A brief, I hope

Recently, both Microsoft and Sony released statements to the affect that the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are not gaming consoles, but are instead media centers. Here are my thoughts.

It is well documented that, unlike when the PS2 launched, DVD players and even burners are commonplace within homes. It is terribly likely that most of the condensed functions we find in the aforementioned "consoles" are already covered by equipment consumers already possess. Thus, the main draw for people must be the one thing we know they certainly can't have now, the next generation gaming console.

Now, given the market shares of Sony and Microsoft for the PS2 and Xbox, it is entirely likely that people interested in those companies' next offerings already have their previous ones.

We must assume that Sony and Microsoft plan to price these media centers below the cost of manufacturing. If this is not the case, the price will be extremely prohibitive (at least $500 if no $700 each). This means that both companies must try and rely on software and related sales to make up the deficit (both companies aren't exactly producing movies to play on these media centers).

Given the likely cost of the new systems ($300-$400) they really need a good software draw. Both companies had impressive showings at E3, although there was skepticism as to Perfect Dark Zero's ability to be complete prior to the launch of the Xbox 360. The question here is will it be enough.

Nintendo's system is built to be a gaming console, with the option of paying extra for add-ons to play movies and whatever else you may need. That's their advantage. You can buy all the bells and whistles the other consoles have (maybe not quite, but almost) if you want them. If you already have a DVD player, the Revolution will be that much cheaper than the competition.

Being centered around being a video game console, I have no doubt that Nintendo will be able to underprice the competition (they always have before, even before this "media center" stuff). The question then is put to consumers, buy extra expensive "media centers" with functions you don't need and in some cases limited backwards compatibility or, buy the actual console with backwards compatibility for numerous consoles complete with the entire history of the greatest franchises included the console from the last generation and keep your other consoles and their libraries?

The argument is somewhat of a stretch, but it makes sense to me.

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