asked our esteemed audience of game industry professionals, educators and students for feedback on which next-gen hardware is actually being bought by game professionals at the end of next week, and why. Specifically, the question asked was as follows:
Q: As a video game professional, are you buying a Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo's Wii or both on their North American launch later next week? How are you securing your console (eBay, pre-order, queue?), and what underpinned your buying decision?
Interestingly, of the professionals we surveyed, the significant majority of them were more excited about Nintendo's Wii, and were intending to buy that console first. However, the PS3 wasn't left out entirely, and some curmudgeonly responders even insisted that they would buy nothing at all.
On the following pages, we'll highlight a few of the more interesting responses received.
(Please note that the opinions of individual employees responding to the Question Of The Week may not represent those of their company.)
I've secured a Wii through a company deal to get the console directly from Nintendo. I had planned to get one anyway, but was going to wait until I had tried one first, but couldn't pass up the deal. Especially since it meant I wouldn't have to wait in any lines anywhere. I'm still not convinced that the PS3 is worth $600, so I'll be holding off on that indefinitely.
If I decide to buy any next-gen console this holiday season, it will more than likely be the Nintendo Wii. Even as "justified" as publishers have become in basing higher game prices on rising development costs, they fail to realize games are now becoming far from impulse buy decisions. For those of us who are becoming increasingly more jaded by the lack of creativity in a lot of areas in the games industry, making game purchases comes down to heavy research, and a highly critical pick-and-choose attitude when it comes to selecting which games we will purchase. So far I am nowhere near impressed with the launch line-up of either the 360 or the PS3, both of which are mainly rehash EA Sports titles, games already released elsewhere just now with improved graphics, with barely any of the ones not falling into those categories presenting themselves as "I must play this or I will die" category.
I am increasingly wary of what is seemingly a more hardware-centric focus than a game-centric one. I haven't kept up with the various cost related information regarding these systems, but they are increasingly lowering my sense of more-bang-for-my-buck, as there seems to be inclusion of a lot of non-essential elements that have no "true" connection to a great gaming experience. All the bells and whistles are nice and all, but ultimately you can create a great and unique play experience without them, which usually leaves me priced out given there are only a few games I might marginally enjoy, among the even fewer amount of titles I feel I just have to have (which, unfortunately for them, and me, usually don't come out at launch anyway).
When I look at it, that's usually why the casual game market, and the various other forms of current digital distribution channels have picked up - the games can be picked up, played, at marginal cost, and you don't feel all that ripped off having purchased more than one given you're likely to find a number of them you like for the same amount as one "full-scale" game at retail. Technological upgrades are nice and all, but ultimately great games do not have to rely on them, and it seems a lot of developers have great technology with good but redundant game play, nowhere near as "revolutionary" as they would like to claim they are.
The Wii, even outside of its lower system and game price point, has going for it the stronger reputation of games that you can just pick up, play and enjoy. Eventually though, it will be necessary for me to own all of the systems. As much as people like to categorize things as a "Console War," its really more of a game of "Industry Tag." Rarely does any one system cater to every gaming need. Either one side has a great deal of "fun-quirky-easily playable and enjoyable" games but misses more of the "in-depth-hardcore-realistic" ones, vice-versa, and/or various other combinations that make a system's lineup seem lacking in some way. Either way, in the end, all of the systems will more than likely end up with games worth playing, whether they are worth the wait, or the price to be the first kid on the block to play them, has yet to be seen.
Wii, through a pre-order, and of course PRICE was the deciding factor. Nothing against Sony. I'm sure it will be a wonderful machine, but I'm just not to sure about the stability of the initial batch. Plus, I'm pretty sure there will be a price drop sometime in the second or third quarter of next year ;).
I am going to buy both as games might have a chance to be totally different on both systems and I want to have a chance to compare them. Queuing is annoying but still I prefer that method.
Wojtek Bilinski, Tate Interactive
Already got my Wii, through the company we got it on the launch date. And I'm not planning on buying a PS3. I worked on two Wii titles (and helped a lot of other projects), PS3 is too expensive and I love the Wiimote!
Joel Tremblay, Ubi Soft
I'll pick up two Wiis. One for my home, because I think it will be the first console to really appeal to both men and women (Katamari Damacy brought everyone around the PS2, and we want more). The other, as a Christmas bonus for one of our hired guns -- what better way to say "thank you" to an invaluable gameplay consultant than with a shiny plastic monolith of gaming goodness?
Ichiro Lambe, Dejobaan Games, LLC
I'll get a Wii on the first opportunity, but given the price and available games, I'm taking a wait and see approach to PS3. The games for the Wii interest me, I think it will be more fun to play with my 2-year-old. And for the price, I'm comfortable buying the system and some launch titles.
The Wii will be my first purchase, hopefully through a pre-order. As an aging gamer, I find that innovation and creativity always makes for a better gaming experience. I will eventually get the PlayStation 3, but at a much later date.
William Sims, BroomStixInk
Nintendo Wii (European release Dec 8th) via pre order HMV. The price point and innovation of the console should ensure market saturation.
Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Carnegie
I'm buying the Nintendo Wii, by standing in a queue. I already own an Xbox 360, so I've taken care of my HD content. I support HD DVD over Blu Ray. I think Nintendo's future looks very promising and I view the PS3 as the next Sony flop, like Beta, MiniDisc and UMD.
Chad Yurchak, Goodkey Show Services
Wii only. Maybe two. Preordered a few weeks back. As a game designer, I don't really care whether my console has dozens of processors and the capability to produce real-time photo-realistic graphics. Well, it'd be nice, but I'm all about the gameplay, and Nintendo's clearly going to deliver. Is Sony? I'm not seeing any evidence of that so far, so the PS3 will have to wait for game reviews (and a price drop).
Chris Proctor, Bigworld
Just a Wii for me! Pre ordered it. My decision was based on Nintendo's consistent awesomeness as opposed to Sony's ass-ness.
John McCann, Branch Line
My intention is to purchase both but it is likely that I will not see a PS3 for quite some time as I don't see myself standing in line for it. As for the Wii, well, I did stand in line for a Gamestop pre-order, the first time ever in my life to stand in line for anything of this nature. As a fan, I'm much more excited about the Wii. I'm a pretty loyal Sony consumer, but as I did with the 360, I'll probably wait a while for them to work out the kinks. As a developer, I have to have all three platforms, but I'm a pretty patient person.
I am buying only the Wii, by pre-ordering through my company. There is just no debate. Paying 700$ + for slightly better graphic (I have a regular TV so the graphic improvement is minimal) and same old gameplay experience or paying 300$ for slightly better graphic but an entire new gameplay experience, a chance to see some game design creativity and being able to share my hobby with "non-gamers" friends and family. Let me think... I just say, Wii. And the PS3 will wait a long time before it gets in my living room.
Definitely a Wii (already pwii-ordered). The price point of the PS3 and the lack of enticing launch titles makes me as interested in a PS3 as I am interested in getting a root canal.
Ryan Conlon, Gearbox Software
The Wii will be my only purchase for at least a year. The other is waaay too pricey for gaming. Why? Price, the controller, Zelda and Mario. 'nuff said.
I would be glad to buy Nintendo Wii, in the case that I could find it on store shelves or order on-line. Price for that innovation seems reasonable for me, plus I'm expecting to have new game experience. I definitely would not buy PS3, because it's too expensive and didn't have enough exclusive games (most of launch titles available on other consoles, such as Xbox 360, which I have and enjoy already).
Personally, I don’t see any huge technical advances in PS3 over Xbox 360 at the moment – a possibility of a little improvement in graphic would not satisfy me to spend $500-$600 for the new Sony console. If Sony will take out BluRay player, drop the price to $300 point, and have a lot of good exclusive games, I could change my mind and buy PS3 as well - but it's unlikely.
Where's the 3rd option? I'm saving my money for Gears of War and an HD-DVD drive for my 360, and staying away from these two consoles for now. I may get a Wii at a later date after I play one and see how it feels to wave my arms around for a few hours of serious gaming, but I don't for see getting a PS3; I'll stick with my 360 thank you very much.
Buying a Wii before Xmas. I'm just going to go to a store and wing it. PS3 is too expensive, and the games/experience seems more of the same with improved graphics.... yawn.
I have already pre-ordered my Wii. I like the innovative approach that Nintendo is taking to their next generation console, with the new controllers, the downloadable older system games, and their unique approach in design. I look forward to playing with it as well as, hopefully, programming for it.
As a lead designer in a UK I have already pre-ordered my Nintendo Wii. I have to admit the the delay of the PS3 has affected me little as I had no immediate intention to purchase a PS3. The bottom line as a designer is that I'm always looking for new gaming experiences which both the Wii and the DS offer in abundance. Better graphics just don't cut it for me anymore.
Zenorf Stewart, Atomic Planet Entertainment
I have preordered Nintendo's Wii through an Eidos-employee-only arrangement to support Nintendo's innovative controller, and discover how it changes the way I express myself in video games.
Nathan Frost, Crystal Dynamics
The Wii is the only console I'll be purchasing this holiday season. As soon as a pre-order avenue was open I jumped on board. Ideally I would have loved to get both systems since I have never missed a console launch but several things made me lean towards the Wii. The main reason would be Zelda, I have been a fan of this series since the NES days. I buy Nintendo systems for Zelda, everything else is a welcomed bonus.
This past E3 was also a contributing factor, my eyes just lit up as soon as I had the opportunity to play with the controller. Every game felt and played differently because the Wii controller removes that layer of abstraction. The other factor was my wife. I've been trying to get her to play video games for such a long time and I think the Wii will be ridiculously persuasive this time around. I predict a near 1 to 1 attach ratio between the Wii and an extra Wii-mote and Nunchuck set. Extra controllers for the Wii will fetch a nice premium on Ebay.
The price was also a deciding factor. At my age "life" requires more and more of your disposable income. The PS3 is still on my wish list. If I could get the hardware by itself and one game I would probably consider buying one this holiday season but due to supply I believe most retailers will resort to ridiculous bundles. I don't want to be forced to buy items I don't want just to get to the ones I do so it looks like i'll be waiting until the supply is stable enough where I won't have to be subjected to a bundle package.
I am buying a Wii because Sony is too arrogant, from their dev tools to the price point.
Wii - pre-ordered. I applaud the attempt to expand and explore game interaction with the Wii. I will not be purchasing a ps3.
Jim Perkins, EA Canada
I am getting a Wii. There are a few reasons for this, but for myself, a huge part of the reason is irrational bias. I happen to like Nintendo platforms in general. But in addition to that, I only buy a platform when I am certain that there is a game for that platform that will warrant it. And for buying a console at launch, I need to know that such a game will come very shortly after the launch, if not launch day. Nintendo will satisfy that with Twilight Princess, and Super Monkey Ball. And on top of that, I am very optimistic about the new controller system. I may get a PS3, but not until there is a game that I want that will justify the purchase price.
Nicki Vankoughnett, Exile Interactive
No, I am not buying either of them. I am a PC gamer and I buy consoles only when they have a solid catalog of games. I bought the PS2 and the Cube in the last year.
I'm buying neither, I already have an Xbox 360 and it is sufficient.
Scott Adams, Avista, Inc.
One of the ironic things about becoming a game developer has been the substantial shift in my game playing habits. Largely I think that this is due to time constraints, but also it has to do with a refinement of taste - the more I work on game titles and the more I research game design, the less I am able to tolerate tedious or time-wasting gameplay. I find games that advertise their long gameplay to actually be undercutting the likelihood that I'll buy them. I've played too many cookie-cutter games where boring encounters and combats with uncompelling gameplay models are shoved in your face for hour after hour, completely burying whatever interesting gameplay or story the game might have had in a torrent of boring repetition. This is supposed to be a selling point?
Even online gaming, much as a fan that I am, is often not worth the time investment necessary to truly enjoy it. I had my day as a hard core Counter-Strike player. I've played several MMOs. I invested the time necessary to really enjoy these games, building the online social networks and rivalries. It was very rewarding, I'll admit - but the time investment was immense. When I realized that I could get much the same sense of social gaming - and more - sitting on my couch with three friends playing Super Smash Brothers or Goldeneye, I started to drift away from the hard core.
Nintendo seems to get this problem. They make games that focus almost entirely on the enjoyment of playing them, and that do not attempt to become more than a game. I can play a thousand hours of Mario Kart because it comes in small, very fun doses - and I share those doses with my friends. From the Wii I expect even more such bite-sized morsels of pure gameplay deliciousness. From the PS3 I expect more 100 hour extravaganzas that would have made better feature films or anime miniseries. Quite frankly, I have a few dozen of those that I still haven't finished for the PS2 - and I don't need to shell out $600 to enjoy those titles, should I feel like plowing through a bit of gameplay tedium.
If I find that I absolutely must play an awesome online game...well, I have the PC already covering those bases. Do I need another portal into that space? Would I even have time to give it a second glance? Not likely. So, I have absolutely no intention of purchasing a PS3. Its redundancy and expense make it difficult for me to imagine ever owning one. I learned some time ago that more gadgets isn't necessarily better. The Wii, on the other hand, offers me something I can appreciate - new gameplay, fun gameplay, and a great way to interact with friends. I will purchase one at launch, and likely be happy with it as the only console I purchase this generation.
Alex Swanson, GarageGames, Inc.
I'll be waiting on both. With all the great games coming out this season, and since I'm not currently working with either of the new consoles, I won't have time to play with either for a while anyway.
Matthew Hayes, Digital Media Collaboratory
I will be picking up a Wii for two reasons. First, Zelda, and second, it's the first console that I think I will be able to play with my 3 year old son. Some of the Wii Sports games look simple enough even for him. As for the PS3, the closer the day approaches, it's becoming clear that I will need to wait in line all night, for a "chance" at getting a PS3. Further to that, most of the games at launch seem to be already available for the 360 and feature a more robust online component. Thought I have to say, Resistance looks sweet!
Robert Davidson, Propaganda Games
I will be getting the Wii if it is available at one of my local retail outlets, if they sell out I can wait for the next shipment (more games would be available then anyway). PS3 strikes me as more of the same thing we've seen for the past several console launches; enhanced graphics, more processing power, and a higher price tag. Wii introduces a new input mechanism that is truly exciting, this is something that could actually spur some innovation in game development and hopefully create a few new genres.
I've pre-ordered a PS3 through Toys R Us. My decision to go with Sony is based on their content (God of War, SOCOM, Gran Turismo, MGS, etc.), and the Blu-Ray player. The Wii looks great and it's something that I want to purchase for myself at a later date. However, I'm going to try to get one for my nephews for Christmas without pre-ordering (dreaming in Technicolor).
I am buying a Nintendo Wii, and stood in line for a pre-order a couple of weeks ago. The decision was based on (1) my 12 yr old son's request, (2) high cost of PS3, and (3) feedback from those who have experienced using the Wii at E3 and others was more positive.
John Bowen, Zarg Music
I will be picking up the Wii and not the PS3, and I preordered via a local GameStop. I took the morning off work to wait in line for a preorder. The decision came down to cost and launch titles; the PS3 is very expensive and its launch lineup doesn't have anything I want that I can't get for the 360. It's entirely possible I will pick up a PS3 next year (especially as I'm working on a title for it), but for now there is simply no reason to.
I've been watching this generation of consoles closely, and after acquiring as much information as possible, I've decided to purchase a Wii, but not the PS3. As of right now, there's nothing on the launch list for Sony's PS3 that catches my eye as a must-have title. Nintendo, on the other hand, is making a massive statement with releasing two of their "older crowd" franchises at launch, Zelda and Metroid.
As far as acquiring a Wii, I'll just show up at Toys'R Us on Sunday afternoon after the crowd goes away. There was a similar panic when the GameCube was launched, and the Toys'R Us had enough in stock to appease a casual afternoon crowd. Since there are several major retailers within a mile of each other here, (Target, TRU, Walmart, etc), I feel certain that I'll be able to locate one, even after the initial release frenzy clears. SO, while everyone else is waiting online at midnight, I'll be well rested to play all Sunday afternoon. ;)
Randy Wilson, Broken Attitude Studios
Club Nintendo, the official magazine of Nintendo here in Mexico, gave me a Wii in their "15th anniversary cover design contest!" I've been a big N-fan since my childhood so, my answer is clear, I prefer fun, good price, variety & replay value, I prefer Nintendo!
I'm planning on buying a PlayStation 3, provided i can find one, or rather when I find one on a shelf somewhere. My decision is based on overall technological supremacy. This will be the top of the line console. And who other to pull it off than Sony?
Brenden Chase, Xerox Business Services
I will definitely be buying a Wii. Why? Because I can afford it. With the exception of Assassin's Creed, I don't really see anything that would warrant spending $1,000 dollars on a system.
I'm buying a Wii on launch day. I was not able to get to a store early enough to preorder, so I'll probably head out on the evening of the 18th to get one at midnight. The Wii is going to give me great new versions of existing games & genres (Zelda is must buy, Monkey Ball is always fun, etc), and more importantly, it has the potential for new and fun ways to play. I look forward to playing Wii Sports with my wife, cutting down Yakuza in Red Steel, and performing surgery in Trauma Center. Wii offers experiences no other system can. The PS3 is way too expensive, doesn't have a must-buy game, and seems to be offering nothing but high-def versions of games I've been playing for the last six years. Next year I'll probably decide between a 360 and PS3 for "standard" gaming, but I'm in no rush. I can get hundreds of those same types of games for $20 or less for my PS2, Xbox, or Gamecube.
Neither, I'm happy with my 360. The supposed benefit of a Blu-Ray player in the PS3 isn't enough to make me break the bank to buy it. And despite the weak graphics and lack of HD support, I was tempted to buy the Wii. But then Nintendo packed in a game I didn't want and vied to charge me fifty bucks for it. I've already bought the 360, and there's more games for it than I have time to play, so getting another system would just be gluttonous.
Dale Mulcahy, Activision
I'm in Australia so that may bias my reply, seeing as the Wii is here on Dec 7th while the PS3 is not to be seen till next year on our shores (barring creative import opportunities). I've got my Wii pre-order secured at my local EB Games. But I'm looking to get the Wii as soon as possible. My focus (as part of my role) is interaction and user interface focused and as such the new controller the Wii has fascinates me and I can't wait to get my hands on it and then see how it can be used in new and interesting ways. To my mind the PS3 brings nothing new to the table apart from upgrades to existing ways to play the games.The improved processing power and inclusion of a blu-ray doesn't rely impact my job, nor does it really engage my interest.
Ryan Percival, Sensis
Just buying the Wii. Got it through my employer. I refuse to believe that consoles should cost as much as personal computers (especially when content is so expensive), and because of that belief I won't be getting the PS3 until the price drops to something more reasonable. (I considered the 360 somewhat overpriced as well, but not as ridiculously as the PS3)
I will be purchasing the Nintendo Wii and not the PS3. I've already secured a pre-order at my local game retailer. Already an X360 owner, I felt that the PS3 really only offered more of the same. And with truly "exclusive" titles falling by the wayside, I opted to buy into the Nintendo way of thinking. So far from my play tests with the Wii, I am really pleased with the new control scheme and its performance. Inspiring!
I am probably going to buy a PS3 eventually, but not at release. Chances are that we won't develop for it, being a small & financially limited indie group. As for the Wii... Nintendo has taken an old gimmicky controller system and built a console around it. I think over time people will warm up to it, but from an old schooler such as myself; I have seen alternative controllers such as the Wiimote before and how quickly it fades away. I will probably not buy a Wii, but I would like to give it a try. Personally, I'm looking forward to a PS3 when I can afford it. I love backwards compatibility. I don't have to keep old hardware to play the older library.
Duane Ackley, [ERROR:41]
As a producer currently working on a X360 title, I am still very much interested in checking out all next-gen consoles. That's why I will get a Wii and a PS3 as close to launch as I can make it. The Wii interests me a lot on a personal level. I think I would have bought it regardless of whether I was working in video games or not; it's cool, and cheap. I was looking at options to pre-order it through a local Montreal shop, but my company (Ubisoft) has instead offered to pre-order 250 consoles. As a result, I will have my Wii on Nov. 20th, a fact that makes me quite happy. For the PS3, I still have every intention of buying it, but it is much more of a professional purchase than a personal one. I think the price point, and the lack of "killer apps" in the launch lineup, makes me feel like it's not absolutely required to get a PS3 before 2007. I don't intend to try and pre-order it, because of the insanely limited number of consoles coming out at launch. I prefer to let the holidays go by, then get one when the process is saner.
Daniel Roy, Ubisoft
I will buy both consoles. I pre-ordered them. I think both consoles have something new to offer gamers and I'd like to experience for myself how one differs from the other.
Daniel Enfiel, Sony Computer Entertainment America
Nintendo Wii, pre-ordered from EB Games. Why? Innovation, software lineup, and fun. PS3 brings nothing new to *how* we play games. Until PS3 lowers both price points and quality IP finds its way onto the console, "pretty" simply won't be enough. Lyrics in the INXS song "Pretty Vegas" sum up my opinion on the graphics-intensive approach to game design. "It ain't pretty...when the pretty leaves you with no place to go."
Brad Venable, Voice For Hire
On Saturday November 18th, I plan on getting in line to buy a Nintendo Wii early Sunday morning. I am a fan of innovative games, and as such, I have mainly been playing the Nintendo DS. The Wii seems ready to contribute more to that realm than the PS3 does. Nintendo realized that it would have had a lot of ground to make up if it went the route of Microsoft and Sony and wisely chose to go a different direction. I don't think I have ever been this excited about a game console's debut. I don't own an XBox 360 and I don't plan on buying a PS3, but I will be waiting in line with my co-workers, happily playing multi-player DS games as we wait for the Wii.
Shawn Patton, Schell Games
As I was unable to obtain a preorder, it is necessary for me to try and find a console on opening day. Between the two systems, I will be reaching for the Nintendo Wii for its unique hardware, virtual console, and attractive single-tier pricing. While the PS3 is very interesting in its own rights, the unusually high price point, as well as the suggestions by Sony executives that game prices themselves may rise greatly makes the console much less appealing. Of course, there is the possibility that because of my work, I may not be able to get out to obtain either console ne