Console wars have been waged for several years now. It’s something that the industry experts talk about. The game console developers brag about their numbers and how successful they have been in any one generation or the other. Fans, and especially fanboys, run around praising their console as it hits major sales. They make up excuse after excuse for a company when their sales aren’t as high as was expected. They slam the “losing” companies as they see that their sales can’t compare to the sales of their favorite company, which results in keyboard warriors going to battle for Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo. Console wars are a big deal, for sure. The more the public is swayed, through numbers and “armies” to join their feelings for a console (example: families praise Nintendo for being family friendly, so family oriented gamers will naturally side with them) the better things go for a company. But who really wins console wars? Is it all about the pure console sold number or is more involved?
Directly it’s all about the number of consoles sold. After all, what is the goal of each company? To sell as many units as possible. But are you only declared the winner if you sold the most consoles? To industry insiders yes. And to many fans that’s true as well. That does make sense. But sometimes the impact that a company makes, even if they didn’t win, makes them a major winner in their own. Think about the Sega Genesis. It didn’t sell as many units as the SNES, its main competition. (42 million sold vs 49 million sold). But what did the Sega do for gaming? They gave Nintendo a major run for the worldwide market share leadership, taking the lead at one point. That forced Nintendo to be innovative and release awesome games like Donkey Kong Country. That’s not to say that DKC would have never come out, but when the competition is doing very well you can’t sit on what you have. Nintendo moved forward and had a great run because of having to play a bit of catch up with Sega.
Sega didn’t win that war, but they changed things for the better, mostly for the gamers. Sega created Sonic the Hedgehog with the main goal of having a Mario killer in that console war. That game changed the way games worked with its speed and attitude. Gaming hasn’t been the same ever since then. So if you enjoy Sonic games then you have the Genesis vs SNES console war to thank for that. Sega lost when it comes to overall sales numbers. But they were something of a people’s champion, challenging Nintendo in ways they hadn’t been challenged before. That meant that both Sega and Nintendo were pulling out all the stops to gain an advantage, which again, benefitted gamers with awesome game choices. In many people’s eyes Sega won that war. The Wii won the 7th generation of console wars, selling over 100 million units over the PS3 and Xbox 360. But both Sony and Microsoft made choices with the PS Move and Kinect that helped propel games in their own right. Just by trying to catch the Wii they helped push gaming in a new direction. It’s a controversial direction, but consumers gained new products because of that war.
The PS4 is winning the 8th generation console war right now. And that forced Microsoft’s hand, so that now the Xbox One is available for cheaper so they can be closer to Sony’s price. Again, who really wins on that deal? Gamers, because they can get a quality console for cheaper, all because of a console war that’s raging. Nintendo’s Wii U hasn’t sold all that well, so they can aim for the fence right now. With what results? Mario Kart 8, a new HD Zelda game in 2015, Super Smash Bros, Sonic Boom, and much more. They are giving you reasons to want Nintendo, because none of those listed games will ever be on the Xbox One or PS4. All three companies are going at it for this console war, giving it all their best with new games and technology (such as VR headsets). Who will sell the most consoles? I’d put my money on Sony personally, but you never know. All I do know is this: the better the competition among the big 3, the more awesome games and products we’ll see released. Sure, the companies win when they sell the most consoles during a particular console war. And whichever company leaves the largest mark on the gaming world has to be considered a winner as well. (Dreamcast having online gameplay for example. Lost the war, brought new gaming innovations). But in the end it’s all about the gamers, and they are the ones who win when companies have to fight hard to be number 1, because they release incredible games and products that may not have happened otherwise.