To Your Corners

The three major combatants in the console wars went head-to-head-to-head in the E3 keynote address as representatives from Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft discussed and debated the state of the video games industry.

With somewhat sarcastic barbs and a healthy dose of conceited commentary, Sony President Gus Wright, Executive Vice-President of Nintendo Peter Mayne and Chief Xbox officer Robbie Bach each sung the praises of their own consoles, while giving their thoughts about the video game industry and its future.

Interactive Digital Software Association President Doug Lowenstein introduced the keynote speakers in a speech declaring the video game industry “very strong” and that sales of video games will reach $16.9 billion by 2003, eclipsing the money earned by the movie industry.

Lowenstein also attempted to break some of the more prevalent stereotypes of the gaming industry by proclaiming that 39 percent of gamers are female and that video games are used not just used by kids for fun, but by teachers for education, doctors for medical procedures and the military for training purposes.

Next it was time for the industry panel where Sony’s Wright got in one of the big burns of the panel discussion when he said the question wouldn’t be who would be #1 in the console wars, but “who would be #2.” Wright declared that PS2’s 200 3rd party titles and online partnerships with companies like Cisco will easily keep them at the top of the video game industry.

Microsoft’s Wright touted the Xbox’s immediate online capabilities and the console’s ability to “create virtual worlds and new levels.” Wright also said Microsoft had a strong 1st party development, while the 200 different 3rd party developers for the console would give it the “depth and breath” it needed to compete in the coming console wars.

Nintendo’s representative Mayne flaunted the fact that the Gamecube was the “easiest” of the three consoles for both developers and gamers. Mayne also said the Nintendo has “far more proven talent in-house” than either of the other consoles. Mayne then got in his own dig at Sony and Microsoft, saying that video games “weren’t just another division within our business – it is our business.”

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