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Friday, 15 September 2006 09:10

Nintendo the games specialist shows others how

When you think of Sony and Microsoft, you think of music players, movie studios, record companies, batteries, software, and of course games consoles. With Nintendo, all you associate the name with is games. Thus, it really should come as no surprise that this time Nintendo has simply outplayed its two bigger rivals.

The Nintendo Wii is simply a very good games console, while the other two consoles, especially the pricey PlayStation 3, are bloated hybrid boxes that try to be many things to many people. Quite frankly, my only interest in PS3 or Xbox 360 is a way to get a cheap high definition video player that my kids can also use to play games.

Being a games console company, Nintendo needs to make a profit of its consoles. Thus, the company has obviously put a lot of thought into differentiating itself from its competitors in the gaming experience. And, with Wii, it has succeeded spectacularly.

Being only an occasional games console user, the thing that put me off the most were the ridiculously shaped two-handed remote control units with stupid toggle sticks and buttons that are totally non-intuitive and threatened to give my thumbs repetitive strain injury.

Nintendo obviously did a lot of market research with the gamer community this time, because the Wii is one out of the box for originality and innovation.

From its innovative motion sensitive 3-D one handed remote control, its ability to download previous generation games for peanuts to its very affordable price, the Wii is a breath of fresh air compared to the stale odour of its rivals.

Nintendo quite correctly stresses the importance of the intuitive nature of its controller. "You don't have to be experienced with playing games to start using it immediately," Nintendo says.

With Wii, you can play a game of virtual tennis using the same movements with the controller that you would if you were holding a real tennis racket. You can have real light sabre fights with a gaming partner or with the imaginary foes on the screen. That sure beats a funny looking two-handed control that vibrates when you go over a simulated speed bump.

By avoiding all the bloat that its rivals have included in their consoles, Nintendo has produced a pure gaming device that can actually make a profit on each unit sold, instead of a loss that needs to be recouped through games license fees.

So when holiday shopping season comes around, unless they're looking for a high definition video player, it's a fairly safe prediction to forecast that there will be quite a few consumers asking a store salesperson if they can take a Wii.


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Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.



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