When it comes to any videogame console war, the brand name can only go so far. Back in the day, Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo ruled the game business until Sony’s PlayStation, an upstart brand, came in and stole their thunder. It wasn’t the name, PlayStation, that got gamers to fork over their money. It was exclusive games like “Resident Evil,” “Tomb Raider” and “Crash Bandicoot.”
I haven’t met someone yet who liked the names Xbox 360 or Wii, but that doesn’t matter. It’s the games that sell the hardware. Sony’s learning that now, as its PlayStation 3, a great brand over the past decade, sits on store shelves, while Xbox 360s continue to sell well and Wiis are sold out everywhere. Microsoft has a whopping array of exclusive games for its next generation console. And gamers are forking over $400 to play these $60 killer apps.
Last year was all about “Gears of War” and “Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter,” this year, so far, is all about “Lost Planet: Extreme Condition.” Capcom’s sci-fi shooter, set on an icy planet straight out of Hoth, has already sold 1 million copies worldwide. It took Capcom’s zombie game, “Dead Rising,” another great title, six months to reach that number (which it did last week). “Lost Planet” did it in less than a month. There’s good reason, “Lost Planet” is unlike any other game out there on next gen consoles. It blends hi-tech walking suits (straight out of “Aliens”) with arachnid aliens and space pirates, all duking it out on a Hoth-like wintry landscape. And the multiplayer is to die for.
Xbox 360 owners have yet another killer app to salivate over. Namco Bandai has all but confirmed that “Hellgate: London,” the upcoming PC RPG/shooter is going to arrive on Bill Gates’ platform in the not-so-distant future. That game looked amazing at CES a few weeks ago, running on Windows Vista. And with the type of advanced buzz that has been building, it’s likely to be yet another 1 million seller for Xbox 360.