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Talking Point: Why Sony Won't Be Too Worried About the Wii U

Posted by Sammy Barker

Here comes a new challenger

They’d never admit it, but the upper-executives at Sony Computer Entertainment were no doubt glued to Nintendo’s pre-release Wii U press conferences last week. After a disappointing E3 showing, the competitor pulled out all the stops to convince consumers its latest platform is worth paying attention to – and judging from the reaction, it looks like it was fairly successful too. But with the new console set to shake up the industry later this year, what impact will it have on the PlayStation 3? And what can Sony do to ensure that its aging system’s final years in the spotlight are as successful as possible?

Ironically, price will be the PlayStation 3’s greatest asset this Christmas. It’s a strange situation considering the system has struggled with cost ever since its initial announcement – but the PS3 already holds a significant value advantage over its latest competitor. A 160GB PlayStation 3 Slim currently costs around $249.99 in North America – that’s dramatically less than the 32GB Wii U’s $349.99 price point. The concerning thing for Nintendo, is that the PlayStation 3 is only going to get cheaper.

Where's the advantage in investing extra in Nintendo’s platform to play a series that’s already established on PS3?

Rumours point to the PlayStation 3’s price-tag finally hitting the all-important $199.99 position this holiday, with the heavily touted Super Slim hardware refresh set to arrive in time for Christmas. In fact, depending on how aggressive Sony wants to be, the system could go lower than that. Outed alongside the Super Slim itself, speculation is rife that the manufacturer’s set to release a budget 16GB [or 12GB, we're not quite sure yet - Ed] SKU, which could theoretically drop as low as $179.99. Considering the PS3’s ability to multitask as a Blu-ray player too – a feature the Wii U doesn’t offer – that gives Sony plenty of potential to market towards cost-conscious families this Christmas.

Of course, many would argue that the Wii U is a brand new platform so naturally it’s significantly more expensive. But in addition to price, Sony also has the advantage of sharing the majority of its software library with the new platform. Some of the Nintendo system’s hottest new releases already have established fan bases on PS3, with the likes of Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty developing strong followings on Sony’s platform over the years.

It’s also interesting to acknowledge the language of third-party publishers when talking about the Wii U editions of their latest games. Activision’s Jason Ades noted in an interview last week that Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will be “on par with any other HD console” on Nintendo’s new platform. Unless the game makes outstanding use of the system’s touch screen, where's the advantage in investing extra in Nintendo’s platform to play a series that’s already established on PS3?

Nintendo also failed to mention how it was going to cope with Call of Duty’s staple feature: multiplayer. It’s taken years for Sony to build the PlayStation Network up to the same standard as Xbox Live, and it's not hard to imagine Nintendo facing similar struggles. True, the platform holder may be keeping quiet while it rattles out the final details of its infrastructure – but for a platform set to release in around two months, it’s surely a topic that Nintendo should be touching upon.

Similarly, it’s becoming more and more important for platform holders to take note of Sony’s PlayStation Plus offering. Nintendo has confirmed that it will be offering a premium promotion for those that purchase the Premium Edition of the Wii U, but as of yet, it’s unclear what this will offer outside of digital discounts. While the PS3’s alternative includes an added cost, it rewards subscribers with at least three free digital titles a month (many of them originally Blu-ray releases) in addition to regular discounts and cloud save storage. It’s a package that’s already caused many to reconsider the advantages of Microsoft’s Xbox Live service – and, once again, adds impressive value to the PS3 experience.

Indeed, legacy also gives the PlayStation 3 an inherent advantage over the Wii U. Sony has significantly increased the amount of retail collections it has released over the past few months, and it’s hard to argue with some of the value on offer. Currently you can purchase all five God of War games for a slender $39.99. Obviously it assumes that you have an interest in Sony’s first-party titles, but for new console adopters, the value of the PS3’s extensive back catalogue gives Sony’s platform another leg-up over its competitor.

It’s going to be difficult for Nintendo to demonstrate the advantages of its new machine’s hardware when there are so many exceptional PS3 games on the horizon

And that legacy extends to more than just value, but also knowledge. Developers have had over five years to work on Sony’s box of tricks, and despite the Wii U’s slight hardware advantages, that means studios like Naughty Dog and Quantic Dream have had plenty of time to etch every last drop of juice out of the console. As such, there’s no Wii U title currently announced that trumps The Last of Us, Beyond or God of War: Ascension from a technological perspective. Wii U will have its moments of course, but it’s going to be difficult for Nintendo to demonstrate the advantages of its new machine’s hardware when there are so many exceptional PS3 games on the horizon.

Still, despite those obvious arguments, there will still be some sweaty brows within Sony Computer Entertainment. The Wii U was always going to sell to die-hard Nintendo fans, but the platform holder has essentially cemented the system’s success in Japan with the announcement of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Boasting Vita-like cross-platform functionality between the 3DS and Wii U will almost certainly mean that the system will sell out overseas and, Tales of Xillia 2 aside, it’s hard to imagine a single PS3 title that will be able to compete with the Capcom juggernaut this holiday. There’s a very real danger that Sony’s platform could get trounced in its home territory over the coming months.

That concern aside, though, Sony’s position seems stable for now – at least, certainly in the West. As the PS3 strides towards its twilight years, expect the platform holder to lean on the system’s outstanding catalogue and value for money this holiday. The software line-up is geared towards families, with Wonderbook and LittleBigPlanet Karting both set to make their debut, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the hotly rumoured PlayStation 3 Super Slim took that messaging even further. With games like Beyond and The Last of Us on the horizon, too, Sony won’t be overlooking the fanbase that’s driven its platform for the past six years. Wii U will be a sell-out at launch – Nintendo fans will make sure of that. But for the average gamer looking for a new console this Christmas, the aging PS3’s still going to make for a very attractive choice.

How do you think the PlayStation 3 is going to fare against the Wii U this Christmas? Will you be purchasing games like Assassin's Creed III and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 on Nintendo's new system? Do you intend to spend less on PS3 this year because of the Wii U's imminent arrival? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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User Comments (33)

SuperNictendo

#1

SuperNictendo said:

I'll still be buying Assassins creed on wiiU. Id rather get it now and not miss out on their beast launch or be struggling to find it later. I'll never search for a system for months again.But for the casual gamer cheaper might be better

hydeks

#2

hydeks said:

I'll be looking forward to Borderlands 2 this month, Resident Evil 6 next month, PlayStation All-Stars in November, and probably much more :P PS3 has nothing to worry about, I think it's become a better deal, now that we know how much the more the Wii U is. In all honest, I think Nintendo is doing great though, just with there launch window games and everything.

Splat

#3

Splat said:

Other than Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Wii U hasn't really excited me that much and that is coming from a pretty big Nintendo fan.

The controller really turned me off from wanting one. I'm not saying I won't ever get a Wii U, but I'm in no rush.

I was late to the PS3 party and there are still a ton of PS3 games that I haven't got around to playing yet.

Squiggle55

#4

Squiggle55 said:

@Splat I kind of feel the same way. There's still a lot I have to play on the other consoles. The only thing that would make me get my hands on a Wii U early is if this digital promotion is like a lifetime 10% off, and you can only get into the program by being an early adopter. So I'm in wait and see mode.

Slapshot

#5

Slapshot said:

I think the PS3 is perfectly fine, Vita on the other hand has much bigger issues to contend with — Nintendo's very own 3DS XL. ;)

Sanquine

#6

Sanquine said:

Many games do not interest me. However , only pikmin 3 and zombie U convinced me to pre order the Ninty console. As stated above i also worry about the vita. Hopefully sony would advertise the damn thing starting with Little big planet vita ( Best vita game till date?)

Mandoble

#7

Mandoble said:

Recently I've got a new Slim 360 for some of its exclusives like Fables, Mass Effect 1, Skyrim plus a lot of outstanding XBLA and old XBoX tittles, it was the 250GB version with Kinect, Gold Live account and two games for 299€. I was also considering a PS3, but the added value per € of MS was better. A 160GB Slim PS3 for 199€, if true, will become in another acquisition. WiiU adds nothing atm, perhaps sometime in the future.

Said that, this article is missing something important. Many many Wii users (me included) as well as many new console users are moving to the HD considering PS3 and 360 as primary options, the main adversary of the 199€ PS3 is not the WiiU, but the 360. The WiiU doesnt seem to represent any important step forward from current generation and it lacks the hundreds of games present for the other two.

get2sammybAdmin

#8

get2sammyb said:

Briefly touching on the Vita, SCEE's been promoting LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 like mad on UK TV. I expect a similar amount of exposure to be given to LBP Vita over here too.

Honestly, not sure if it's having much of an impact. The console's too expensive for the market they're coveting. I still think with Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty it will have a steady Christmas, though.

@Mandoble For simplicity's sake I wanted to keep this article about the PS3 and Wii U, but Xbox 360 is absolutely a factor too. And with Halo 4 on the horizon and some key Kinect games, I suspect it's going to have a strong holiday as well.

Sanquine

#9

Sanquine said:

@get2sammyb Who is stupid enough to play kinect? I have tried.. It dissapointed me. I was like waving to the screen but nothing happens... A waste of money :( I give the damn thing to my nephew.

Squiggle55

#10

Squiggle55 said:

@get2sammyb Those are 2 very strange games for Sony to waste their advertising dollars on, aren't they? Aren't they both watered down, disappointing ports of their home console versions? I would think Gravity Rush, LBP and Uncharted would be getting that attention — and then go ahead and put out some commercials for upcoming games like Tearaway and Guacamelee. A montage of the downloadable games like Mutant Blobs/Sound Shapes/Motorstorm RC/Zen Pinball 2 would also be a good idea for a commercial.

get2sammybAdmin

#11

get2sammyb said:

@Squiggle55 Yeah, they surprised me when I first saw them — but I've seen them about seven or eight times now. And I don't really watch much telly.

I suppose they are strange choices, but they're also bankable games. The LEGO stuff is extremely popular globally, whereas Gravity Rush is less of a known quantity. Hopefully, they put the same amount of resources into advertising LBP.

Mandoble

#12

Mandoble said:

@Sanquine "Who is stupid enough to play kinect?"
My kids, who are "allucinating" with Kinect while leaving the two Wiis they have taking dust. Meanwhile I use Kinect only for console and Skyrim voice control. BTW, if you wave to the screen and nothing happens it is because you have not calibrated it, or you have calibrated it wrongly. That thing detects me even playing at night with the only light source of the big TV.

ShogunRokAdmin

#13

ShogunRok said:

I think one point almost everyone is forgetting about is the fact that once the PS4/NextBox comes out, Nintendo's console will be technically inferior once again. What happens then? Does the Wii U end up like the Wii? It won't have multiplatform games to rely on.

And no I don't plan on buying a Wii U at any point, unless something drastic happens. I honestly think it has every chance of doing what the Wii did - losing third party support early in its life.

ngc628

#14

ngc628 said:

If it weren't for Monster Hunter Ultimate I would have never considered buying a WiiU. The only two games I played on my Wii were MH Tri and RE4. So the math goes ($300 + $60) times 13% tax divided by 1000 hours of MH Ultimate equals about 41 cents per play hour for a Wii U, then it can join my unused DS, Wii, and 3DS.

I can see why Capcom went with Nintendo for the next MH; they can save money by recycling the second generation MH graphics and character models on the WiiU.

Mandoble

#15

Mandoble said:

@ShogunRok, the same applies to PS3 and 360, the problem is that millions of Wii users are actually moving to HD as Wii is plain dead, and they cannot wait until autum 2013 to renew. if they go for PS3 o 360, they will have a HUGE game library since day one, if the go for the WiiU they will have just few titles until the arrival of the next generation devices, and then they have the risk to be forgotten forever. So it is much more "profitable" to become obsolete in 2013 after having at least a full year enjoying a lot of HD games that were not present for the Wii with a PS3 or 360.

Sanquine

#16

Sanquine said:

@Mondoble : Good for you. I have calibrated the kinect. However , it is broken, Sorry i have no children on the moment. However, Le girlfriend is pregnant for 4 months:D So i am becoming a dad. Maybe over a couple of years i can say the same ( Children infront of a console having fun). I would love to have children sharing the same passion:D

Savino

#18

Savino said:

I choose Nintendo and Sony as favorite console companies.
I grew up with nintendo, so there´s no way I will stop buyng their consoles.
And sony has convinced me with PS3 and Vita, so, I will stick with sony for the future generations too.

It´s kind expensive, but I don´t buy all games, only the exclusives and one or another AAA multiplat game!

Sanquine

#20

Sanquine said:

@Sakura_Moonlight2421 That is one smart move of Nintendo. It is worth mentioning it that without Ninty there would not been a bayonetta 2. Therefore, another reason to purchase the wii U. The more the better :D( more consoles)

JavierYHL

#21

JavierYHL said:

ff versus 13 for the holidays? that will be a good counter to wii u monster hunter 3 ultimate...

Mandoble

#22

Mandoble said:

monster hunters are excellent games, but only really popular in Japan. I dont think that's a "bullet" big enough as to have any noticeable global impact.

Ginkgo

#23

Ginkgo said:

The WiiU doesn't grab me at all. Only time will tell how big a success it will be.

Zombie_Barioth

#24

Zombie_Barioth said:

The Ps3 is a great value I'll give you that after all I bought one for those same reasons a few years ago, but I wouldn't count Nintendo out just yet. For starters just look at Mario platformer launches, the Wii U launching with NSMBU guarantees tons of sales. The launch line up is pretty strong but its still rather unfair to compare it to that of a console that is over 5 years old.

Granted I still would wait longer to get one than I'm planning to if it wasn't for MH3U, if I put a good 500+ hours into it like I did MH3 the Wii U will still be worth while.

Gamer83

#25

Gamer83 said:

PS3 has a fantastic lineup and is closing this gen (I have to believe we're not too far from the PS4 announcement) on a strong note, maybe do a price drop but on that front there's really nothing more Sony can or has to do to prove its console's worth. It does need to get the Vita selling though, and that's why Sony can't be concerned about the Wii U. On top of that, both companies tend to appeal to different audiences which is good because it gives each system a unique feel and makes both worth owning. I know I'm going to get a PS4 but I'm going to buy a Wii U as well simply because I don't want to miss out on Nintendo's excellent first party games.

shonenjump86

#26

shonenjump86 said:

Sony has nothing to worry about, neither do Microsoft as. There are still games I'm looking forward to on both 360 and PS3. Wii U looks cool and all but I am in no big rush to get one. Bayonetta 2 and Rayman Legends are the main games I want on there.

Gamer83

#27

Gamer83 said:

@Squiggle55

At least SCEE must be doing something. I have seen basically nothing in the way of advertising for Vita over here in NA. There were some ads when the machine came out, of course, but since then pretty much zip. They had a few commercials for MK but nothing for Gravity Rush (which I still say is the Vita's best game) and now nothing for LBP. They better advertise the heck out of Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation.

Samholy

#28

Samholy said:

the PS4 will be day one buy for me.unless its worth a thousand dollar :-p
.im 30 years old. mario and friends just arent as convincing as they were. I was more wowed with uncharted and god of war than the last 3 consoles generations of mario and zeldas. (well, zelda features a lot of brain-teasing games i love and cherish. but...kratos. KRAAATOOOOSSSS.)

and lts face it. an obese plumber, with a mustache. that wears a bee suit. i mean....comon guys. i need to chose between this and... KRATOS.

Pete69

#29

Pete69 said:

1. Why is the author comparing the more expensive Wii U model to the lesser expensive PS3 model? It's actually only a $50 difference and the Gamepad itself represents a $150 value. Does the $250 PS3 package come with a free game? Does it come with a charger stand? You don't need the premium Wii U model so it's only fair to compare the lesser priced version.

2. Many games that started on other platforms ended up on the PS3 as well, namely Mass Effect and Dead Rising. So it's not uncommon to have new hardware with existing franchises still being released on older systems.

3. Sony's network is still not up to the standard of Xbox Live and Nintendo already has some experience with online play.

4. Wii U online is free so why even bother talking about PSN+? PSN+ also focuses on free games (much of which consists of older titles that are no longer selling well) that are only available if you keep up your membership.

5. The Wii U isn't even out yet but the author wants to talk about God of War bundle that came out years after the PS3 launched? Plus they sold 2 games prior for $40 and only now are offering more games. After demand has died down. Right now there is huge demand for a Wii U and it takes time to build a libraray as well.

6. Why even talk about games like Beyond and The Last of Us when the Wii U will also have time to build it's own library? The PS3 launched wasn't even very impressive and it took about 2 years before they had a decent selection.

7. The PS3 has struggled to recapture the same audience Sony had during the PS1 and PS2 era. It also cost Sony a lot of money and when the system was $499 and $599 they were losing hundreds of dollars back then on each system sold. Nintendo doesn't work that way and even now the Wii U offers great value in comparison. 2 GB of memory, 1 just for the operating system. Something Sony skimped on and one of the reasons why things like cross-game chat will never come. The Gamepad also offers unique and new expereinces and is valued at $150.

There's no reason to discount new hardware before it even begins just becasue this is a Sony site.

Varia01

#30

Varia01 said:

Makes sense. The Wii U is totally better and stronger than PS3, it deserves a higher price. And the launch games aren't that bad (I didn't go to E3, but I did see the awesome trailers). There was awesome titles like:Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U, Lego City Undercover, Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition, Project P-100, Pikmin 3, Game and Wario, ZombiU, and other great titles from Xbox 360 and PS3. It's finally glad to see Nintendo in HD. What can beat a second/touch screen? Wait, I know what your answer is:Nothing. The Xbox 360/PS3, are a waste of money compared to the Wii U.

JayMiller1988

#31

JayMiller1988 said:

@Varia01
Are you trolling or something? Yes, Wii U is more powerful than PS3 and Xbox 360, but by about 1.5x... That's nothing, yes it's better, but what will they say when we get a PS4 which makes this 1.5x sound like child's play?

Don't take this as I'm not going to get a Wii U, but if PS4 games come out on Wii U, guess where I'm going to download them? Wii U has a few very good exclusives (Zelda, Metroid come to mind), but when it comes to the "Wii U being a powerhouse" you pass over into wonderland. I like Nintendo and all, but we have to be a bit more objective.

Gamer83

#32

Gamer83 said:

Wii U is more powerful than PS3, I'd hardly say it's 'better' at this point. It should end up being a great console but PS3 already has an excellent library of games. Wii U has a ways to go in that department before I say it's better than PS3, or 360 for that matter.

BlueProxy

#33

BlueProxy said:

Yes they have good games, and hardware, but it's not a good idea to rest easy. Continue making great exclusive titles. Its good they finally have the system set an ideal price too. The only thing holding them back is lack of online gaming functionality that is comparable to xbox. Fill that hole and things could really pickup for them.

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