Clash of the consoles part two

The continuation of the inside info on the Wii and the PlayStation 3.

Tristan Wheelock: What are some of the features of the new systems that fans may not have heard about? Is there anything that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention?

Kevin Pereira: The PlayStation 3 – Sony built it as sort of a super computer for your living room, and it really is that. It’s got video-playback capabilities, it can stream your MP3s – the higher end version has multiple memory card readers, so if you’ve got a digital camera with an SD card you can just pop in your photos and hit a button and play a nice slide show. … It has a fully functional Web browser, as does the Nintendo Wii, which is really interesting. The feature that I am really impressed with in the Nintendo Wii is that it’s going to have multiple channels if you connect it online. When you turn on your Wii, you can see news, you can have the weather, you can go and play that back catalogue of games. It also has cute features like a photo editor. It has an SD card reader as well, so if you pop in your photos you can go and draw silly faces or add little stamps to it and send them to your friends. More communal features and more multimedia capabilities – these clearly aren’t just consoles that you pop a cartridge into and play a game.

TW: How do you think the Wii will survive long term considering it has less computing horsepower than its Sony and Microsoft competitors?

KP: I think it’s all about the software. If the Nintendo DS has taught us anything, it’s that lesson there. Sony launched their portable player, which was the PSP. It had far superior graphics, far superior hardware, computing power, etcetera, but it has so far tanked in comparison to the DS, and it’s a testament to the software. The DS offered a touch screen, an innovative mode of game play, and it offered really, really fun titles. If Nintendo can do well to keep game developers kind of excited and keep the ideas fresh and the innovative titles coming out, they’ll do very well. Their biggest hurdle is going to be making gamers, and even non-gamers, realize that the motion sensitivity is not a gimmick – that it truly is a revolutionary way to play games, and you do that through the software.

TW: What are some of the weirdest titles anticipated for these new systems?

KP: On the Nintendo Wii side of things, Wario Ware is always weird. It’s a collection of micro games, which are three to five seconds of game play before you’re on to the next mini game. One second you’re picking a giant 3-D nose, the next minute you’re spinning plates. After that you’re driving a car, hula dancing, etcetera, and that’s just one game. You’ll also see games like Cooking Mama, which is coming out. It’s a collection of recipes, so you have to chop the broccoli and fry eggs in the frying pan. You’re going to see some very weird games. The PlayStation 3, from what I can see for the near future, it’s more traditional style game play. You’re going to see games that you are accustomed to seeing on your XBOX or your PlayStation 2.

TW: What happens to Nintendo if the Wii doesn’t catch on? Can Nintendo survive, or will the company go the way of Sega when the Dreamcast collapsed?

KP: Nintendo is the only game maker right now that actually makes money off their hardware. Sony and Microsoft lose a chunk of revenue every time they sell a console, hoping to make that up when they sell the software. It’s like giving away the razor and selling the blades. If the Wii fails, it will be a huge blow to Nintendo on the console side, but their handheld continues to deliver, and the company makes money on every unit that’s sold, and they’re the only company that can say that. Even if the Wii doesn’t take off like wildfire, Nintendo will not be going under anytime soon.

TW: It seems to me like one way to justify the high price of the PS3 would be to offer a lot of exclusive titles. What kinds of PS3 exclusive titles are on the horizon?

KP: Well, far less than the PlayStation 2 had, that’s for sure. Grand Theft Auto will be releasing on the XBOX 360 day and date with the PlayStation 3. They’re losing a lot of exclusives. What they do still have is the Final Fantasy franchise, which constantly is a system seller. Releases of new Final Fantasy’s are holidays to people, even in North America. In Japan I think it’s an official holiday. They’ve got the new Ratchet and Clank, they’ll have David Jaffe and everything he creates, so God of War. They definitely still have exclusives up their sleeves, it’s just a matter of can they have more and better exclusives than Microsoft has at this point, because the third-party developer exclusives have gone away.

TW: If you could only choose one of the two consoles, which would you pick?

KP: Right now, I’m telling all my friends, and I hate to say it, but you got to go for the Wii. You have to ignore the PlayStation 3 for right now. Wait for the price to drop a hundred bucks or so, wait for at least one game that you have to own. Right now there really just isn’t that exclusive title that makes gamers want the PlayStation 3, other than the hype. I’d say grab a Wii now, and then hold off on the PlayStation 3 until sometime next year.

Today at 3 p.m., G4 TV will air three hours of live programming dedicated to the PlayStation 3. Pereira will be interviewing Sony’s presidents and CEO regarding the new console. On Monday at 4 p.m., G4 TV will air an hour-long special on the Nintendo Wii.