TK's MORNING BUZZ: Confusion Reigns for Software Dealers as All-Out War in Video Game Land is About to Begin30 Aug, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold
It's about to be all-out war in video game land.
Two new video game consoles, Nintendo's GameCube and new-to-gaming Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox, will soon join Sony's still-hot PlayStation 2. A recent survey released earlier this month by the Ziff-Davis Media Game Group found 58% of all active video game players plan on buying at least one new console this coming holiday season.
The survey found that 62% of these new console-buying gamers will pick the PlayStation 2, 34% want the Xbox and 33% will buy the GameCube.
For software dealers, that amounts to confusion, confusion, confusion. It's already hard keeping up with all the new games coming out; now you've got three versions to buy, none of them -- to the best of my knowledge, at least -- compatible.
Add to that the still-breathing PlayStation One and various other consoles the game software makers are supporting and retailers could end up spending well north of $100 for a single copy of a hot title in three or more formats.
Just think if this were happening in the home video industry. You'd have VHS, Beta and DVD, plus eight-millimeter still hanging in there. It would be a juggling act, every month, figuring out not just what to buy and in what quantity, but having to do so for each format.
Software dealers are probably saying a silent prayer that a clear market leader emerges, either PlayStation 2, which already holds a commanding lead (due in part to its one-year head start), or one of the other newbies.
All of this reminds me of the music industry, which has seen two three-way fights in the last few decades: the vinyl LP, the audio cassette and the eight-track tape, and then, years later, the CD, the vinyl LP and the audio cassette.
In each case, one format was promptly vanquished, while another took a clear lead.
When it comes to home entertainment software, three's definitely a crowd.
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