In console smackdown, games are next punch

Gamers may be attracted by swank new features in next-gen consoles, but they say cool games will drive their choice.

After months of rumors and leaks, the critical details on new video game consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have been released in all their number-crunching splendor.

But for all the hype over floating point performance, wireless this and teraflop that, gamers and analysts alike have a consistent message for the hardware giants: It's the games, stupid.

The high-profile unveiling of Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Revolution in the last week made it clear that the next generation of games will be incredibly sophisticated, with high-definition graphics and myriad Net and wireless-based multiplayer options.


What's new:
Now that the next-generation consoles have made their big entrance, game developers are racing to create titles to share the spotlight.

Bottom line:
It's too soon to tell which console will reign supreme, but some developers and gamers are already choosing sides.

More stories on the new consoles

Attention now turns to developers, who are racing to create games that tout the systems' new features. Their products will ultimately determine the success of the platforms, analysts say.

"It will all be about who delivers the broadest titles," said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. "That's how these wars are won."

In the wake of the consoles' unveiling, some developers are already leaning toward one platform.

"I was shocked by how powerful the new consoles are," said Julian Eggebrecht, president of the San Rafael, Calif.-based game development company Factor 5. "They should really free our development."

Eggebrecht said his company--which developed "Star Wars: Rogue Squadron" for Nintendo's GameCube--would create games exclusively for Sony's upcoming PlayStation 3.

The choice boiled down to performance, Eggebrecht said at E3 in Los Angeles. His company has worked with Microsoft's Xbox 360, but found PlayStation 3's 3.2GHz Cell chip offered more processing power. The additional performance allows the gang at Factor 5 to more easily simulate the real world for a better game experience, he said.

Players: Show us the games
While gamers, too, are eyeing next-gen console features with anticipation, much of the talk online and off is about how specific games will meet expectations.

Matthew Freestone, a Utah-based Xbox owner, says nothing from Sony or Nintendo has made him ready to ditch his Microsoft loyalties. He's a "Halo" fan, and said that title will almost certainly keep him in the Redmond fold.

"Sony really doesn't have a game like 'Halo' that makes the console a must-own," Freestone said in a phone interview. "It always comes back to the must-have game."

Aaron McBride, a Los Angeles-area Nintendo GameCube owner, says he's interested in taking a look at

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