GAME WARS: THE NEXT GENERATION
PlayStation 2 Signals New Video-Game Era
December 3, 1999
Sony will up the ante in March 2000 with its new PlayStation. (Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.)
The Tokyo Game Show, a festival of video-game mania, is held every spring and fall. Attracted by the launch of revolutionary new game consoles, a record 160,000 people flocked to the fall 1999 show, held at Makuhari Messe in the city of Chiba from September 17.
Game consoles are no longer considered toys; they are now classed as "home information technology devices." Although the show gave every manufacturer a chance to show off their latest models, garnering particular attention was Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 2, hailed as the next generation in game machines.
Those who were lucky enough to try out PS2, which will go on sale in March 2000, were unanimous in their verdict: This is no ordinary game console. PS2 is destined to tear down in one fell swoop the barrier between video games and other home entertainment products, such as stereos and TVs.
Home Entertainment Revolution?
To help break down the wall between game machines and home electronics, the development of new software will also be speeded up. Not many people would see the value in using PS2 as a DVD player, for example, if there were few DVD titles available. Indeed the DVD player itself, touted as the next big thing in home entertainment when it was launched four years ago, has suffered from just such a lack of software, and sales figures remain stuck below 600,000 units. In the game market, too, unless there is good software available speed and high-resolution graphics cannot guarantee success. Competition among software makers will therefore also become increasingly fierce. A price tag of 39,000 yen (390 dollars at 100 yen to the dollar), while the same as PlayStation when it first came out, makes PS2 a little on the expensive side for today's game consoles. If Sony wants to sell PS2s sold, then good software is a must.
Sony's Sequel Faces Stiff Competition
Competition between these companies to create the best, most versatile machine is inevitable. Software giant Microsoft is, moreover, rumored to be preparing to enter the Game Wars, which until now have been the exclusive realm of the three big Japanese manufacturers. For game fans the task of picking the right machine may be tough, but it can also be fun. For the makers, however, now also facing competition from manufacturers of audiovisual equipment, there is no doubt that the going is about to get a lot tougher.
Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.