Which console will win Fall 2010?

At the beginning of this year, we put our heads together to predict which console would “win” 2010. Not in terms of sales, necessarily, but in terms of who was going to make the strongest showing, and whose machine we were going to want to play the most. Back then, the impending double threat of Kinect (then called Natal) and Halo: Reach prompted us to give it to the 360.

Above: Even so, the fight still rages 

Now, however, E3’s over, summer’s in full swing and most publishers have seemingly shot their wads early by delivering some of the year’s best games in its first half. At this point, the competition to win fall 2010 – during which the industry rolls out its biggest guns in preparation for the all-important holiday season – is anyone’s game. Will beloved exclusives or killer hardware win us over this year? Are Microsoft and Sony’s motion-control pushes going to inspire more than another lame fad?

With a much better idea of where the industry is headed (and a healthy margin of error), here’s where we think things are headed for each system over the next few months:

XBOX 360

1. Shiny and new

This fall, some customers will carefully weigh their console options, comparing the pros and cons of each before finally deciding which deserves a place in their budget. Other customers, however, are much easier to persuade. They vote with feelings, not facts, and can't help but desire whichever gadget is currently the newest, shiniest and most heavily marketed. At the end of 2010 – months before the launch of the Nintendo 3DS – that gadget will be the slimmer, sleeker Xbox 360.

Even for those smarter shoppers, Microsoft's hardware will now be an easier choice. The famous flaws that scared people away from the 360 and towards the PS3 have been addressed and fixed: it's quieter, it's lighter, it's wireless, it's got more storage and less likelihood to break, and it's $50 cheaper than its 250GB Sony counterpart.

2. Kinect still matters

Okay, so the E3 2010 debut of Microsoft's motion-sensing device didn't go as smoothly or positively as the company might have hoped…

Above: SIGH 

Or did it? Remember, we're not really the target audience for Kinect, just as we weren't for the Wii or the EyeToy. All that matters, at least when figuring out which console will win Fall 2010, is that the mainstream press bought the concept and is now selling that concept to casual gamers everywhere.

For example, while we were ridiculing Kinect's hilariously awful, Cirque du Soleil-directed introduction to the world, The New York Times stated that describing the device as "merely impressive would be an understatement," and predicted that players would find themselves "ducking, dancing, kicking, leaning, waving and pushing, smiling and laughing all the while." On USA Today's story, one of the very first commenters excitedly shared that he and his wife will buy into Kinect "as soon as the Dancing with the Stars game comes out."

Above: Meet your replacement 

We may be dubious of Kinect at this point, but as long as these people aren't, the thing will sell.

3. Canceling cable

While I’m stereotyping large swaths of people, here are a couple more of what I'll carelessly refer to as "facts": Men are likely the members of their households who are choosing which console to buy, and men are likely not as thrilled by the existence of a dancing game as the USA today guy above. That's fine, because Microsoft will win this generalized gender over with something else: ESPN. Starting this fall, those who own Xbox 360s and subscribe to Xbox Live Gold will have streaming access to thousands of sporting events – MLB, NBA, soccer, college football – in HD, with trivia and for no extra charge.

Add in the future promise of Hulu and the right-now reality of Netflix, Twitter, Facebook and, and suddenly, the Xbox 360 can be marketed as a true multitasking entertainment center to those who aren't completely convinced by the games alone. PS3 and Wii have some of these services, too… but not all of them.

4. Oh, and some games, too

Heard of Halo: Reach? Yeah. To simply say that the game is "releasing" this fall would not do justice to the monumental impact that its hitting store shelves will actually have. If the buildup to Halo 3 is any indication, there will be celebrity galas, television specials, fast food licensing deals, soda brandings, comic book spinoffs, billboards in every major city and endless commercials. There will be many, many, many millions of dollars both spent and earned by Microsoft. This will be more than a release – this will be an Xbox 360-exclusive event.

Plus, Fable III!

But also, the end of this year will feature a bunch of other, non-Halo shooters that, despite being multi-platform, can only help Microsoft's system. Whether rightfully or not, the 360 is generally thought of as the default console for shooter fans and for robust online community. When multiplayer games like Call of Duty: Black Ops, Medal of Honor and Crysis 2 start catching new players' attention, they'll be more inclined to try them on the Xbox 360.

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  • Vulneratus - October 3, 2010 1:24 p.m.

    Whoahh! :) left that comment lastnight and I conveniently forgot to mention I was hammered... oh well... lesson learned : Don't leave comments while drunk
  • Vulneratus - October 3, 2010 2:49 a.m.

    Yeah!! Go Mikel!! I'm sorry dudes if you've got half a brain de ps3 has to win... unless you like dressin babies and like donkey fashion star 2 then Nintendo have just sold any hardcore audience they had left to relying on ant 'n' dec selling their latest piece of mass-market tripe to selling to mums/morons-who-don't-know-any-better. Unless of course u like waiting till once a year rolls round so u can play a decent game... cos thats what we're in it for right??? Fuck Nintendo!! They pull that shit, then what seriously is the point in brand loyalty?? Sorry, Microsoft pissed me off years ago after i got an xbox n then like a year later they announced de 360, now Nintendo just seems to fuckin' ignore anything their empire is built on except cheap-ass "casual gamer" gimmicks. And don't get me wrong, Sony are no angels either! remember when it used to be about games and the people who enjoyed them???? Well, we might as well fuckin try while we can cos it certainly won't be long before all this BS is redundant too... sorry, rant over.. just a little pissed off tonight
  • SolarPoweredShitMachine - October 1, 2010 11:46 p.m.

    I agree that the PC will "win" Fall 2010 (even though I have all the consoles and prefer the PS3) although I got really tired of the MMOs. I'd rather a nice 1-4 player game... ...Oh wait... Steam... K, the PC wins hands-down.
  • k1ll8saurav - August 4, 2010 1:54 a.m.

    That's bullshit. This is which "console" wins this fall. Why the fudge would anyone include PCs in a console-only competition? Of course PC dominates consoles every way possible, but because this year is possibly one of the biggest ever in PC history, it doesn't qualify it to be competing with measly consoles. If PC was included, it should be called the best platform of the fall competition. Not a console competition. The minute I saw PC I was like I know who the winner is.
  • Elementium - July 8, 2010 4:50 p.m.

    As someone who plays WoW.. yeah the PC is going to win. Also.. I don't trust Sony anymore. the PS2 was amazing but they got greedy with the PS3 and hurt themselves. Xbox just has too many good games. You absolutely cannot beat Halo:Reach and fable 3. As for the Wii.. it's cheap and still has some good games but I'd buy one just for the Virtual Console games.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - July 8, 2010 7:20 a.m.

    The only must buys left for me to get this year are LBP2, GT5, The Sly Collection GOW:GOS, Rock Band 3. I also want Crysis 2, COD black ops, Medal Of Honor but i will probably only get one of these shooters. If Resistance 3, Team Ico Collection or The Last Guardian get released this year they will be must buys. Plenty of good games are coming out I just hope I can afford them all I am broke right now but I'm looking for a job. I'm more excited for 2011 Can't wait for Twisted Metal, Killzone 3, inFAMOUS 2, Metal Solid Rising, Agent
  • Howetzer - July 7, 2010 4:47 p.m.

    Oh here we go GR, it FIGURES you'd pick your stupid XBox360 for the winner this year, DUH! I mean common you guys are Soooo predictable.... What's that you say? They picked the PC? Shut the front Door! well then, I am going to go and sit down.....for now.
  • mwheeler - July 6, 2010 7 p.m.

    Well, The wii allways does well at xmas in terms of profit, take the wii fit for example. As for games, there getting alot better. Last few months has had monster hunter tri, super mario galaxy 2 etc - Add more to that list come the fall such as epic mickey and the new goldeneye and the wii finally has some interest for hardcore gamers.
  • JADENkOTOR - July 6, 2010 6:27 p.m.

    @ GodofPS314- You are stupid Medal of Honor is multiplatform. I really liked how you said it with such conviction though @ RedOutLive10- The Fable series is so much much better than GoW and Halo As for who wins: Nobody does- except Peter Monyluex and Chuck Norris
  • axemahn - July 6, 2010 3:22 a.m.

    halo and fable own. all sony has is.......a racing game? lol go away sony, shooo!!!!
  • Druupwnz - July 6, 2010 12:35 a.m.

    I'm not a PC gamer, but I've gotta agree with you. Halo: Reach, GT 5, and all the freaking awesome Nintendo things will bring a bunch of money towards consoles, but quite honestly SCII and WoW are going to continue to win the market, commercially. PC MMO's are goldmines, as hard as that is for some *coughmostpostersonherecough* to swallow. So yep, PC wins. Nice article.
  • DriveShaft - July 5, 2010 8:04 p.m.

    PS3 or Wii, but fucking PC????
  • newgames128 - July 5, 2010 6:06 p.m.

    I can understand the addiction factor that level-based MMORPG/RTS games like WoW an Starcraft 2 create to make them more popular, but imo they don't hold a candle to something like The Witcher 2.
  • Cwf2008 - July 5, 2010 9:41 a.m.

    So the nonconsole wins? WTF?!
  • Ninja-KiLLR - July 5, 2010 12:16 a.m.

    GT5, LBP2, and fallout new vegas is all that i need.
  • sato - July 4, 2010 9:55 p.m.

    oh my, i expected a huge and distinct preference in comments... and does it really matter who wins? there's always next year, and next year, and next year... until someone buys someone out...
  • GameManiac - July 4, 2010 9:44 p.m.

    Who cares who wins. What matters is what good that's coming with what we already (or going to) have. I have both a Wii and DS, so I'll stick to Nintendo and bask in its wonderful line up. There's so much from them to look forward to.
  • JosefMotley - July 4, 2010 2:33 p.m.

    also - weren't you guys saying the other day that PC gaming was dying because if you're clever enough to actually get a game working on the damn thing, you're probably clever enough to download and crack it? not that i don't love the PC and fully agree with the mouse control praises...
  • JosefMotley - July 4, 2010 2:31 p.m.

    the nintendo lineup of games is actually pretty poor beyond DKC and kirby, both of which could go either way... it was rare who made DKC what it was, and retro studios as far as i'm concerned are just the guys who ruined metroid. kirby games tend to be good but the last GBA one i played, amazing mirror, was pretty awful, i hope that doesn't happen again here. and how come half the wii article was about the DS? that seems to have a much better roster,as per usual ... wish i could play handhelds without dying of neck cramp and RSI
  • sixboxes - July 4, 2010 2:22 p.m.

    I like how the "console" to win the battle of "Which console will win Fall 2010?" is the only thing on the list that isn't a console. I also like how all it's apparently good for is gaming, despite being the most versatile piece of hardware out of everything in this article. But what I like the most is how the article pervades the stereotype of the snotty PC gamer who thinks his chosen platform is unequivocally superior, and people would only disagree with him because they are mentally handicapped. I'm sure someone else has said all this, but it's Sunday, and I'm too lazy today to go through four pages of comments.