If sales of the new generation of consoles were a NASCAR race, it would look something like this:
Microsoft is off to an early lead, having suited up and lapped the track for a full year before Nintendo and Sony even arrived at Daytona. But in the eight months Nintendo has been in the race, they've been burning through tires as fast as Dunlop can make them, and so far they've halved the Microsoft's lead, and are still coming on strong.
Meanwhile, Sony, in the number three car, is laboring just to match their own time from the previous race and Microsoft has been forced to take number of emergency pitstops, which may not cost them the race, but certainly can't help.
Race prediction: Nintendo takes the checkered flag before Christmas, Microsoft hangs on to an impressive, but relatively weak number two position and Sony fires their driver and throws the old car back into the race so they can at least claim "former glory."
Also, Jeff Gordon is a weenie.
What a difference a year makes. Last year, before the Wii and PS3 hit the market, most were predicting that the strange, new machine from Nintendo would be little more than a curiosity, and would barely make a dent in the behemoth sales expected by Microsoft's and Sony's machines. And two years ago, if you thought the Xbox 360 would outsell the latest model of the storied Playstation brand, you'd have been labeled a fanboy at best, fruitcake at worst.
And now here we are. Having continued to sell out available stocks for 33 weeks straight, and made up a lot of ground on Microsoft, the Wii looks poised to become the number one next gen gaming machine practically any day now. While Microsoft is smarting from continued problems with the Xbox 360 hardware, the device has managed an impressive acceptance rate, and captured a veritable treasure trove of exclusives. And the PS3 is in dead last, and dropping like a stone. These are days one wished one made wagers.
The question then is, will any of the three make giant waves, break new ground and secure new futures at this year's E3 event? The answer is: no.
Microsoft made a great hue and cry over the fact they'll be rolling out over a hundred new games this holiday season and just dropped a ton of new content onto the Xbox Live Marketplace. Their favorite two phrases were "available tonight" and "everything you see will be released this holiday season." Which are excellent catch phrases to be sure.
Microsoft is in a position now to hit this ball out of the park (for number two) if they do three things: 1) sell the crap out of Halo 3; 2) stuff the content channel of their Marketplace so full, the device makes as much sense to buy as a video machine as a game machine and 3) figure out what the hell is wrong with the console and fix it - for good.
The announced partnership with Disney for downloadable movies and TV shows solves problem 2 almost overnight. Number 3 is impossible to judge, but rumors of an enhanced chipset sound promising, and 1 is almost a given. Almost.