By Jared Newman | Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 1:46 pm
Nintendo finally responded to the pressure from Sony and Microsoft, cutting the Wii’s price to $200, effective this Sunday. There were plenty of warning signs — store circulars, retailer’s internal e-mails, and plain old common sense — but now it’s official.
I’ve said my piece about the Wii’s holiday prospects, but I had to chuckle today at the indirect responses from Sony and Microsoft, who individually offered the same message. To paraphrase: “Hey, we’re making motion controllers too, you know!”
Exhibit A is Microsoft’s brag-laden press release about Project Natal, an upcoming 3D motion-sensing camera peripheral for the Xbox 360. Microsoft name-dropped a dozen publishers who are “actively working on games” for the motion controller, and spoke of a “high-powered panel” at Tokyo Game Show, in which a few top game designers will talk about how they love the new technology.
The message is that Microsoft loves third-party development, and wants to get publishers on board early on. That’s a not-so-subtle dig at Nintendo, which has a reputation for putting its in-house work on a pedestal. I’m still waiting to see whether the accuracy-boosting Wii Motion Plus will be adopted by more than a half dozen brave publishers.
Not to be outdone, Sony revealed some concrete information on its remote-like motion controller. Resident Evil 5, which was released earlier this year, will get a “Directors Cut” with motion controls, and 13 other titles are in development now. Some are existing games, like Flower and EyePet, while others are mysterious working titles, such as “Champions of Time” and “Eccentric Slider.”
I’d say Sony has been far more open about its technology than Microsoft, which makes sense because the Playstation 3 motion controller isn’t that revolutionary. It’s merely a ticket for the motion control bandwagon, and Sony’s trying to get on board by next spring.
Will the Playstation 3 or the Xbox 360 beat Nintendo at its own game? We’ve barely seen either in action, so it’s hard to tell on quality alone. But the Wii’s price cut, combined with undying interest in franchises such as Mario, will ensure Nintendo’s success for a long time.