For hard-core gamers, this week’s introduction of Halo 3 is a gigantic event and this third iteration of the Halo game series is said to be totally awesome. That will certainly help push Microsoft’s Xbox 360 into the black and may be the last chance for Xbox to become a truly profitable operation.
But the real issue is whether the Xbox can take on Nintendo’s Wii which is now the No. 1 best-selling game console in the US. And the answer is probably not.
Why not? The Wii broke out of the tight confines of “young, avid gamer” category the Xbox and Sony’s Playstation inhabit with new technology and experiences that appealed to a much wider audience. Old folks swinging virtual golf clubs, middle aged folks doing their thing all found the motion sensitive Wii fun and fantastic. Wii opened gaming to the entire population, while Xbox and Playstation stuck with the small segment of young gamers.
Halo 3, of course, with its’ science fiction, shoot-em up action, appeals to just those guy gamers and that’s great. But the speed, performance and terrific graphics—innovations all—are incremental and narrow. Wii’s innovation is revolutionary and it’s impact is wide. In fact, I would venture that companies that use technologies that enhance experiences for boomers and beyond will do amazingly well in the years ahead.
My guess is that Halo 3 will help Xbox grab some market share from the troubled PlayStation but not take anything away from Nintendo.
Paradigm-busting innovation trumps incremental innovation in the gaming space.