With every new generation of consoles there is always talk of who’s winning and who’s losing. Internet forums are awash with debates about which console is best. Just type ‘console wars’ into Google and you’ll find endless results of blogs, forums, articles and YouTube videos all talking about which piece of hardware has the edge.
Jack Sorenson, a top guy from THQ, thinks it’s all a waste of time. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz he said there was ‘too much emphasis’ on who is winning the battle for best console: “I think [the console war] is totally irrelevant. Even in the history of the business, other than something like the Dreamcast, you can do decent business on lots of platforms. So the issue is not who wins, it’s can an independent publisher do a good business on that platform. We’re thinking everything from high-end MMO all the way to cell phones.”
He pointed to THQ’s success with the Game Boy Advance stating: “We certainly probably carried on longer on the GBA than most and had a very nice business out there because there’re 80, 90 million GBAs out there – maybe a bunch left in closets and drawers, but there’s still enough audience to buy them. All these platforms kinda win.”
What’s a bit unclear is, if he thinks the console wars are irrelevant and you can do good business on lots of platforms then why state the Dreamcast as an exception? Assuming he’s talking about the console’s demise then he’s kind of contradicting himself there. There were plenty of games for the Dreamcast that were successful and going by his statements THQ could have had a ‘very nice business’ developing for the console. After all it did sell 500,000 units in the US in just two weeks. So, in the early days, before the PlayStation 2 was released, the Dreamcast looked promising.
I personally think it’s difficult to say how much the console wars really matter. But the number of consoles sold and the demographic behind them will always affect the games developed for a particular system, so they hold at least some relevancy.