Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Raining Down On The Wii Parade

A friend of mine asked me today which next-gen console I would rather get. Most people would expect me to pick the Nintendo Wii given that I'm a proud owner of a DS, but I've something to say that would make Nintendo fanboys cringe. Price point aside, the release of the Wii as Nintendo's next-gen console is in my opinion is a faux pas.

Fanboys will be keen to point out that aside from me being an idiot, the Wii features innovative gameplay due to its unconventional controller which incorporates motion sensing. Fanboys fail to realize that throughout video game history, innovations introduced by Nintendo like this have always been successfully implement by rival consoles.

Examples include the analog stick introduced in the controller for the Nintendo 64 as well as the rumble feature provided by the Rumble Pak. These features were incorporated into the Playstation 2's controller, the Dual Shock 2 as well as the controller for the Microsoft Xbox. With current advances in technology, it is likely that these two companies to introduce these features in their next-gen consoles, the PS3 and the Xbox 360.

As it is, the Xbox 360 is a compelling option. Currently priced just below RM 1500 for the Premium Package, it is cheaper than both the Wii and Playstation 3 on Malaysian shores, both of which are parallel imported into this country. Already a mature platform due to its one year head start on Sony and Nintendo, the Xbox 360 has an impressive library of games (I would like to play Gears of War, Viva Pinata and PGR 3) and has amazing graphics and processing abilities that overwhelm that of the Wii and currently delivers one of the better online experience among the 3 consoles.

Another aspect of the 360 that interests me is the ease in writing software for it. Sure, aspiring developers will have to pay an annual subscription fee but not many console makers are willing to do that and instead make developers pay for expensive licenses and development kits.

I'm looking forward to getting one this year, and a HDTV to go along with it, bar any problems.