Imx Fix in my experience
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May 14, 2002 12:10 PM

For the XBOX to maintain a second place position behind Sony's PlayStation2, uptake by PC gamers will need to match uptake by Gamecube buyers who are looking for the big franchise games (eg, Mario, Zelda, Metroid). And, IMHO, this is possible and likely for a couple key reasons.

Recently we've seen article after article saying how XBOX sales rates have been less than expected, and there are anecdotal (read: unofficial and biased) arguments that sales are very weak. Official numbers are slightly below expectations and the blame is placed on the Japanese market. That is to be expected and should be considered as a problem to be solved, not as a priority to focus all attention. One problem is the size of the XBOX, which is huge for a console, and the Gamecube is tiny, making it a far more desireable form factor for the Japanese market. The other thing is the previously mentioned franchise games which will further drive Gamecube sales over the PC game oriented XBOX.

The XBOX price cut is the first piece of the market share puzzle, and the second part will, as always, be the games available on the platform. Nintendo has these two pieces in place already, but lacks the vital third piece, network play. Both Microsoft and Sony say they will solve this part of their puzzles this summer. As far as I am concerned, Unreal Championship is the trump card for the launch of XBOX Online. Especially when you consider the following quote about Nintendo's online plans...

Nintendo thinks this is going to be a very small market for a while, and there's going to be a lot of experimentation to find the business model and just to find out if video gamers want to play online.
In my experience, there is a large market for online play that represent huge potential for long sessions times which can mean big numbers for advertisers or pay-per-use providers. If you ever log onto Tribes2, take a look at the amount of populated servers. Multiply that against the amount of online games (Quake 1, 2 and 3, Unreal Tournament, EverQuest, Ultima Online, Jedi Knight 2, Myth3, ad infinitum) and you will start to see critical mass. And you have to guess that Nintendo knows this, but is also very aware that their core audience is the consummate 'console gamer' where Microsoft will mostly likely attract PC gamers with more experience with online games, and more likely to go XBOX than Gamecube.