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Which console will win 2012?

PC

1. Blizzard’s triple threat

Argued by: Tyler Nagata, Senior Editor

According to a recent announcement, Blizzard plans to cancel this year’s BlizzCon in order to focus on “getting Diablo III, Mists of Pandaria, and Heart of the Swarm into players’ hands as soon as possible.” Could this mean that all three titles will see a 2012 release? It’s possible – and if they do, 2012 may go down in history as the year I died from lack of sleep.

Above: This Diablo III screen doesn't really convey its addictiveness, but you probably don't care

But even if they don’t release, past experience leads me to believe that it’ll be worth the wait. Blizzard Entertainment doesn’t just make games. They make genre defining titles that are built to last. StarCraft II was the best thing that happened to the RTS genre since StarCraft I. Diablo III looks like it’ll be the best dungeon crawler since Diablo II. And even though I’m on vacation from about six years of on-again-off-again World of Warcraft benders, you can be sure that Mists of Pandaria will keep ten million WoW subscribers busy for quite some time.

Games that are actually good and are worth the wait: Blizzard makes them for the PC.

2. Games still look best on the PC

You know what makes me sad? Hearing my friends and co-workers trade war stories about their adventures in Skyrim… on consoles. These are grown men and women who have loved games all their lives, the kinds of people who will argue to the death over the tiniest of details. I’m not saying Skyrim is bad on consoles, but at the end of the day, when they go home, it hurts to know that they’re playing one of the most beautiful games ever created on the wrong platform. I picture them at home in front of their TV, assaulted by inferior textures and unnecessarily long load times.

To say that games, like Skyrim, look best on the PC is nothing new. But this truism will be especially visible in 2012. As it stands, the PC is still the only truly next-gen gaming platform. This year, the Xbox 360 will turn seven and the PlayStation 3 will be six-years-old. So what multi-platform game will look best on the PC this year? How about everything?

Above: Skyrim looked better than both console versions at launch. But with the free high-res texture pack released by Bethesda, it looks even better. You can download it from Steam here

Games that have good graphics: the PC has them.

3. It's still the most open platform

Out of all the platforms discussed here in this joke of a debate, the PC is the most open. So it’s only natural that innovation comes here first.Impressed with the 3DS? The PC has had excellent 3D with NVIDIA 3D Vision for years now. And I’m not talking about 3D effects for remakes of games released in the ‘90s, like Ocarina of Time. I’m talking about just about any game (new or old) ever made with a 3D engine. PC gamers just don’t talk about it that much because we didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Think it’ll be cool to watch all your favorite HBO shows on demand when Xbox Live gets HBO GO? Let me know when that happens. In the meantime, I’ll be catching up on the first season of Game of Thrones with this thing called a web browser.

Above: This year, the Xbox 360 will get Minecraft. Finally

Of course, the openness of the platform also applies to games. As mentioned earlier, the biggest, high-production titles will always look best on the PC. But the PC is also the place where independently developed games can flourish. The democratization of game development has leveled the playing field significantly, making room for games made by individuals or very small teams – and this trend will continue with 2012 with the PC seeing the biggest small games first.

This year will see the release of Minecraft on the Xbox 360. But by November of last year, the indie sandbox sensation Minecraft had over 16 million registered users and 4 million purchases. With no help from the deep pockets of a larger publisher or assistance from commercial campaigns, designer Markus “Notch” Persson’s Minecraft is a shining example of how an independently developed title can succeed on the PC.

Consoles: eating the PC’s indie leftovers since the late '90s.

WINNER: Nintendo

Yes, even after that spirited argument for the PC, we’re still calling this one for Nintendo. Here's why:

Nintendo’s prosperous turnaround of the 3DS’s fortunes during the holidays will continue to roll into 2012, starting the N on the path to success. The handheld already has a killer set of games planned for this year, with more certain to be announced down the line. It looks like DS/PSP history could possibly repeat itself when the 3DS faces the Vita this year, as the technologically inferior Nintendo system with better content once again beats Sony’s new handheld.

When you combine the 3DS’s continued success with the potential the Wii U represents, Nintendo had this contest won handily before it even began. Both Sony and Microsoft seem to be stuck with their aging systems until 2013, while Nintendo has a chance to do something really different with home gaming. Maybe it’ll be too gimmicky, and perhaps Nintendo doesn’t have any great software up its sleeve for the launch, but we’d rather believe Nintendo has a stellar E3 re-reveal for us. While Sony and MS try to convince us how “cool” Kinect and Move can still be, Nintendo will be moving on to the future.

The Wii U could end up being a technological half-step compared to whatever its competitors and PCs have in store, but that’s in the far off future. In 2012, the Wii U will stand tall and put Nintendo over the top to glory.

76 comments

  • HankVenture - February 25, 2012 10:20 a.m.

    I think the Xbox will be making the money this year. The Wiiu is another new invention by Nintendo but as we saw with the 3DS, that doesn't have the impact like it had with the Wii and I just had a friend tell me they found out about the other day. the Ps3 had too much crap happen to it last year for people to actually go and get a Ps3. I think the PC will gain a larger audience this year though and would beat everything if it wasn't soo expensive to get one. Personally I would rather play everything on PC but ill stay with my Xbox
  • Y2Ken - February 17, 2012 6:26 a.m.

    Hmm... I'm hoping for all the consoles to have a strong year, but for me I think this year's going to be a PC one. I'm finally planning to build my first proper gaming PC in the next couple of months and that'll let me try out all the features PC is offering which I can't get on home consoles. Not that I'll stop playing the others for one minute though. =)
  • yomansan - February 16, 2012 2:15 a.m.

    You didn't include OnLive console... Sad...
  • Darkwun - February 15, 2012 7:58 a.m.

    not even gonna look through these comments to hear the inevitable Nntendo slagging! I love all the Companies (Hell, I even wanted an Atari Jaguar back n the day!) but it's Nintendo who gtthe most abuse, and I can almost guarantee that most of the derogitory comments about them here won't be addressing the valid points the article makes about them, butrather addressing their own issues with them and why they don't deserve to win!
  • fortheroflz - February 13, 2012 12:45 p.m.

    i hear some rummmors about the xbox 720 and ps4, and anyone help me conferm or deny that they are being made? btw. wii u, fucking rly?
  • Rowdie - February 13, 2012 10:49 a.m.

    Don't you have to define how you win before you declare a winner? Evidently not. Honestly how does a company win? Most hardware sold in number in $ in profit? Software? What core gamers will want the most? What the breath and width of gamers will want the most. Some kind of user satisfaction rating? Which fanbois will have the most ammunition to use in the comments section?
  • markshell - February 13, 2012 5 a.m.

    People still keep putting the 3DS and Vita on the same market but they are completely different systems. Vita will never sell as many units because it's targeted at a different audience, and a smaller one at that, so people shouldn't bother being so disappointed when that happens. It's a great system but too few actually care for it or what it can do.
  • LOZ4EVAH - February 12, 2012 9:36 p.m.

    Nintendo wins because it has exclusives (yes Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong games are separate). It has momentum with 3DS, and third party support. Well written. I liked how they defended each console with reasonable facts.
  • ZhugeLiang - February 13, 2012 12:42 p.m.

    When would a fact ever be unreasonable?
  • Limbo - February 12, 2012 9 p.m.

    This article captured each system's personality perfectly: Nintendo: Innovation and Nintendo games! It's unlike anything else! Microsoft: HALO!!!!1! Sony: Look at all the features! And it's free! PC: Everything is better on the PC. The PC has been doing what consoles wish they could do for years. Kidding aside, I'm hoping that Nintendo pulls through, only because I love Nintendo to death.
  • haxxoromg - February 12, 2012 8:26 p.m.

    i doubt nintendo is going to win, even with the wiiu. I dont think many 3rd party devs are going to take full advantage of the new system because of the profit they could be simultaneously making off xbox, pc, and ps3 owners, and nintendo exclusives are at this point only appealing to a certain number of fans: your average fps, rts, or rpg fan would much rather go with a pc or microsoft/sony console which already have stacked repertoires in those genres. Even if nintendo wins this year and enjoys one or two more as the technological top dog, they are going to eventually fall into the same situation they are in now: as sony and microsoft come out with new tech, the wiiu will become another outdated system with a slapped on, clunky gimmick. That is, of course, unless the wiiu is so amazing that microsoft and sony adopt the tablet controller
  • Krazee - February 12, 2012 6:41 p.m.

    I really don't think the Wii U will be much to call home about. Trying to play games with that gigantic controller in your hand will probably suck and if Nintendo wants to make your controller a tablet with the screen on it then why don't they just eliminate the console altogether? The first party games Nintendo releases are fun but I'm getting sick of seeing the same franchises over and over again. They never come up with anything new and with Nintendo consoles' consistently inferior hardware nobody wants to play the big third party games on Nintendo consoles. Chances are you will never play a Bethesda or Valve game on a Nintendo console. Oh, and for the record,I'm generally a Xbox 360 and PC gamer.
  • T0ky0j0nnybr4v0 - February 12, 2012 4:23 p.m.

    Nintendo had a tough year because the earthquake and the strong yen did't help, and the 3ds launch was lousy. Wii U will rule for these reasons. HD Nintendo console with enough guts to produce the likes of the Zelda demo. an App store- potentially anything you can do on a DS (or maybe even a tablet) and this list of games. some are reality, some are dreams. Aliens- Colonial Marines AC 3 (or HD collection) Arkham City Darksiders 2 Dirt Bully 2 Child of Eden brain training f zero fifa/ nba/ nhl lego LOTR pikmin UMVC 3 metroid starfox zelda DK mario okami 2 pushmo silent hill/ MGS/ ZOE RE6 orange box/ half life 3 smash bros
  • roboteye - February 12, 2012 1:42 p.m.

    It's either Sony or PC. Why did Nintendo win??? The 3DS is doing well, but the Wii got nothing this year till the WiiU comes out. And we still have no clue when that thing is coming out.
  • kiing8kong6 - February 12, 2012 1:29 p.m.

    Nintendo to win? What a cop out!
  • metalgatesolid - February 12, 2012 10:50 a.m.

    I would say the PC has always been strong. But I'm not a PC gamer. Im a Playstation fanboy...So Sony
  • AstroSteve - February 12, 2012 1:25 a.m.

    Winner Nintendo? I LOL'd. Yeah they have the Wii, which is a poor attempt at what it's supposed to do - The Xbox 360 Kinect does a better job because it senses your entire body. But now they have this new wannabe PC controller and they win? No thanks, anything Nintendo can do a PC can do better. And I play on Xbox 360 but I'm having my doubts.
  • ncurry2 - February 12, 2012 10:49 a.m.

    A PC can play brand new Zelda, Mario, Metroid, and Donkey Kong games? I'm sorry but when it comes down to it, Nintendo is the undisputed best developer in the world. And you're only going to get those games on a Nintendo system.
  • Nikku7 - February 11, 2012 10:50 p.m.

    Dear Nintendo, release the entire earthbound/mother collection on 3ds, then announce Mother 4/Earthbound 3 as a launch title for Wii U (or whatever it will be called) and you will win. (I wish)
  • FlameChucks76 - February 11, 2012 9:28 p.m.

    GamesRadar has opened a can of worms at this point. The best we can do is just sit back and watch as the comments fly around comparing companies and their respective gaming machines. Personally, since I own everything, and will soon own a Wii U, I win this year :)

Showing 1-20 of 76 comments

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