Last week THQ boss Brian Farrell has said he believes that although currently leading the race, the Wii is by no means this generation's winner. We know that the Wii has had a price advantage since its release, with Microsoft and Sony competing at a higher end of the video game market, but will price cuts over the coming years be enough to turn the tide?

For a while it seemed that nothing could stop the Wii wiping the floor with the competition. For over a year the console was almost impossible to buy on a whim and bundles (a standard way for retailers to sweeten the deal when buying a new console) weren't offering better value for money - they basically forced you to buy games you didn't want. But things appear to be changing, not nearly enough to suggest sales are struggling, but there is movement. For the first time you can buy a Wii without having pre-ordered and value bundles are appearing.

Metal Gear Solid 4 will be huge, but where are the other popular PS2 franchises for PS3?

Metal Gear Solid 4 will be huge, but where are the other popular PS2 franchises for PS3?

Predicting sales of the Wii is hard. Assuming Nintendo doesn't drop the price (at the moment it appears to have no reason to do so) then are there still a huge number of people out there that want a Wii but haven't bought one, and are willing to pay £180? Wii Fit is sure to spike some interest, but are newcomers to the console going to lay out £250 for just that or will the majority of sales come from existing owners wanting something else to play that isn't Wii Sports or Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games? Wii Fit is sure to be marketed as an alternative to expensive home gym equipment, but Nintendo might just need a few more titles up its sleeve in Q3 and Q4 in order maintain its strong sales.

There are over 100 million PlayStation 2 gamers, and it's this audience that Microsoft and Sony needs to convince to make the jump to their consoles - before they're caught by the unpredicted hysteria surrounding the Wii. Sony surely has an easier job on its hands. For reasons that aren't exactly clear, the PS3 has seen a bit of resurgence in recent months in the minds of gamers. You only have to read one of the large gaming forums to see that people have swung from being pretty bitter about Sony's latest console to feeling it's ready to storm ahead.

The PlayStation 3 has lived on the promise of AAA games coming down the line ever since launch, but maybe now those games are getting closer. Although most would agree that no console could match the Xbox 360's line-up during the second half of 2007, many believe that 2008 will be the year of the PlayStation 3. The titles that will drive this success aren't so obvious though. The most clear-cut is undoubtedly the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid 4. June will mark the series' debut on the PS3 and it will without doubt be one of the biggest third-party exclusives to hit any of the consoles this year.

Looking at the rest of the line-up and you'd assume plenty of established PS2 franchises would finally be appearing on the console, but the current schedule doesn't suggest that. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue carries with it a huge number of fans on the PS2, but Resistance 2, MotorStorm 2, LittleBigPlanet and Killzone 2 don't. Killzone 2 doesn't even have a solid original game to build on, with current hype being more about visuals than any real signs that the game will be able to compete with the big boys. But we're yet to consider the impact Grand Theft Auto IV will have on sales.

GTA 4 plus a 360 price cut could equal big business for MS

GTA 4 plus a 360 price cut could equal big business for MS

If there's one game that will drive sales of next-gen consoles this year it's GTA 4. GTA is a series that transcends video games more than any other. Halo is big, but GTA is played by everyone - assuming they're over 18 years old. The question is whether GTA 4 will have a greater positive effect on sales of the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 stands as the console most likely to go either way on the sales front. With a lack of new exclusive games in Q3 and Q4 the console could fall behind the competition in monthly sales. While the exclusive line-up this year is looking good already it doesn't include many games that are likely to shift consoles to gamers sitting on the fence. With this week's price cut, made prior to the release of Grand Theft Auto 4, things could be very different. Microsoft needs to make it clear to everyone that the Xbox 360 game is the version to buy. It's widely thought that GTA 4 will sell a lot of PlayStation 3s for Sony, but Microsoft needs to steal a portion of that audience. If the game is marketed primarily as an Xbox 360 title, console sales in May will make for some very interesting reading.

Even two years into this latest console war it's still too early to say there's a clear winner. The Wii is undoubtedly leading the pack at the moment, with the console generating more hype than anyone could have imagined when everyone was laughing at the new name. The PS3 seems certain to have a strong year, but with a much lower price and what currently stands as a stronger exclusive line-up, the Xbox 360 isn't out of the picture. In terms of software sales the Xbox 360 should still lead the way for the considerable future, with the war against the Wii in terms of console sales perhaps not being quite as important as it's made out to be.

Do you think the Wii has won the console war or is it still too early to call? Do console sales matter more than software sales? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

I feel it necessary to note that I have half the games for my Wii as I do for 360. That said, I have enjoyed the Wii games twice as much. Namely Mario Galaxy, Zelda, Paper Mario, Smash Bros, Metroid and RE4. To argue that it's not a proper console is pathetic.

Power does not define a consoles potential for good games, of all the games I played last year, Mario Galaxy outshone all of them running on last gen tech. It's amusing how last generation the PS2's vastly inferior graphics were overlooked in favour of it's stunning offerings. But not this generation...

Regarding Wii sales, It will not last, when supply finally levels with demand people will begin to lose interest and sales will decline, but by then Nintendo will be offering the console for such a ridiculously cheap price that it will be hard to resist with the first party line up it will have by then which is already, arguably, worth buying one for.

Personally I'm very interested in what Nintendo will do when the casual market starts to decrease. Will they have seen it coming and be prepared with a more traditional strategy? Or will it take them by surprise and will they have to change their strategy out of cycle and be late to the next generation? Or on time if you go by Sony's watch :P
Posted 18:01 on 01 July 2008
sfolkes's Avatar

sfolkes

Right people let's keep this simple, let's stop these silly agruments now. Wii, 360, ps3 are all fantastic consoles. I find it pretty pointless that we're saying what's better, who will win etc. Let's face it people no one ain't going to purchase something they don't want, don't like and most importantly prefer. If you buy something you don't want, simple give it away sell it on ebay or something. Finally, happy gaming whatever console you may have from Supermario to Metal gear soild to Halo.
Posted 14:00 on 01 July 2008
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bilvers

nintendo wii is a great console, it is unfair to want to rule it out as it isnt just a console made for childish games, it makes you feel as though you are in the game. i own both ps3 and a wii, but the wii is still edging the win for me. whereas xbox 360 is crap, they say it is cheaper, but if you want play online its an extra $100 to do so, this is cus you have gotta pay 40 for live and between 60 and 70 for the wireless router, and it hasnt got the software like the ps3 and wii.
Posted 00:39 on 27 March 2008
Nata-Wii's Avatar

Nata-Wii

The Wii is doing brilliantly. Yes, it may not be the right console for the hardcore gamers, but that doesn't stop it selling well does it? It's a tough one picking who I think will win this year. I can't decide now. But I can tell from now that it's going to be a big competition.
Posted 18:54 on 17 March 2008
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Shawn

Wii just sold over 400 k in the Feb NPD in NA and remains sold out everywhere, if anything Id say itsdistancing itself from its competitors even more
Posted 18:45 on 17 March 2008
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dudester

i would say GT series has a huge following for the ps3 and even if the full game is not released this year prologue will be enough to convince a number of people to part eith their pennies.

Also I bought my ps3 for several reasons but Little Big Planet is on of the games that actually made me situp and go wow in a quite a long time.

Resistance has a solid base of fans from the 1st game but also the huge scope of R2 if the game lives up 2 its promises will be a huge hit but alot of potential there for that IP.

Theres also God of War again with no real indication if it will make 08 or 09 yet.
Posted 16:32 on 10 March 2008
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J Tucker

It is pointless including the Wii with the 360 and PS3. It is a completely different machine. Only the PS3 and 360 have the power to run next gen games.
The Wii is a party machine. It's what board games have evolved into and will be pulled out at social gatherings.
Nintendo have tapped into a completely different market and as such have dipped out of Next gen game production and "in my opinion" the next gen race.
It is winning the casual console race.
Saying the Wii has won next gen is like saying cars have beaten motorbikes in the vehicle race. Cars have sold more but they aren't going to put motorbikes out of business. There is a market for both, because there is a demand for both and both have a completely different market.
Posted 15:16 on 10 March 2008
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Doc

The wii is pants, its for kids and people having a mid-life crisis!! Soon all these people "who to be honest are'nt even gamers" will get bored of them and they will be on ebay for £50!! Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 (I have a ps3 and had a 360) are far superior consoles and are for "proper" gamers who will still be wanting to play 12 months down the line!!
Posted 14:24 on 10 March 2008

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