Slave to the Game

Filling you in on the oddball gaming news

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While most celebrating their first birthday have achieved very little during the preceding year bar the production of a variety of venomous smells and a lot of drooling, the Wii has had a pretty eventful time.

With its radically new approach to control input (not to mention controversial attitude towards the console industry’s traditional generational horsepower boost), it was clear from the start that the machine was going to be death or glory for the then-struggling Nintendo. Would its success follow on from the SNES and DS? Or would it just be another Virtual Boy? Everyone claimed to know, and all were equally vitriolic in their views.

One year on, it’s obvious that Nintendo’s risk has paid off. The company is back in a commanding position in the videogames industry, the like of which many felt it would never reach again back in the dark days of the Gamecube. Wiis are flying off the shelves and popping up all over the mainstream media, and publishers’ press releases are now packed with new concepts and buzzwords we’d never heard of eighteen months ago.

It’s been far from a flawlessly easy ride though, and not everyone’s a fan. Some remain resolutely anti-Wii, despite the console’s dominance, and there’s still bizarrely a faction heavily against what it sees as the format that ruined gaming. So one year on, just what has the Wii achieved? What has it changed and how much for the better? Read on and find out.

The package now costs $10,250 in the US, 950,000 yen in Japan, and 7,500 euros in Europe. With lower prices now both for the consumer in the form of a system price cut, and for the developer in the SDK, it hopefully will mean higher sales and profits for the PS3.

This is not the last of the price drops either. "As more and more new titles are developed for the PS3 format, SCEI will significantly reduce the price of the Reference Tool in order to contribute to the cost saving measures of the development community," Sony said in a statement.

Cheaper consoles seemed to have worked somewhat for the PS3, although it still suffers from a lack of games. Only about 70 games will have been released for the console by the holidays, versus the hundreds for the Xbox 360.

The Wii is also slightly ahead of the PS3 as far as the number of games, however its cheap price and innovative gameplay have helped it to sell far more consoles than many had expected even with a comparatively low number of titles.

Much of the problem with developing games could be the difficulty and expense of producing them for the PS3. Some developers have claimed that the console is particularly hard to code for due to its sophisticated cell processor and the like.

This could explain why a sizable chunk of the PS2 developers are switching to other consoles, some industry analysts say.