Top of mind

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Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

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

Posted by topofmind on September 15, 2006

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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.

ZUNE

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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Wii Evangalize – Creating Buzz that works for your brand

Posted by topofmind on June 22, 2006

Well this is not exactly about advertising…

How much is goodwill and positive buzz worth for a company?

I would say a lot. Way more than they know. Consider the last E3. Another year, another E3 and as usual there were bombs and da bombs. There are two companies that I want to focus on. After a month or two after E3 I was expecting the tone of the coverage and fanboy reaction to change, but fortunately or unfortunately it didn’t.

Sony – The Cool Goliath

No brand name is better known for it’s consumer electronics than Sony.

At E3, PS3 bombed by most accounts. Of course it is not fair to judge and make a call on a Console that is not even out yet, but already here are several strikes against it. The price at appx US$ 600, the seemingly ripped-off controller and the prerendered game demos. And some unfortunate quotes from the head honchos of Sony about – how the revolution will not start until Sony says so – or something to that effect.

Even after a month or so after E3, Sony continues to receive negative coverage – from the claim that we don’t need PCs, when there is the PS3 or the news that allegedly says that we cannot resell our old PS3 games, or an earlier news that PS3 has been downgraded less USB, a crippled CPU. Now some of it is news and most likely true, others are probably rumors.

All of that has generated some negative buzz on the net. While any PR is good PR, in the case of PS3, it might not hold true. Now they need some serious damage control to correct that or somehow turn it to their advantage. Besides, read anything about PS3 these days and you will see that it is negative.

But will PS3 fail? I doubt it, purely because of the number of PS fanboys out there. You heard it here first!!

Wii – Will it really rock?

wii1.jpgPeople seem to think so, sometimes perception is reality.

Wii – this is Da Bomb. Despite or because of the weird sounding name that came out a couple of days before E3, it has already generated enough Buzz, discussion, word of mouth interest on the net – and that type of exposure is all good for it.

Then people got to see the controler in action – or like me saw it on Google Video or Youtube. More than anything that is also another “talk,” point. And from what I have seen, it is mostly good.

And the type of games they are offering – while graphically will not be competitive to PS3 or the 360 – also received good feedback – mainly because people do believe that they will offer better gameplay and pure fun, that has been missing from the Consoles in the last couple of years. While this remains to be seen, another plus for the Wii.

And did I mention the price? Did someone say US$ 200? Wasn’t PSP selling for US$ 150 earlier?

That all adds up to the benefit of Wii. Somehow, there sure is a lot of positive stuff on Wii on the net, and somehow Wii managed to get gamers to create good buzz about their product. Now that is pure Word Of Mouth Campaign (kinda like the banner ad that we now seem to have on the Vine)..

Verdict

The only thing for Wii to watch out for is to keep the pressure up and not make any silly gaffs like Sony did. Of course the PS3 apologist are saying that Sony, which is a company known for it’s marketing savvy will not make such silly mistakes. Perhaps Sony simply underestimated fanboy response.

Personally, I think that Sony could have done better at E3. It was a great opportunity missed, and Wii somehow managed to steal PS3’s thunder – not to mention that of the 360.

Of course the real test will be when the products ship – will Wii disappoint or create even more buzz? Can PS3 somehow manage to make a comeback and once again be the king of the hill? I just can’t wait to see!!

Oh, I forgot to answer my own question of how much goodwill is worth to a company….

PS3 priced at US$ 500 expects to sell about 6 Million units by March 2007. Wii also has the same target but at a much lesser price of US$ 200. Doing the math, Sony will stand to win or lose 3 Billion US$, while Wii will be about 1.2 Billion US$.

How is that for chump change??

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