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Nintendo Wii

Considered to be the overall market leader in terms of console sales, Nintendo has witnessed radical success since its launch – thanks to its innovative controls and expanded target market. To date, Nintendo’s little box of wonder, the Wii, has sold more than 75 million units worldwide. The sales, however, saw a steady decline in July 2010, with competitors of the Wii catching up with their own innovative ideas. To counter this, Nintendo not only brought innovative and quality titles to its console, but also unveiled the Nintendo 3DS, a substantial effort to welcome third-party developers. Meanwhile, it also took measures to enhance online game play on its system – an area of gaming that the console seemed to suffer in, compared to Xbox 360 and PlayStations 3. Although there were speculations last year that Nintendo would be releasing a Blue-ray version, entitled the Wii HD, in 2010, company heads at Nintendo have categorically denied the rumours, claiming that there were a lot of creative angles that are yet to be explored for the current system.


   
 

Xbox 360

After finally managing to dethrone the Nintendo Wii and DS, in terms of sales, for the first time since its launch, the Xbox 360 became a popular choice for most core gamers around the world. With a total of more than 44 million units sold, the Xbox360 has been creating waves in the market with its quality titles, affordable price points, and superb online service. During a press briefing prior to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year, Microsoft unveiled a revised model of their console, dubbed the Xbox 360 S, which comes with a 4GB or 250GB hard drive. The newer model supports 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, optical audio output, five USB ports and an additional auxiliary port. Also, it is slimmer and more lightweight than its predecessors, and by default, comes in black, with a glossy finish. Microsoft claims that the console is only mid-way through its life cycle and suggests that the new release will help extend the console’s life span well into 2015. Furthermore, with the release of the Kinect hardware last month, the Xbox 360 looks to capture a chunk of the motion-gaming market with its innovative and family friendly games.


   
 

PlayStation 3

To this day, Sony’s big black box is considered to be technologically superior to its competitors. The PlayStation 3 (PS3) has seen a steady rise in its sales, because of its popularity everywhere in general and Japan in particular (where Xbox 360 suffers the most). Doubling as a Blu-ray player for many households, more than 41 million PS3 units have been sold worldwide. While exclusive titles for the console have been few and far between, developers are not shying away from bringing their games to Sony’s machine like they used to. The biggest success for the PS3 this year, however, was the launch of its own motion controller, the PlayStation Move. Although the current library of games for the Move has met some criticism, the response towards the Move controller itself has been positive, as it is perceived to be more accurate and fun than the Wii Remote. Gaining accolades from reviewers everywhere, the PlayStation Move currently has 36 third-party developers, who have pledged their support for the platform. It might be a little late in coming out, but from the looks of it, the PlayStation Move is set to put a stranglehold on motion gaming, giving Nintendo and Microsoft a serious run for their money.

Nintendo DS

With more than 135 million units sold so far – the highest number of overall sales across the board – the Nintendo DS has to be the definitive handheld gaming console. Its user-friendliness and diverse library of games make it an instant favourite for many, with most of its sales being due to the plethora of Puzzle games and online capabilities it has to offer. Nintendo looks to drive those sales even higher with the launch of the Nintendo 3DS in March 2011, which is the only handheld console in the world touted to display superior 3D effects without the need for 3D glasses. The forthcoming system is said to have support for the Virtual Console, faster downloads/uploads, multitasking and a 2GB SD card among other features; and will go for a price tag of approximately 299 US dollars. Several developers, including Ubisoft, Capcom, Konami, Square Enix and Activision, have singed on to the new platform, and a number of remakes of old games such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Star Fox 64 have been announced for release, complete with full backward compatibility. The technology that Nintendo has up its sleeve has stirred a lot of excitement among fans, and sales are expected to reach an all new high once 3DS hits the market.

PlayStation Portable

With a sales figure of 62 million units worldwide, the PlayStation Portable (PSP) continues to be the most popular non-Nintendo handheld console ever. Users across the globe are known to purchase a PSP not only for its impressive library of games, but also for its media capabilities, which include music and video playback, Web surfing over Wi-Fi networks and remote connection of PS3 consoles. While nothing new has been slated for release in the near future, Sony has been working on a deal with the internet giant Google to create a new PlayStation device powered by Google’s Android 3.0 platform. While Sony and Google are yet to go public with this new venture, if rumours are to be believed, Sony’s new media device may have a significant impact on the handheld gaming market.

Personal Computer

Those who claim that gaming on a personal computer (PC) is dead have not done their homework! Although the NPD Group’s official tallies for PC game sales aren’t available, PC gaming still seems to be going strong despite the dominance of consoles within the video game market. The biggest example comes from the PC-only release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, which sold more than 3 million units in the first month of its release. Developers are certainly not shying away from PC gaming altogether, as titles such as Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, which were originally not slated for release on the PC, are currently under development for the platform. Undeniably, PC gaming brings a whole new layer of depth and complexity to titles, and since development for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows is quite similar, there aren’t many problems when porting titles across platforms. Even though gaming consoles continue to innovate and push for new technologies, the PC is still one of the most popular platforms among gamers everywhere.


 
 
 
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