LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp. sided with rival Nintendo Co. Ltd. <7974.OS> on Wednesday in the fight to unseat video game leader Sony Corp.<6758.T>, saying many consumers will choose to buy both of their machines for the price of one PlayStation 3.
The bad blood between Sony and Microsoft in the fight for dominance in the nearly $30 billion video game industry has escalated over the last few days, with both sides trading barbs at the E3 Expo, the video game industry’s annual trade show.
Microsoft entered the next-generation game console market first with its Xbox 360 last November.
Sony aims to extend its market leadership with its upcoming PS3, while Nintendo plans to offer a new game machine called Wii in the fourth quarter.
“Tell me why you would buy a $600 PS3?” Peter Moore, a Microsoft vice president, said in an interview. “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.”
Microsoft predicted on Tuesday it will have 10 million Xbox 360 consoles in the market before Sony launches the PS3. The high-end Xbox 360 sells for $399, but it does not include a built-in high-definition DVD video player that comes with Sony’s PS3.
Sony plans to sell a premium PS3 model for $599 when it debuts in North America on November 17, and Nintendo has not yet disclosed pricing for Wii.
Wii comes equipped with motion sensitive controllers to allow users to mimic the motion of wielding a sword or swinging a tennis racket.
Moore then turned pitchman for Nintendo’s Wii, the latest offering from the Japanese company that once dominated the video game industry.
“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,” Moore told Reuters.
Sony currently dominates the worldwide video game market with a 66 percent share, while Microsoft and Nintendo each hold 17 percent, according to Strategy Analytics.
“We have 100 percent market share of the next-generation, and their job is to take that from us,” said Moore.
“When I think on everything that we’ve got going right now that is real versus what Sony promises to do six, seven months from now, obviously we feel very good about where we stand.”
LOST IN TRANSLATION
Despite Microsoft’s head start with the Xbox 360, the software giant still faces an uphill climb in Sony and Nintendo’s home turf.
Microsoft received a tepid response to its Xbox 360 debut in Japan and demand fell short of expectations during last year’s holiday season when it sold about 100,000 machines.
The company introduced a competitively priced console in Japan, but some of its game titles did not appeal to Japanese gamers. Moore expects upcoming role-playing games like “Lost Odyssey” and “Blue Dragon” from the creator of the popular “Final Fantasy” series to do well in Japan.
“Quite frankly,” said Moore, “if we’re sitting here a year from now and things continue to fall flat, then we might say ‘we don’t know what to do anymore.”‘
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Microsoft is only siding with Nintendo to help bring down the biggest competitor, which is SONY. Next generation, I hope things even out in terms of market share. If one company owns too much of it, then they can control the market and hwat it produces. But if the share is spread out evenly, there is more ocmpetition and a bigger push for better and more original games…as well as more risk taking.
I like the sound of that! Ps3 doesnt have a lot going for it, huh?
Sony is betting on hardware power. Even there have appeared many different specs for the PS3 across the web, they are all higher than XBOX 360′s. This hardware superiority is what makes PS3 far more expensive than other machines. However, videoconsoles are not about hardware, but about fun & games. The real question is if PS3′s games will be able to take the most profit of the hardware: if they don’t, then the price will be a too big drawback. On the other hand, if they are able to get the most of the hardware, it’s price will be justified and both MS and Nintendo will suffer a lot to stand against it. As RT pointed out, competition is the best ally of players, since it forces the big companies to continuously improve. Indeed, PS3′s absurdly high specs (if they are real) are a direct cause of competition pressure: they must fight the competitors and they are trying to do it in the hardware field… only time will tell if they have taken the good path.