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Harrison: Nintendo to Rule Next Gen Life Cycle
By Tom Ivan

George Harrison has forecast that the life cycle of next generation consoles will be longer than the traditional five years, and he believes Nintendo could end up with a 50% hardware market share.

ImageSpeaking in an interview with Wired, Nintendo of America's marketing chief said that the slow take-up of the Blu-ray equipped PS3, with its advanced graphical capabilities, should ensure that more technologically advanced consoles don’t see the light of day for over five years.

“First of all, I'm not sure it's going to be a typical lifecycle. In the past, we've always had five- to six-year lifecycles which were sort of forced by someone jumping ahead and using a new piece of technology. And we're finding out now that the appeal of faster processors and better graphics is really sort of reaching a diminishing point.

“There's a price point and there's the quality that's holding the PlayStation 3 back. They're selling so many PlayStation 2s because people are saying, "You know what? The graphics are pretty good, the price is good, and the library is good." So we have a great expectation that this lifecycle's actually going to last more than five years,” he said.

Last week Nintendo predicted it could sell in excess of 35 million Wii units by 2011/2012, a figure approaching the record 38.2 million PlayStation 2s sold by Sony. Now Harrison has stated his belief that the Japanese firm’s targeting of a wider audience than its competitors could see its share of the hardware market reach as high as 50%.

“We also have a belief that we can be, of this lifecycle, 40-45% of the hardware that's being sold...we could get over 50%. And a lot of that depends on what our competitors do. If they only focus on the Grand Theft Autos and the Halos and things of that nature, they're focusing on a very tiny part of the market. The overall market is growing so dramatically that they're going to miss out on the opportunities that we're seeing in the expanded audience.”

Harrison goes on to predict that Sony and Microsoft will attempt to take a leaf out of Nintendo’s book, but that it may not be possible as targeting new customers is not in their genetic make up.

"So far, they haven't spent a lot of time focused on us. Now that we're having some success, they probably will. We can already see some of the things that they've tried. For last year's E3, at the last minute, Sony rushed out their Sixaxis controller as an effort to respond to the Wii remote. We saw Microsoft roll out Viva Piñata as their killer app for the Pokémon set. And neither of those worked really well. Part of it is, I think it's not in their DNA. They're really good at reaching a certain customer, and have a real difficulty understanding how we succeed with the customers that we have.
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