Zune, Wii or iPhone?

by James R. Stoup Dec 05, 2006

The hype is over, the products are on sale and the verdicts are in. The Zune sucks, the Wii rocks and the Playstation 3 is causing mass hysteria. I, for one, can’t wait until next year when we all can stand in line trying to knife one another over who gets to buy an iPhone.

But taking a slightly more indepth look at things I must pose this question. Was I the only one surprised at the amount of attention the Zune has gotten? Because, virtually without exception, it has garnered poor reviews. The hardware has been opened, the software has been crashed and the experience as a whole has been summed up as mediocre. Contrast this to the Wii. Every report I have read has declared the Wii a winner. But it isn’t getting nearly as much attention as Microsoft’s failed MP3 player. Why?

I keep hearing the oft repeated pearl of wisdom that the Zune is a version 1.0 device and that Microsoft doesn’t actually produce a meaningful product until its third release. Which would put this new Zune 3.0 somewhere between 2-3 years into the future. Am I the only one who is skeptical of this nonsense? Are these pundits really thinking that Microsoft will continually lose money for at least 2 years before coming up with a competitor to today’s iPod? Isn’t it a bit more likely that the Zune will just die a slow and quiet death just like Plays-For-Sure? Am I missing something here?

But getting back to Nintendo and their amazing new console I would like to ruminate for a moment. For those of you who haven’t actually played with a Wii, let me tell you, they are cool. Really cool. Like, you will probably be buying one in the next year, kind-of cool. So doesn’t this officially signal the decline of the standard two joystick controller? You can already see that Sony is trying to jump on board with its novice attempt at including motion sensing technology in its controllers. But what about Microsoft? The Xbox 360 has only been out for a year and its going to be a long time (as far as the video game industry is concerned) before the Xbox 720 (or whatever its to be called) comes out.

This means that Microsoft can either pull a Sony and attempt some cheap bolt-on motion sensor knock-off so it can join the “me-too” crowd. Or it has to wait until the next console comes out and start afresh there. Neither option is really all that attractive. Because on one hand you have Microsoft adding yet another piece to the Xbox system (remember, it already has a snap-on harddrive and a plug-in HD-DVD player so by all means, bolt some more crap onto it) but that will take time to develop, it will be buggy initially and will still seem cheap in comparision to Nintendo. While on the other hand waiting till the next Xbox comes out means that the current system will continue to loose money and marketshare.

Meanwhile Sony is in a better position, but not by much. They have all of Microsoft’s problems, just to a lesser degree. They too need to examine how they are going to move forward with new input devices. And they too need to get consumers on their new High Def format (which in this case is Blu-Ray) but at least the Playstation has the benefit of having an integrated Blu-Ray player and superior graphics as compared to the other consoles. However, while the difference between the Wii’s graphics and the Xbox or PS3 is quite noticable, the difference between the Xbox and PS3 isn’t nearly as dramatic. It should make things interesting to say the least.

As for myself, I will definately get a Wii after the Christmas rush. And whenever Halo 3 comes out I will then go buy an Xbox 360. As for Sony? Sorry, this consumer doesn’t have a compeling enough reason to go out and buy a PS3. Better luck on the PS4.


  • That’s “...Microsoft will continually LOSE money…” not “loose” money.

    pwbastian had this to say on Dec 05, 2006 Posts: 3
  • The difference in graphics between the 360 and the PS3 aren’t noticeable YET, that is PS3 game developers haven’t yet exploited the full potential of the Cell processor and Blu-Ray discs, I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it all turns out.

    But in my opinion, the PS3 is just too damn expensive, I mean, $600 for a video game console!!! it’s pretty outrageous, The Wii in turn, has got my vote, I’m buying as soon as I can find one without someone trying to stab me to get it off my hands.

    Nemin had this to say on Dec 05, 2006 Posts: 35
  • $600 for the PS3 would be bordering ok (not that Sony would not lose money on each and every unit right now, just like M$ on each and every XBOX *ever* sold) if there was more Blue-Ray content available, and if said content was not insanely overpriced. But €25-€30 per movie? Hello? This is not Laserdisc where such cost was actually justified. Same with HD-DVD. Otherwise I would likely get the PS3 for movies and the occasional lap of yet-another-Ridge-Racer-but-in-HD.

    On a sidenote, there now is a review of the Zune on Head-Fi indicating that the player itself is pretty darn good especially in the sound quality department, yet the software is abysmal.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Dec 05, 2006 Posts: 371
  • Unfortunately sony do still seem to have the final fantasy series. I’ll surely miss those on my wii

    Oh and I think microsoft are hard at work on the “me too” idea;

    Habadasher had this to say on Dec 05, 2006 Posts: 20
  • Regardless of whether or not the PS3 has better graphics capabilities than XBox360 or not, I don’t think games are really down to graphics any more. Sure, you could have a beautiful game to watch, but all of that beauty is just a novelty which will die within the first hour of gameplay. What it really comes down to is innovative games, which only the Wii really has the power to produce at the minute. Sony and Microsoft continue to use graphics as their selling point but hardcore gamers will begin to see through it all. I mean, a shoot ‘em up is just like any other shoot ‘em up but with a different story line - is there anything in the game play of one shoot ‘em up to differentiate it from another shoot ‘em up? No.

    I think Microsoft will be the successful ones in terms of most units sold this time round, with the PS3 falling flat on its face because it’s no different to the PS2 other than its graphics power.

    And do you see similarities between Apple Computer and Nintendo? Always trying to innovate and make themselves stand out from the dull crowd.

    Aaron Wright had this to say on Dec 05, 2006 Posts: 104
  • Was I the only one surprised at the amount of attention the Zune has gotten?

    Is that supposed to be ironic?  Every other article on this site around the time of the Zune release, including yours, was about the Zune.  And they were, unsurprisingly, poor reviews (without ever having actually seen or used the product, naturally).

    So don’t piss in the pool and then complain it’s too yellow.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Dec 05, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • In the console wars, I think there are two winners and one loser.  For those who want a good solid HD gaming system with next gen graphics, the choice is clearly the X-box 360.  Compared to the PS3, it has more games, is less expensive, is more mature, is compatible with WMP, and so on.  For those less interested in gfx and more interested in the Wii-mote and classic Nintendo game play and titles, there’s the Wii.

    I think there’s room for both.  Obviously the PS3 is going to have its fans, but I just can’t see any compelling reason to get one, even if you could find one that didn’t cost $20 million plus your first born child on eBay.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Dec 05, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • I purchased both the Wii and the PS3. I love all the Zelda and Mario games which is why I purchased the Wii but I have to say since I got the PS3 I’m just in love with that thing. It’s really well done. I only have Ridge Racer so far and what a great game that is. Especially the online play is great. After playing with both I would have to say I would choose the PS3 over the Wii. Wii is wonderful but it’s hard to get over the poor graphics compared to the Hi Def PS3. Oh… The Blue Ray movies look awesome!

    julzmon had this to say on Dec 05, 2006 Posts: 1
  • I like the Wii too, as a father I can afford to give it to my kids and not have them 1) Be arogant about getting one 2) Not feel rich 3) Not go broke buying one. The Xbox, my reserves have always been the same with that and what I’ve seen with others who own one, Windows crashes and so do the consoles. The Zune… Umm, yea.

    Don’t know if you knew but the Sony PS3’s are succumbing to the same fate as thier batterys, there melting down into flames. G5 chips are overheating and melting the plastic and boards causing a short which burns them down. I have only heard of 1 case and saw the pictures of it. I think there’s some video of it on YouTube as well.

    Apple and Nintendo, good couple.

    There are rumors of apple working on a game console or game interface like Front Row… I’m still reserved on the matter.

    Wii does one thing no game console since the original NES did with the floor pad. 1) Got the player involved and 2) Got the kids off the couch and moving, at least doing something. Everything else is for the obese, or will assist in making them that way.

    xwiredtva had this to say on Dec 05, 2006 Posts: 172
  • Well, one thing that the original Xbox had going for it was that it was easily modded, what with the built in hard drive which could be replaced with a bigger one and then be used for whatever you might want it for (media player, disk images so that you don’t need to change the disc to change the game, ROM emulator). 

    From what I’ve heard, Sony is really trying to embrace the mod community with the PS3, not unlike what has happened with the PSP.  It’s supposed to be easy enough to load up Linux on the thing, which would all of a sudden make that 600 dollar price point seem like a steal, since it would become a capable computer that can be used with your television, allowing you to surf the net and get on demand video, and essentially allow power users a lot more freedom than would be possible with either the Xbox 360 or the iTV. 

    I’m still undecided on which next gen console I’m going to end up going with, although I might actually lean towards the PS3, which would be my first Sony gaming machine.  As it stands, I’m happy to wait with my DS until the prices go down in 2-3 years.

    Chicken2nite had this to say on Dec 05, 2006 Posts: 79
  • The main problem with Microsoft adding on Wii-like technology into a new controller would be that it would fracture it’s market into those who have the new controller and those who don’t.  This is why add-ons are bad for consoles, and I would think that’s what the industry had learned from previous generations and why none of the previous generation systems had any add-ons (the N64 had a RAM upgrade and scrapped the 64 Disk Drive add-on after it failed to sell in Japan, the Sega Saturn had numerous RAM upgrades and the Genesis had the 32x and the Sega CD, all of which alienated gamers).  Light gun games definitely took a hit, as the PS2 would be the only system with a large enough market share to warrant a publisher to come out with different controllers (Guitar Hero for instance, the Xbox only had about 3 or so light gun games and only third party light guns). 

    With the original Xbox, every system had a hard drive so developers could use that in their games as extra cache space.  If it had been optional, they would’ve needed to make the games work without it in order to reach the widest market.  This is why I would want to get a Wii, as every controller works as a light gun and so Sega and other publishers would be able to potentially sell their wares to anyone with a Wii, as opposed to everyone with a Wii and a light gun attachment. 

    This is one place that I think that Microsoft botched the job on the 360.  By leaving out the hard drive in the base model, they force developers to work within the confines of the console without the ability to depend on the hard drive for faster read speeds and faster load times.

    Chicken2nite had this to say on Dec 05, 2006 Posts: 79
  • With regards to the Zune, I just have no idea what Microsoft is playing at. They’ve reneged upon their commitment to all their playsforsure partners and produced a commodity device competing in an entirely new (to them) hardware space, the very best that could be said about which is that it’s worse than your average DAP on the market. Why? How does this relate to their core business?

    It seems to me the only explanation is that Microsoft believes its core business is dominating every possible tech space. As such they cannot bear to see Apple having such success with the iPod, which doesn’t use their proprietary DRM, and in which certain flambuoyant executives are very much mistaken.

    Benji had this to say on Dec 06, 2006 Posts: 927
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