Is console history repeating itself?
Not too long ago Sony revealed that they would be posting their greatest profit loss to date. Before that Nintendo released that they were initially making a loss on the release of the 3DS. And even further back than those two, Xbox released that stores in Japan were halting Xbox orders due to poor sales. With all this bad news some gamers are beginning to get worried that the gaming business might be heading downhill, however if you are an older gamer like myself then you have seen something similar to this before.
Way back in the day the top gaming companies were Atari, Nintendo, and Sega, and just like the gaming companies today each of them had their own strengths and weaknesses, and each had their own set of fans. But just like the gaming companies today they began to make mistakes that would prove to be deadly for certain companies. Ask anyone today what the first video game system was and most people will probably say Atari. Atari was pulling in huge profits and was at the time one of the fastest growing companies in the world. But during the Atari era, anyone who could program was making game cartridges; this led to huge saturation of the market, making Atari lose millions in game sales. The final downfall for Atari came with the release of E.T., which completely failed, essentially sealing the fate of Atari. Sega on the other had failed mostly due to when they released their system. Their system was released right around the time that Sony began coming into the market, and with Nintendo already a popular name Sega had no chance. Nintendo, despite getting a lot of heat with the release of the N64 (by still using cartridges instead of discs) and the Gamecube, still managed to stay successful due to name loyalty and lovable characters.
If we look at today’s systems you can see problems that could potentially become fatal. Sony for example had a huge loss when their network got hacked, causing many customers' credit card info to be stolen. Because of this Sony had to pay out tons in legal fees. If Sony makes another mistake, like their next–gen system fails, then you could potentially see Sony drop out of the console market. Same goes with Xbox, who has lost a huge market in Japan due to poor sales. Again if Xbox fails to impress with their new system then they could go the way of Atari. Nintendo is a bit of a different story they have been around a lot longer then the other two and have survived financial trouble before, so it is very unlikely, what with characters like Mario and Zelda, that Nintendo will make a fatal mistake.
In another 20 years there will be another top three systems and someone else will be talking about how those three made mistakes similar to the ones today. If people think that Sony and Xbox will be in the console race forever then they will be very disappointed in the future. Nintendo on the other hand might make it a little further then the other two only because they have the experience that other two companies lack. Like always history is doomed to repeat itself whether it is human history or gaming history.