The roles appear to have reversed.
After Sony's price strategy announcement (it's a drop to me, but not others apparently) and reasonable E3 press conference (again, my opinion), the game press has seemed mostly positive on Sony's prospects and the NeoGAF tide has definitely turned to favor Sony a good bit more. On the other hand, places like Forbes are giving Nintendo lots of kudos and slapping Sony around. Microsoft is just there.
The muddling of the 60Gb PS3 issue today -- saying it's going away and then not -- hasn't helped.
Anyway, you know my bias already, but that's my view.
Colin Campbell at Next-Gen.biz has an editorial about Sony's fortunes that you might read. He's not pro-Sony. Disclosure: I've written and continue to write occasionally for Next-Gen.biz.
I think the gaming media has been taken aback by the influx of casual gamers and the success of Wii and DS. So they are scrabbling to answer three questions: How do we serve these gamers who in some cases are playing “non-games”? How sticky are these causal gamers in terms of staying with gaming (i.e. do we do anything for them)? And the biggest question do casual gamers grow into traditional gamers, or will they stay casual gamers? These are question I don’t even think Nintendo has an answer for and whether it is bias or just cautions the gaming media is taking a wait and see attitude. Yet the reality is the traditional media knew the questions were meaningless, they just acted.
The mainstream media had no hesitation this year in saying, “We own these people and we’ll advise them on gaming.” Then they just did it. That left the gaming media almost aghast that these traditional media outlets like USA Today would even have an opinion or have the temerity to express it so loudly and at opposition to what the gaming media was saying. Call it the aligning of the stars, but after years of covering e3 the mainstream media hit its stride at the same moment a trend of casual gaming swept over the industry. The Mainstream Media's expertise to see clearly and explain correctly to these casuals what happened at e3 has shaken the foundation of Gaming Media. The gaming media suddenly looked down and saw the frightening reality that they no longer could speak for most gamers and there is a segment of the market they are not even ready to talk to that is growing fast. The smartest of the gaming media see the problem but I doubt few except will come up with a plan to react.
Then again what should be the reaction of the gaming media? Is Wii gaming like a fad for these people? It could be widespread casual gaming is indeed a fan, and I challenge anyone to say with any surety or data this isn’t a fad. In addition could there actually be different aspects of casual gaming at work? I know a lot of traditional gamers who love casual games yet only as an appetizer to longer games, so it could be casual game actually feeding onto two markets: gamers and non gamers. And in that case the casual gaming market that seems so large could be cut in half a few years when non-gamers leave. These are import ideas long term because the gaming media isn’t flush with cash to capture a market that may prove elusive to capture only to see it dry up when they put resources that direction. Ziff Davis, Future Publishing or the online outlets could attempt to capture the casual market only too see that segment of the market vanish along with million of dollars spent in the effort.
On the other hand you can already see that the duality of the marketplace and the mainstream media covering it is grating on the gaming media who saw them selves as “experts”. Now their expertise appears to be worthless much like scientists practicing 1938 nuclear physics in a 1945 world. Atom smashers or Wii FIT boards, either way playing catch up in a changed world is disconcerting.