Microsoft, Sony: "Praise Unto Wii"

Amidst the cacophonous din of E3, accolade for the Nintendo Wii was hardly just relegated to eager attendees and gaming press. However, some of the most unexpected acclaim for the Wii came from the mouths of two of gaming’s biggest rivals ’ namely, Microsoft’s Peter Moore and Sony’s Phil Harrison. Whilst verbally lambasting each other, both managed to heap praise upon Nintendo’s diminutive console and its revolutionary control scheme. Moore’s initial statement regarding the PS3’s pricing reads thusly: “Tell me why you would buy a $600 PS3? … People are going to buy two [machines.] They’re going to buy an Xbox and they’re going to buy a Wii … for the price of one PS3.” Moore further elaborated: “People will always gravitate toward a competitively priced product ’ like what I believe Wii will be ’ with innovative new designs and great intellectual property like Mario, Zelda and Metroid.” Upon hearing this, Phil Harrison had a few points of his own to add. “I think Peter Moore is exactly right. I think Nintendo will be the second system consumers purchase after PlayStation 3.” In a statement reminiscent of the PSP vs. DS debate, Harrison went on to add that, “I haven’t had a chance to check out the Wii myself, but Nintendo has a great history of innovation and has always done great things for gaming and long may they do so. But as it relates to our strategy they are very much in a different market.”

Just what does this mean for the Wii? Judging by the above statements, neither Harrison nor Moore seem to be all that perturbed by the Wii, and perhaps they’re right in feeling so. In theory, it doesn’t seem likely that a gamer with their heart set on a next-gen powerhouse is going to forgo the object of their desire for such a vastly different product. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s target demographic, nongamers and former gamers, weren’t likely to shell out for either Microsoft’s or Sony’s offerings in the first place. But just how much does Nintendo stand to benefit? Theoretically, quite a bit. Given the console’s rumored low price, it’s not hard to imagine those who already own a PS3 or 360 burning some excess cash and picking up a Wii on a whim. Furthermore, for those gamers who can’t afford to keep up with the HD era, a cheap and accessible Wii could be just the remedy for their next-generation, that is to say, their new-generation longings. Parents may pick one up just to show their kids what games were like when dinosaurs roamed the earth (say, back in 1991). We know Nintendo expects the Wii to compete on an entirely different level than the 360 and PS3, but are Microsoft and Sony underestimating the impact that the Wii will have on the foundations of gaming?