The video game market is preparing for a battle the likes of which have
never been seen in the industry. Last week, Sony released the much
anticipated PlayStation 2 and although the production is far behind where it
will eventually be, sales have been tremendous. In fact, demand has been so
high that many are selling their machines on auction sites like E-Bay, lured
by the chance to make profits of several hundred dollars on a single
Although the Sega Dreamcast, which was released last year, and the
PlayStation 2 have been met with considerable fanfare, the real battle will
begin next year when Nintendo and Microsoft release their respective
machines. The video game industry is a $20 billion-a-year business and these
new offerings will undoubtedly test the already crowded market.
The first of the new releases will be Nintendo with the
GameCube, which is
scheduled for release in the fall of 2001. The current Nintendo offering,
the Nintendo 64, holds the second position among sales of video game
systems. Microsoft will follow the release of the GameCube with the
Xbox, their first venture into the video game segment. These units, along with
the previous devices, will make for a very crowded market.
The companies realize that the consoles need to attract as much attention as
possible and, as a result, they are including a variety of add-on devices
for the systems. Many are including DVD players that can play movies and
modems that allow the devices to be connected to the Internet.
All of the machines offer tremendous graphics and run at amazing speeds, but
the Xbox appears to be the leader if you are comparing only specifications.
For example, the Sega Dreamcast can crunch 3 million polygons per second and
runs at a speed of about 200 MHz. The PlayStation 2 operates at 300 MHz and
displays 25 million polygons and the Nintendo GameCube has been thought to
use a 405 MHz chip and displays 12 million polygons. The Xbox will offer
150 million polygons and will utilize a 733 MHz chip.
It should be noted that the Sony and Nintendo systems utilize a chip that
was developed specifically for the video game market. As a result, the
differences in speed between the processors may not hold as large of an
advantage as you might think. However, you cannot disregard the tremendous
number of polygons the Xbox will be capable of pushing.
While hardware is important, it is software that will eventually determine
the winner in the new video game market. For example, the first of the
devices, the Dreamcast, is an excellent machine. Despite great reviews, it
continues to suffer like previous Sega offerings. It has several very good
titles, but it lacks a single knockout title that make people want to go out
and buy the machine.
It is in this area that Sony excels. It has support from most game
companies including the largest, Electronic Arts. Electronic Arts does not
develop for the Dreamcast and is not going to produce titles for the
GameCube but it appears they may develop for the Xbox. The Xbox will also
have support from 150 developers that should provide a large number of
titles. Nintendo, on the other hand, develops a considerable number of
titles internally and has not released information about their developers.
The upcoming year will definitely be another banner period for game players.
It will be interesting to see if a single company will distance itself from
the competition or if the marketplace has enough room for several