5. This Whole High-Definition Thing Is Just a Fad

Certainly, Nintendo’s choice to launch its Wii console without high-definition capabilities comes in as one of the most mind-boggling moves ever perpetrated by one of the Big Three. Since Nintendo is a company which prides itself on its innovative game development, you might think that it could easily translate that same leadership to its hardware. Instead, the company proceeded as if high-definition were a fad, or as if high-definition would not be broadly adopted by the market within this console generation. Either proved a foolhardy assumption given the known trend in technology toward improvements in quality alongside consistently lower prices.

Both Sony and Microsoft foresaw the dramatic transition which has taken place in this console generation. While the game industry has lamented the number of years which have gone by without a new console to work on, the consumer has benefited tremendously as value has been continually added to this generation’s machines via online upgrades which fundamentally expanded the scope of what the consoles can do.

When I stayed up all night camped outside a Best Buy in the freezing cold to snag the Xbox 360 console back in 2005, the machine I brought home was something entirely primitive compared to what it has since become. With incremental updates and expanded applications like Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube, and so forth, my Xbox has gone from a mere gaming machine to the most essential component in my living room aside from the television connected to it. I don’t have cable, don’t rent movies on discs, and never watch live television. I don’t need to anymore. Entertainment is delivered through my Xbox whenever I find it convenient, on-demand, in high-definition. Sure, I can watch Netflix or Hulu through my Wii as well. But with resolution slightly improved over a VHS cassette, why would I want to?