Once upon a time, there were two strong companies fighting for dominance in the sixteen bit era-Sega and Nintendo. After running away with the industry during the 8 bit era, Nintendo found itself with a serious competitor with the Sega Genesis. After multiple delays, Nintendo released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, better known as the SNES. The battle between the Genesis and the SNES ended in a virtual tie, as neither Sega nor Nintendo could achieve a total dominance over the industry.
The 32 bit wars began and Nintendo stayed on the sidelines. While Nintendo continued to market their outdated SNES, a new player was introduced to the industry, Sony. This electronics powerhouse, known world wide for their Walkmans and Discmans went on a crusade that led them to dominate the videogame industry unlike any competitor before. Even with the release of the Nintendo 64, Sony's Playstation continued to gain support by both developers and gamers worldwide. This supremacy displayed by Sony not only won them fame and fortune in the console world, but totally destroyed one of the greatest console companies, Sega. After being totally destroyed by Sony in the 32 bit era, Sega never recovered and ultimately rushed their Dreamcast console to a market that refused to quit playing their Playstation. How did Sony achieve so much in such a short time frame? The answer is so simple, it may surprise you.
The key to Sony's victory, and the success of any console, is by dominating the Japanese gaming market, winning over the hardcore gamer, and ensuring that the key developers support your console with exclusive titles. While this may sound easy, only Sony has been able to make it look easy.
When Sony first released the Playstation, both developers and gamers were a little bit unsure how Sony, a company who had never created a console-much less any quality games, could match up against the Sega Saturn. The first several months were tough on both companies, as neither the Playstation nor the Saturn were able to take a commanding lead in this "next-generation console showdown." When it appeared that this console race was going to be just as close as the battle between the SNES and Genesis, Sony did the unthinkable; they signed Square away from Nintendo.
Up to this point, Square was a Nintendo exclusive developer. However, due to Nintendo's reluctance to let go of the cartridge format on their Nintendo 64 console and their inability to keep Square happy, Sony signed this disgruntled developer to bring the world-famous Final Fantasy VII to the Playstation. This move alone lead to the signing of many other exclusive Playstation titles and brought the hardcore gamers to Sony's Playstation console.
With virtually every developer flocking to the Playstation, the casual gamers began to make it their system of choice, leaving the Saturn and the Nintendo 64 consoles behind. Sony, a company who had virtually no experience in the videogame industry, was totally dominating Nintendo and Sega. Due to this rise in popularity for the Playstation, developers had little or no reason to write games for the Saturn and Nintendo 64.
Now with the emergence of the Microsoft Xbox onto the console scene and the sudden departure of Sega, the console war will be once again played out by three participants: Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. Whoever ends up as victor will win by doing exactly what Sony did with the Playstation: Sign the Key Japanese developers, win over the hardcore audience, and dominate the Japanese market. In the end, the company who can follow these simple guidelines will be recognized as the market leader.