2008 will be the year of the PlayStation 3

Don Reisinger believes 2008 will be the year of the Playstation 3. Will Nintendo and Microsoft have something to say about that?

Even though Sony's PlayStation 3 was slow out of the gates, it has found its stride lately and performed extremely well over the past few months. And as the latest NPD numbers show, more good times are in store. But in the end, it's what's coming that matters and if you ask me, Sony has everything in place to have the best year of any console maker.

Now I know what you're thinking -- aren't I the same guy who said the chances of the PS3 winning the console war are slim? Yep. And I still believe that. But what I also said is the PS3 will probably end up in second place when this whole generation is said and done and the main reason why that's true is because of what might happen this year

Unlike the Wii and the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3 is poised to grow at a rapid rate and finally become a major player in this generation. And although some would say that it's because of Blu-ray (and that may be part of it), the real reason is that Sony has finally woken up and realized that it needs to change its strategy, refocus its efforts and make an impact now before it's too late.

It has.

According to its most recent sales figures, NPD claims Sony shipped 280,800 units of its PlayStation 3, compared to 254,600 Xbox 360 units shipped and 432,000 shipped Wii units. And although the difference in sales figures is far more noticeable when the PS3 is compared to the Wii, these numbers suggest a shift is occurring in the market.

Is the Wii doing well? Sure. And so far, there is no indication that it will slow down anytime soon. And considering Super Smash Bros Brawl is a great title that deserves the accolades it's receiving, I don't expect any slow down in Wii sales for at least the next three months. Because of that, the Wii will definitely sit atop this generation by the end of the year, but I'm not sold on the fact that it will hold that title forever.

But I digress. The fact of the matter is 2008 will be the year of the PlayStation 3 and it'll be Microsoft that has the hardest time making ends meet. And though that may be hard for some Microsoft zealots to handle, the proof is in the titles and offerings that simply cannot be found on the Xbox 360.

Reason 1: Blu-ray

Alright, so maybe Blu-ray isn't exactly the most important element of the PS3 on people's minds, but rest assured that it does matter to some. After all, when a person runs to the store looking for their next video game console, their ability to play high-definition movies should come into play, right?

As I've said before, Microsoft has made a mistake by not forming a deal with Sony to develop a Blu-ray player for its Xbox 360 . The company is under the impression that most consumers couldn't care less about Blu-ray, but considering the cost of owning either console is quite close if we match specs to specs, and a 40GB PS3 is actually $50 cheaper than an Xbox 360 Elite, why wouldn't someone buy the better-equipped device?

Reason 2: Games

More than likely, your first response to that question was games. Sure, the Xbox 360 currently has a more solid library of games and I simply don't think there's any debating the fact that Microsoft has done much better than Sony at luring developers to its side. But if we look at the upcoming release calendar, I would certainly give the nod to Sony.

And although many titles overlap like, GTA IV, the major headline of the PlayStation 3's upcoming release calendar is Metal Gear Solid 4. The Metal Gear series has always been the cornerstone of Sony's video game library and has sold almost 20 million copies worldwide. Knowing this, there's no reason to suggest MGS4 can't be another big hit and one that should sell a considerable number of consoles for Sony. And when that happens, this race will become even more interesting.

Games sell hardware -- they always have and they always will. And it's that golden rule that will win out this year.

Reason 3: Sony has finally woken up

More than anything else, Sony has finally realized that it can't rest on its laurels expecting the world to stop and wait for it to catch up. In fact, Sony may have finally realized that the original PS3 SKU was detrimental to the company's entire business strategy.

But for once, Sony admitted its mistakes and took it upon itself to right the ship. By working closer with developers and creating more compelling reasons to buy the PS3 with significant price drops and more robust offerings, Sony looks like it's finally doing all the right things to turn the tide.

And it's for that reason that 2008 will be the year of the PlayStation 3 and one that should be exciting to watch.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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