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1995-2000
GamesFirst! Magazine

EDITORIAL:
PlayStation 2 and the
Future of Console Gaming

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 I’m 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 how’s 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. What’s really exciting is that first generation titles never really push the system. With gaming history in mind, I feel safe in saying that you ain’t 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 it’s true that the PS2 is the pinnacle of gaming consoles, it’s 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 Sony’s supply shortage. Sony’s 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 Dreamcast’s 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 it’s 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 they’re 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 Sony’s 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 there’s room for several different systems, and I’d like to see the gaming industry shared by three or four systems, something that looks more and more likely.

As for me, I’d like to own them all. But I’m 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 I’m going to be eating rice and beans while playing the greatest videogame system to hitherto grace this fair planet.

Jeff Luther

 

 

 
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