This makes it the leader in the new-gen console race, which may come as a surprise to readers. After all, the competition has much more exciting and innovative video game consoles than the PS4.
Even Sony is surprised by how fast their boring new console is selling.
Microsoft’s MSFT +0.16% Xbox One (originally) launched with the exciting and innovative Kinect sensor, all for just $499. (Now Microsoft offers a much less interesting Xbox One without the Kinect for $399, the same price as Sony’s rather boring PS4.)
The Kinect allows users to navigate the Xbox One UI with voice commands that you may or may not remember. This is a super useful feature for parents whose children refuse to stop watching Netflix NFLX -0.4% or won’t turn off a video game when asked repeatedly. A simple “Xbox Off” from across the room takes care of that problem.
Trust me, you won’t forget that voice command. (Though your kids may learn “Xbox On” pretty quickly.)
Games like Ryse: Son of Rome let you order troops around via voice commands, and there was this one fighting game that everyone hated that allowed you to sort of fumble around the room using gestures—instead of button combos—to pull off moves. Nobody remembers what that game was called.
Meanwhile, Nintendo launched its own exciting, innovative product known—unfortunately—as the Wii U (instead of the much better-named Super Wii.) Consumers to this day believe the fancy touchscreen gamepad that forms the cornerstone of the Wii U is simply an add-on peripheral for the better known and more successful Wii—last-gen’s best-selling home console.
The Wii U gamepad allows for all sorts of interesting gameplay innovations, including second-screen gaming, asymmetric gameplay, and watching Netflix on the smaller screen so dad can watch football. It’s also extremely useful for kids, many of whom no longer have the capacity to use buttons properly thanks to the rapid rise of touchscreens in modern society.
Last but not least, the expensive gamepad ensured that the Wii U was underpowered compared to the competition, making it very effective at scaring off third party developers.
(While this article is largely tongue-in-cheek—bet you didn’t notice!—the gamepad actually is pretty neat at times, with the handful of games that make use of it such as The Wonderful 101 and some of Nintendo’s party games.)