October 30, 2000
PlayStation2, the words still sound like honey in my ears. Like the culmination
of some grand epic, the PlayStation 2 is now a reality and Im still giddy with
excitement. My zealous desire to own a PS2 reached a fevered pitch this week and had me
compared to everything from an irrational fanatic to a crack whore looking for a fix.
And now the wait is over. So hows the system? It rocks of course. Everyone
knew it would kick butt, and so it does. As with any system launch, some of the games are
stunning, some are disappointing. Whats really exciting is that first generation
titles never really push the system. With gaming history in mind, I feel safe in saying
that you aint seen nothing yet.
At three hundred bucks for the core system, gamers will be dropping at least
five hundred bucks just to get things rolling. The PS2 is worth every penny, especially
considering the inclusion of the DVD player. Still, the cost is prohibitive to many
people. While its true that the PS2 is the pinnacle of gaming consoles, its
also true that the Dreamcast is still the best value. At a hundred and fifty bucks and a
modem for on-line play, Sega stands to gain the most from Sonys supply shortage.
Sonys initial PS2 shipment was cut in half, down to 500,000 units, and they're only
shipping out 100,000 additional units per week until Christmas. Most places sold out of
PS2 in a half-hour. This means it will take Sony an additional five weeks to ship as many
units as they sold in their first half-hour of sales. It will take divine intervention for
Sony to meet the demand for PS2. Christmas trees across the country will likely have a few
more Dreamcasts underneath them as exasperated parents give up on ever finding the
PS2 at the end of the rainbow.
That said, the PS2 is undeniably intertwined with the future of gaming. They
control the industry and its theirs to loose. They are the lion in the gaming
market. They have the best system currently on the market. They have gamers loyalty and
consumer confidence, the lack of the later has hurt Dreamcast sales and may well keep
Nintendo from ever breaking out of the under thirteen crowd. Microsoft has the resources
to guarantee a successful launch of the X-box, and theyre amassing an impressive
list of exclusive titles that will guarantee them a certain contingent in the gaming
market. For my money, the X-box is the number one contender for Sonys championship
title. The showdown should be intense, and the result is going to be more great games no
matter what system you own. The Indrema is the darkhorse. The unknown factor and so
impossible to judge. A strong system could carve them out a niche among hardcore gamers,
but breaking into the mass market will be difficult. I think theres room for several
different systems, and Id like to see the gaming industry shared by three or four
systems, something that looks more and more likely.
As for me, Id like to own them all. But Im kind of fanatical about
my video games. As a poor college student, laying down the money for a PS2 was a near
mortal blow to my finances, but it was worth it all the way. I may be eating rice and
beans for the rest of the year, but Im going to be eating rice and beans while
playing the greatest videogame system to hitherto grace this fair planet.