Video Games in the Media: Where's Nintendo?

A great birthday gift from my mom last year was a subscription to Time magazine. It's nice to be able to catch up on world events, even if the magazine's a little behind the 'times' compared to the Internet. (see what I did there?) But today, I was reading an article about the success of Halo, called "The Man in the Mask," and was inspired to write a new blog post. And I just saw they have the complete article up on Time.com. As you can see from the title of this post, there's no mention at all to Nintendo in this article. (Well, one indirect reference, but I'll get to that later.) I think this article is indicative of the general attitude of mainstream media outlets, and many video game news sources, concerning Nintendo and the Wii.

The article is by Lev Grossman, who is a book critic for Time, and also occasionally writes about technology and other topics for Time. Here's his website. From perusing Grossman's blog, it seems he knows a bit more about technology, and maybe games, than I thought at first. With regard to games, all that's clear is that he spends quality time with a 360. Has he ever played a Wii or PS3? I have no idea. At any rate, on to his article.

My main problem with the article is that Nintendo is completely left out of the picture. Grossman writes that Halo 2 is "Microsoft's weapon of choice in its struggle with Sony for supremacy in the multi-billion dollar game console market." Really? While they are fighting each other fiercely, I think I remember reading that Nintendo has been selling Wiis about as fast as they can make them. In fact, Nintendo recently stripped the title of market share leader from Microsoft. (Here's VGChartz. They might not be perfectly accurate, but I think they give a pretty good estimate of sales data.) I suppose an important question is how to define 'supremacy.' One definition could be market share, which would make Nintendo the current leader. Another definition could be the platform that has the largest number of outstanding, highly ranked games. That would possibly point to Microsoft, largely because it's been available longer. Or perhaps supremacy is originality, and innovation (which would be Nintendo, again)? Or maybe supremacy is the company with the most obsessive fanboys, in which case there would be a 3-way tie. At any rate, the game-console market is not a duel between two companies. The battle is full of hot and heavy 3-way action.

Here's a final quote exemplifying Grossman's ignorance about the current state of the video game market.
At launch, Halo 3 will run only on Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console, lending the Xbox, into which Microsoft has sunk billions, huge credibility in its costly deathmatch with Sony's Playstation 3.
I ask again, Where's Nintendo? What is supremacy? Is it making money on your product? Nintendo is the only one of the big 3 to make a profit on hardware sales. Combined with having the largest market share at the moment, that sounds pretty good.

This has been a pretty long post, so tune in next time for my more general thoughts on Grossman's article, where exactly he made an oblique reference to Nintendo, and possibly, media bias towards games.

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