Summer's Here: Back To The Fun Stuff



By Doug Thompson


Sony’s finally getting some highly praised exclusive games for its PlayStation 3.

Better late than never.

The PS3 has had an impressive run of five top-notch games released in the last 12 months: Metal Gear Solid 4, inFamous, Killzone 2, MLB (major league baseball) ‘09 and Resistance 2.

Note that the only one of those that isn’t a violent shooter is a sports game.

Just a wild guess here: Sony’s still sticking with the “boys will be boys” crowd. The only shooter on the list that isn’t rated “M” for violence is inFamous.

The quality of these games drew positive attention. Some analyst wrote that the PS3 has the best average quality of games of any console. That’s nice. That’s also not hard to do when you have only a handful of games and when you can pick the Xbox 360 games you want to port.

Still, progress is progress. The next God of War installment is due soon. Bioshock 2 will not be an Xbox 360 exclusive. Sony finally figured out what the rest of us realized a couple of years ago. The most expensive console on the market must have the best games lineup to justify its cost.

Microsoft used to know that. The company got far ahead of Sony in that important field of quality games. Now the Xbox 360 hasn’t had a universally praised exclusive game come out since Gears of War in November.

Overshadowing all this is Nintendo’s decision to take some of the piles of money they made off the Wii and develop the Nintendo HD, as it’s tentatively titled. The business and gaming press has noted a massive increase in the research and development portion of Nintendo’s corporate, publicly released financial statements. That portion of the budget more than tripled the $370 million in 2007. That and carefully leaked rumors about showing the Nintendo HD to business associates of Nintendo make it pretty clear that the big N plans to release a substantial improvement to the Wii sometime in the late 2010/early 2011 timeframe.

If Nintendo releases a machine with enough graphics horsepower to handle ports of Xbox 360 games, there won’t be much reason to buy a Xbox 360 anymore and precious little reason to buy a PS3. What’s left of this generation of the console wars will be over.

The Wii has a lot of bad games. Unfortunately for the competition, all the console seems to need is Wii Fit. That exercise program’s sold more copies than the PS2 version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. That’s 19.6 million to 17.8 million and Wii Fit is still selling strong.

Leave out Wii Sports. Its sales figures are inflated by being sold with the Wii. The best selling third-generation console game of all time is Wii Play with 23.3 million units sold. The second is Wii Fit. The third is Mario Kart Wii with 15 million. Finally in fourth place comes a game by somebody else — the almighty Halo 3, which sold a comparably pitiful 9.7 million copies.

Let me repeat that: Wii Fit, which requires the purchase of a balance board, has sold more than twice as many copies as Halo 3 and is still a strong seller.

Fifth and sixth place go to Super Smash Brothers Brawl and Super Mario Galaxy, both for the Wii. Rounding out the top 10, we have GTA IV for the Xbox 360, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games and Mario Party 8 for the Wii.

Where’s the massively popular Guitar Hero series? Splitting their sales among four different consoles: Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 and PS2. Added together, it’s huge.

Notice there’s not a PS3 game anywhere in the top 10 so far.

Home exercise fans may want to check out EA Sports Active. It’s getting glowing reviews that say Sports Active gives a better, more varied and interesting workout than Wii Fit. A balance board is recommended but not strictly necessary, the reviews say.

Categories: Features