The New Yorker On Placing Third [6:08 pm]
I enjoyed this when I read it earlier this week: In Praise of Third Place
Sony and Microsoft are desperate to be the biggest players in a market that, in their vision, will encompass not just video games but â€œinteractive entertainmentâ€ generally. Thatâ€™s why the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 are all-in-one machines, which allow users not just to play video games but also to do things like watch high-definition DVDs and stream digital music. Sony and Microsoftâ€™s quest to â€œcontrol the living roomâ€ has locked them in a classic arms race; they have invested billions of dollars in an attempt to surpass each other technologically, building ever-bigger, ever-better, and ever-more-expensive machines.
Nintendo has dropped out of this race. The Wii has few bells and whistles and much less processing power than its â€œcompetitors,â€ and it features less impressive graphics. Itâ€™s really well suited for just one thing: playing games. But this turns out to be an asset. The Wiiâ€™s simplicity means that Nintendo can make money selling consoles, while Sony is reportedly losing more than two hundred and forty dollars on each PlayStation 3 it sellsâ€”even though they are selling for almost six hundred dollars. Similarly, because Nintendo is not trying to rule the entire industry, itâ€™s been able to focus on its core competence, which is making entertaining, innovative games.
And I was pleased to see that it was made a part of this assessment of this week’s video game news: Sony, Nintendo, etc.