Top of mind

Nothing deep, just things on movies, advertising, tech and games

Zune and Wii Launch Warning!! Exciting times ahead for Consumer Tech.

Posted by topofmind on September 15, 2006



In the last couple of months, the upcoming launch of Wii and Zune have received a lot of attention from tech fans like me. I neither have a PS2 or an iPOD but as a matter of interest am keen to see what happens to these two new consumer electronic brands. I am also interested to see how each will turn out – considering the fact that both are from well known companies in their own field. I have written about the Wii and Zune previously, separately, but now is a good time to review it together.


Microsoft recently released news on the detailed specs of the Zune and the consumer offering. Despite the rumors that it will retail around 250 US$ (most likely less), Microsoft hasn’t confirmed or denied it. Additionally it will most likely be released for the upcoming holiday season. Whether it is in 06 or07 remains to be seen.

So the big question on every ones mind is that, will Zune be the iPod killer?

I for one think that the term – iPOD killer is overused and almost a cliché. No one can be the iPOD killer, but based on what Microsoft did with XBOX, we can be sure that it will literally dump a lot of R&D and A&P (advertising and promotion) budget behind it.

But can advertising hype alone sustain the Zune? I doubt it. The feature sets included in the release version of the Zune needs to appeal to a certain amount of consumers. This will buy Microsoft the necessary market share into the Media Player category. In the long run Microsoft stands to profit from this investment.

How long is long enough? That remains to be seen, but it would be foolish of Microsoft to ignore the fast growing consumer segment – especially in the Media Player segment. Invest well Microsoft and try not to piss off the relatively minor but highly vocal tech fans – especially the ones with Blogs, and you will have a XBOX in your hand sin a couple of years.

Nintendo Wii

Despite the relatively low tech specifications of the Nintendo Wii, the fan-boys are excited about this. In any other circumstance, launching a less technically spec’ed product would be suicide. In the case of Nintendo Wii, it is an asset… well almost.

The price is almost about 250 US$ and it will launch two days after PS3. Is that a good thing or not. I don’t know. But one thing I am sure about is that it’s underdog status is what will sell the product to the fan-boys who felt betrayed by PS3. That and the innovative Wiimote and the games that it is expected to release. Note my emphasis on the word expected.

It is clear that Nintendo Wii is trying to appeal to a bigger audience of non-hardcore gamers – which is most likely a wise strategy, considering the fact that XBOX 360 and PS3 are more or less fighting for the same, but limited audience.

Ultimately the hardcore fan-boys could be disappointed by the Wii – as their expectations are probably too high, and they will probably go back to their default gaming console. But either way Wii will carve out a more than decent market share from the non-hardcore, causal gaming audience. If I was Microsoft or Sony, Wii can pose a big threat and I would watch it – closely.

So what does this all mean to the average pro-sumer out there? Well, exciting things are afoot and I for one am excited to see how this will all turn out. Heck, maybe I will even buy myself one of them things.


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