Video game console industry

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1. Introduction

Nintendo Wii is a seventh generation console in the video game console industry. This report is about the next generation model of Nintendo Wii, detailed information about the existing product, its existing market in UK, improvements and technological developments of next generation Nintendo Wii is recommended and what could possibly help Nintendo to stay ahead in a competitive market competing against gaming giants such as Sony Play Station and Microsoft Xbox. The purpose of this report is to develop a next generation console for Nintendo - the eight generation console.

1.1 Company History

Nintendo is a multinational corporation located in Japan. From a card company in 1889, it is now one of the top leading brands in the gaming industry. Indeed, Nintendo is the market-leading game maker and already sold 56m consoles worldwide. Nintendo's remarkable appearance as a videogame player was in 2004 when it unveiled its Nintendo DS (Nintendo Double Screen). Later it launched Game Boy Micro in late 2005 and DS Lite in 2006. The revolutionary Wii, the top of the technology videogame system arrived in 2006 and quickly became a top seller. Wii is the Nintendo's fifth home console and uses a sensor which tracks the actions of the controller while playing the game. The game is highly interactive and the gamer does a lot of physical exercise.

1.2 Nintendo Wii

The Wii runs Wii and Game Cube software and has a wireless motion sensing controller that looks more like a TV remote. The Wii completely redefines the gaming experience with the hottest Nintendo Wii Accessories and Wii games changing the way the games were ever played. With a distinctive but very cool wireless controller, internet capabilities and amazing graphics, the Nintendo Wii puts back the fun into videogames. Wii is the most accessible games console for non-gamers, who don't have joy pad skills. Wii is not only an ultimate gaming machine but also provide excellent health benefits which appeals to all ages. One of the latest features that Nintendo will launch on 18th November 2009 in Wii is that consumers will be able to watch and download BBC iPlayer on the console.

1.2.1

Wii accessories and benefits

2. The UK market

The Wii was officially released in the UK on 8th December 2006 and with more than 56 million consoles sold worldwide and 4.9 million in UK. The sale of current generation consoles in UK is 32 million units including portable video game players like Sony PSP and Nintendo DS, half of the UK population. Over the last decade, there has been a rapid growth in gaming industry. Currently the seventh generation consoles are in the market. The current generation is having a console battle between three big players dominating the video game console industry worldwide - Microsoft with its Xbox 360, Sony with its Play Station 3 and Nintendo Wii.

While Sony offers its Play Station3 AT £250 and Microsoft offers its Xbox 360 at £200, Nintendo Wii is cheapest with its market price at £179.

While Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony Play station 3 are locked in an arms race to provide cutting-edge game play to demanding customers, Nintendo is trying to reach new customers. Nintendo users are from all demographic regions from children to old people and from hard core gamers to non gamers.

Analysts attribute the Wii's Success to pricing and also the innovative and the interactive controls and friendly interface which are credited to attract customers who might not otherwise purchase a video game console. Nintendo has discovered a new and unexplored segment in the video game console market. By introducing a unconventional way of playing video game, they have been able to expand the video game market attracting users of all age.

Recently Nintendo declared that the sales of the Wii consoles have fallen by half in the same period in the previous year in six months from April 2009. The results may indicate that the Wii market has reached its saturation point. Analysts suggest that a completely new console can revive its hardware sales. Sony, on the other hand, has benefited from a timely reduction in the price of its PlayStation 3 console. PS3 sales went up drastically in UK after the launch of slim version and price cut. Nintendo has announced to launch Wii Black version limited edition. The trendy new console will come with Wii remote, Nunchuk and Wii motion plus controllers as a bundle priced at £165, as a hope to boost up their sales over Christmas.

SWOT analysis of the gaming consoles.

2.3.1

SWOT analysis of Nintendo Wii

Strength

  • Uniqueness of hardware motion detection
  • Low cost hardware and software
  • Catch TV on demand via BBC iPlayer

Weakness

  • Joystick liability
  • Limited selection of software

Opportunity

  • Marketing to non gamers including seniors and adults

Threat

  • Lack of software selection and sophistication of games

2.3.2

Sony Corporation is one of the best-known names in consumer electronics and ranks second worldwide in electronics. Sony was almost certain to remain a frontrunner in the ever broadening field of consumer electronics and related platforms and services. The Playstation2 was the biggest success of all, selling more than 138 million consoles worldwide.

SWOT analysis of Sony Playstation3

Strength

  • Integration of next generation DVD players
  • Backward compatibility with Ps2
  • Mostly free online product

Weakness

  • Expensive hardware and games

Opportunity

  • Great product launches covering global spectrum
  • Penetration of untouched markets by means of bundling

Threat

  • Lower cost competitor i.e. Nintendo
  • Delays in production
  • Constant strategy change

2.3.3

Microsoft is the most successful and influential software company. Microsoft provides a variety of products and services, including its Windows operating systems. Microsoft has expanded into markets such as video game consoles, customer relationship management applications, server and storage software, and digital music players.

SWOT analysis of Microsoft Xbox 360.

Strength

  • Integration of next generation DVD players i.e. HD technology
  • Backward compatibility with previous Xbox games
  • Online product - the one of its kind
  • Lower price than most comparable competitor PS3

Weakness

  • Expensive hardware and games
  • Direct completion with Nintendo because of equally large customer base

Opportunity

  • Partnership of untouched markets by means of bundling
  • Partnership with Hollywood studios

Threat

  • Lower cost competitor i.e. Nintendo
  • Hardware complications

Wii is very distinctive console of all and is in fact pretty much ahead of its competitors; call it the X gaming factor or the price. When Wii was launched, it came out with something new and this was motion sensing. With Wii users are able to physically move their bodies while playing a game. On the other hand PS3 and Xbox 360 are for hardcore gamers with its superb visuals, graphics and game play.

New technologies

The market for electronic games is expanding. Today's games yield more realism than ever. The technology used in Nintendo Wii is the motion sensing technology in which the sensor bar transmits an infra-red pulse, the controller picks up that pulse and Wiimote uses the information as well as the input from motion sensing technology inside to interact with games. The next generation Wii2 can press forward this technology to a whole new level. A fully hands free control system that will use face recognition and motion sensors to allow users to play games.

Controller free gaming

This technology is from two Israeli companies working on depth-sensitive cameras, 3DV systems and Prime Sense. Even the Microsoft has officially announced that this technology (project Natal) will be used in its next gaming console. 3DV Systems' image sensing technology generates distance (depth) information for each pixel or object captured by the camera, as well as color video. The technology is based on the Time-Of-Flight (TOF) principle. The sensor bar is able to track the movement and actions into three dimensions.

Fundamentally, the camera sensors project radar-like beams that hit objects in the room and bounce back, allowing the machine to build up an accurate picture of what is in front of it. Such systems have a surprisingly fine level of detail, even able to recognise different hand signals or small movements. Add the capability to incorporate facial recognition, and it's the sort of development that has not only gamers salivating, but also games producers.

In simple words, the motion sensor device contains these components- video camera, an infra red source, a multi-array microphone and processor. The video camera and infra red source are used to detect motion and measure distance. The multi-array microphone allows the device to do voice recognition and acoustic localization.

It provides a whole new way to play - no controller required. It uses a sensor to track your body movement and recognize your face, even listen to your voice.

With controller-free gaming you don't just control the superhero, you are the superhero. Full-body tracking allows the sensor to capture every move, from head to toe, to give players a full-body gaming experience.

It provides an in-game experience in which the player's face and voice are recognized. Greet and speak to characters in the game, or simply step into view of the sensor to login.

The following are simple examples of how games can be controlled using a wide variety of gestures.

  • A gesture-controlled boxing mini-game, hands are used to punch either a heavy bag or a rival boxer. The point of view of the gamer is determined based on the position of his/her face.
  • Racing or driving game in which hand gestures are used to steer left or right.

This technology enable users to control and interact without the need to touch a game controller through a natural user interface using spoken commands and gestures. This technology guarantees users to bring gaming into the real world. It allows players to interact with the onscreen environment simply by moving and talking.

Volumetric Imaging Systems

Ethereal Technologies has developed a graphics display technology which may lay the groundwork for a new visual display revolution. The Volumetric Imaging Systems or VIS4D workstation allows users to perceive real-time 3D images without the use of glasses. According to the company's website, interacting with 3D video game characters and environments is one of the potential uses. Even if this specific technology is not the one that revolutionizes the visual experience of gaming, it does show that developers understand the potential for a realistic holographic display device.

Facial recognition system

A facial recognition system is a computer application for automatically identifying or verifying a person from a digital image or a video frame from a video source. It will allow users to create their own profile and login by face recognition. One of the ways to do this is by comparing selected facial features from the image and a facial database.

Super speed USB PORT or USB 3.0

In an age of terabyte hard drives, the throughput of 480 megabits per second that a USB 2.0 device can realistically provide is not enough any longer.

Super speed USB promises the throughput of the connector all the way up to 4.8 gigabits per second. USB 3.0 ports are expected to be backward-compatible with current USB plugs, and vice versa. USB 3.0 should also greatly enhance the power efficiency of USB devices.

A device may have several USB 3.0 ports, delivering data to monitors, retrieving it from scanners, and exchanging it with hard drives. USB 3.0 is fast enough to allow uncompressed 1080p video (currently highest-definition video format) at 60 frames per second.

Super speed port in the next generation console can increase the speed of what the current console offers by a factor of 10.

Facial recognition system

A facial recognition system is a computer application for automatically identifying or verifying a person from a digital image or a video frame from a video source. It will allow users to create their own profile and login by face recognition. One of the ways to do this is by comparing selected facial features from the image and a facial database.

Intellectual

http://www.3dvsystems.com/technology/tech.html

The company has filed for 22 patents related to its technology, 7 of which were granted to date.

The following table shows a list of 10 improvements which can be made to the current product. The improvements are based on the technologies which are currently influencing the market.

High definition

High- definition allows user to see a full range of a very detailed picture. The current console only let users watch videos to a maximum resolution of 480p. With resolution up to 1080p, users will be able to view a very clear picture and videos. The whole idea is to give user the ultimate high definition experience.

Blu-ray and DVD playback

The current generation of Wii doesn't have a DVD playback. The console can have a feature which will allow user to play and DVD movie and even a Blu-ray disc. The DVD and Blu-ray playback will allow users to watch any movie or video which are on DVD and Blu-ray format.

Hard drive

The current generation Wii supports only has 512 megabytes memory and supports a SD card to expand its memory to 32 gigabytes. It does not offer the user much to store on their consoles as compared to their competitors. The console can come with a hard drive capacity of 60 gigabytes and 120 gigabytes which will allow user to save high definition movies, music and many more things on their console.

In-built audio speakers

The current generation of Nintendo Wii can have in built 5.1 audio speakers to add a music experience. The users will not need to connect their Wii to an audio system for a louder sound. Their also should be option of listening to music while playing games. Most players like listening to music while playing games such as pro evolution soccer or tennis.

Faster Processor

The processor which Nintendo uses in its Wii is:

IBM PowerPC based "Broadway" Core, clocked @ 729 MHz, 88 MB 1T-SRAM, 64 MB GDDR3 and ATI "Hollywood" GPU 243MHz

The playstation3 has a much better processor. Its CPU speed is clocked at 3.2 GHz, 256 MB XDRAM @ 400 MHz and 256 MB RAM GDDR3 @ 700 MHz.

The loading of games and faster performance depends highly on the processor speed. Nintendo Wii definitely needs an upgrade in terms of processor speed.

Improved motion sensors

The motion sensors in the Nintendo Wii are not up to the mark. In some games the sensors very sensitive and in others they are not. The sensors are able to pick up hand movements if the Wii remote is placed in front of the sensor bar. With better and accurate motion sensing, players can enjoy and play game more precisely.

Internet downloading and browsing

The current version of internet browser on Wii does not support full version of internet sites such as social networking sites, as it lacks he memory to fully download websites. The console should be able to download and upload on the internet, so that a user can fully utilise the internet browsing. Websites like Netflix.com can provide the opportunity to watch any movie streamed directly on the Wii system.

Graphics

The Wii has been widely regarded as having the weakest graphical capabilities of the three competitors. The Sony Play station3 has the best graphics capabilities of all. The Nintendo Wii graphic capabilities are slightly better than Playstation2. The Nintendo Wii's graphics should be at least at 500 Mhz. such graphics give clarity of the game and real experience to the user.

Port for projector

The Nintendo Wii has only 2 USB 2.0 ports and it does not have any port for connecting the console to a projector. The Wii should have port for a projector so that if players want to enjoy the gaming experience on a big screen, they can easily do so.

Webcam for video calling

The Nintendo Wii2 will offer a webcam as an accessory so that the user can even watch his opponent while playing a multiplayer mode online. With camera users can click pictures and make videos of their own for memories. One technology which can be very interesting on the new console is the video calling feature. The video calling system like Skype can help users to talk and see them in any part of the world. It can turn your console into a phone. All these applications can give added value to user as they can keep in touch with their friends and family all over the world.

The improved console will deliver a complete high-definition entertainment experience with a built in Blu-ray player, hard drive. The console will have a port to connect it to a projector so a user can experience the fun of playing on a big screen and with improved graphics, faster processor and better motion sensors console will be the ultimate gaming machine.

Topic1

  • http://www.answers.com/topic/wii-game
  • http://www.answers.com/topic/nintendo
  • http://www.wiiwii.tv/2007/03/13/nintendo-wiis-strengths-and-weaknesses-for-the-next-generation-console-war/
  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/oct/29/nintendo-profits-plunge-wii-sales
  • http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=12744
  • http://www.nintendo.com/wii/what/accessories
  • http://www.mcvuk.com/news/36507/BBC-iPlayer-becomes-Wii-Channel

Topic 2

  • http://www.mcvuk.com/news/34025/UK-lifetime-console-sales-revealed
  • http://marketing.blogs.ie.edu/archives/2007/09/nintendos_wii_a.php
  • http://www.whatconsole.co.uk/wii.php
  • http://www.vgchartz.com/
  • http://news.vgchartz.com/news.php?id=5859
  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/oct/29/nintendo-profits-plunge-wii-sales
  • http://www.answers.com/topic/microsoft

Topic 3

  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2009/jun/04/microsoft-project-natal-xbox
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8077369.stm
  • http://dev.emcelettronica.com/technology-behind-xbox-360-project-natal
  • http://www.3dvsystems.com/technology/tech.html
  • http://www.skype.com/help/guides/howskypeworks/
  • http://www.pcworld.com/article/152683-3/future_tech.html#4
  • http://www.clickfire.com/gaming-in-the-future/
  • http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=147911
  • http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33610201/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/

Topic 5

  • http://www.astahost.com/info.php/Xbox-360-Ps3-Wii-Review_t14103.html

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