By Kyle Lee
When we last left off, Sony and Nintendo were slugging it out with their respective Playstation and Nintendo 64 systems, and the Sega Saturn was on the ropes struggling to survive. As games like Final Fantasy 7 and Super Smash Brothers were selling like hotcakes on their respective systems, Saturn failed to have a game that pushed consumers to buy the failing system.
In an effort to appeal to customers, Sega created a new system. The Dreamcast would prove to be ahead of its time with online play with a built-in modem. Many players jumped to Dreamcast, excited about the possibilities the system presented.
But, a year after the Dreamcast launched, Sony stepped up and released Playstation 2. With a lack of games, the only feature that sold PS2s straight out of the gate was a built-in DVD player. The fact that the PS2 was less expensive than a standalone DVD player ensured people bought the system.
The Dreamcast had a chance in the market, that is, until “Grand Theft Auto 3” was released and became one of the best selling games of all time. It managed to lead PS2 sales more than any other game could before. The Dreamcast would be discontinued shortly thereafter.
Nintendo released Gamecube and Microsoft introduced Xbox within a few days of each other, and both garnered skepticism. How could a little kid’s system and a computer company possibly compete with the power of Sony?
While Microsoft eventually got “Halo,” the game that single-handedly saved the Xbox from fading into nonexistence, Nintendo struggled to get what they needed.
The battles continue today: Xbox 360 thrives; PS3 is fighting back, and Wii is struggling. It’s entirely plausible to reach the conclusion that gaming is cyclical and always will be.