Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo: Who Should You Trust?

Can you trust any of them?

Can you trust any of them?

The issue of gamer trust is more important than ever for console manufacturers. Earlier this year, many gamers felt betrayed or slighted by Microsoft’s initial Xbox One policies for DRM, online connectivity, Kinect 2.0 requirements and indie publishing. Some of these policies might have been the result of honest miscommunication, but that didn’t matter. As a company, you have to know your customers and how they will receive certain messages, and Microsoft failed to do this before and during E3.

Sony and Nintendo, particularly the former, seem to have more gamer trust than Microsoft at the moment. A question remains, however: do any of the big three deserve our trust?

It depends. There isn’t a dominant gaming issue that determines whether a gamer should trust Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony. I’m going to cover some of the major issues in gaming that can affect gamer trust. For each issue, I will tell you which of the big three you should trust the most. Hold onto your butts.

Product Durability

When people talk about their Red Ring experiences with the Xbox 360, I feel bad for them and thank the heavens that I have been lucky enough not to experience any durability issues with my 360. Sure, Microsoft has replaced many Red Ring systems, but no one should have to go through the trouble of replacing a system. With two big eighth generation consoles coming this fall, gamers around the world should pray that no durability issues arise in the next year or so.

Decades ago, Atari and Nintendo set high durability standards for popular systems. Since Atari’s death, Nintendo is the only company that has consistently put out very durable products. For example, it seems people can’t kill the GameCube even when they’re trying to. And you know that dusty NES or SNES or yours will work (perhaps with heavy blowing). Sony’s durability track record is a little bit better than Microsoft’s, but the PS2 is a sore spot. I know a guy who has gone through at least three PS2s. This story is backed by sixth generation durability tests that put the PS2 in dead last.

Who should you trust? Nintendo.

Online Multiplayer Capability/Reliability

Before I get into this, don’t misunderstand who I am. With the exception of some rather unhealthy online playing time with Street Fighter IV, I am not one of those people who play online that much. Still, it pisses me off that Nintendo refuses to make online multiplayer an option. I’d love to play The Last Blade, a stalwart Neo Geo fighter released on the Wii Virtual Console, against a slew of opponents, but guess what? Most Virtual Console games don’t support online multiplayer. Even worse, Nintendo included online multiplayer for the Genesis port of Super Street Fighter II, which is inferior to the SNES version. You know, the SNES, a Nintendo system. What the hell?

Sony and Microsoft are ahead of Nintendo on this issue, only because they give a shit about online multiplayer. As for who’s better, I can only speak about my personal experience with the 360, which has been quite consistent. I logged a lot of hours into Street Fighter IV multiplayer, and I have no complaints about the experience — well, besides the immature assholes who message you dumb shit, but that’s not Microsoft’s fault. Fellow Fate of the Game editor Dalton Miller wrote a convincing argument about why Microsoft dominates online multiplayer capability/reliability, so I’m going to trust (ahem) his word with the following verdict:

Who should you trust? Microsoft.

Product Ownership

It’s reasonable to assume that if you pay money for a product, you should be able to share and access that product. Like I mentioned in the introduction, Microsoft seemingly tried to pull one on gamers by suggesting that your Xbox One would not play used or borrowed games. Microsoft recently backtracked on this absurd suggestion but lost a ton of gamer trust on this issue that it won’t be getting back anytime soon. Some people are still worried that Microsoft will try to screw customers on product ownership.

Meanwhile, Sony and Nintendo played their cards right. Sony in particular laughed at Microsoft’s idiotic mistake. I would make this a tie between Sony and Nintendo, but there’s something we can’t forget: digital ownership. If you’re unlucky and your Nintendo system dies, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get all of your downloaded stuff back. On a Nintendo system, your downloads are linked to the console itself, not an account (as is the case with downloads for a Microsoft or Sony system). Because of this limitation, Nintendo loses a close battle with Sony.

Who should you trust? Sony.

Backward Compatibility

Let’s not pretend there’s a debate: Nintendo is the clear winner. The Wii U can play any Wii game. Just put in the disk and it’s ready to go. Plus, you can transfer your Wii Virtual Console games to your Wii U. Sony and Microsoft simply don’t give as much of a shit about backward compatibility.

Who should you trust? Nintendo.

New Games

Nintendo is the clear loser on this issue in every respect. First, Nintendo takes its sweet time with new major releases, whereas Sony and Microsoft have gone out of their way to line up numerous games for the PS4 and Xbox One, respectively. The lack of major releases on the Wii U has led some doomsayers to say Nintendo is dead. Such a claim is definitely stupid, but no one can deny the Wii U desperately needs major games.

How about indie games? Nintendo loses again. Even though the Wii U has a one-year head start and supposedly allows self-publishing, its indie library is pathetic. Nintendo keeps saying it has a lot of indie developers lined up, but when are we going to see the fruit on this tree?

How about retro games? Nintendo loses a third time. It’s a shame, too. The Wii Virtual Console is awesome, but the Wii U Virtual Console has been a bust in comparison. The only Wii U VC game that isn’t already available on the Wii VC is Earthbound. Absolutely pathetic.

Who should you trust? Microsoft or Sony.

So which company should you trust the most overall? I can’t answer that question. I discussed the gaming issues that matter the most to me, and while it seems I kind of trust Nintendo more often than not, Nintendo still pisses me off a good deal, which has prevented me from buying a Wii U. Plus, you might care more about gaming issues that I haven’t even considered. Regardless, you should go issue by issue before outright saying that you trust a console manufacturer.

So which company do you trust?


  1. I agreed with most point, right until you got to the “New Games” area.

    In that area I think it appears that you compared apples and oranges. Any new console is going to lack new games. Independent game producers take time to finance, produce and QA new game product. Comparing Wii U with 350 and PS3 makes no sense. You need to either compare Wii with PS3 and 360 or Wii U with PS4 and XBox 1, which at this stage makes no sense to do.

    For new games …. I think it is a “wait and see who to trust”. Either that or look at first party games in developed (or in development), in which case I suspect the winner is Nintendo.

    • Jed Pressgrove

      Hey cdar, I did compare the Wii U to the PS4 and Xbox One. I’ll be more specific, though: compare the launch titles of the Wii U to the launch titles for PS4 and Xbox One. The Wii U launch featured several games that had been available on seventh-generation consoles (in some cases, for years). While the launches for the PS4 and Xbox One will feature some games that you can buy on the PS3 or 360, at least they’re new games.

      And I gotta say this again: Nintendo has no excuse for such a lame Virtual Console on the Wii U. It’s almost insulting. What’s the point of having a new VC when virtually (hardy har) all of its games are available on the old VC?

      At the same time, I can see where you’re coming from about waiting and seeing, but Nintendo really does need to get its shit together with all three types of new games: popular, indie, and retro.

  2. Trusting a company implies the expectation that the company cares about your best interests and newsflash, no company does. Why? Because the premise of capitalism and its success is solely on the self-interest of a company; i.e. profit. And the consumer’s best interest is never the profit of a company. But… If a person must “trust” one of the above, only Nintendo is worthy.

  3. Sorry but Nintendo makes the best games. Way to forget they have to support 3ds too.

    In 2013, Nintendo leads metacritic

    • Jed Pressgrove

      This article doesn’t really address who has the “best games.” That wasn’t the purpose of the “New Games” section. The purpose of that section was to point out that the Wii U is suffering due to a lack of popular, indie, and retro games.

      Also, while I chose not to focus on handhelds, that could very well be an issue that you consider important enough to mention in your own analysis. That’s why I said this article is about the five issues I care the most about.

    • I disagree with the Product Ownership going to Sony. Nintendo actually wins that in my eyes. It being tied to the console and not user account actually turns it into a physical commodity that can increase the value of your console if sold. The downside being if the console break you lose said comodity in whole, but i have never had a Nintendo console break. I’ sure it happens, but never to me so far. The only other console manufacturer i can say that about is Sega. Pick your poison.

  4. I can finally say that Nintendo doesn’t make games I want to play anymore. They are too ingrained on milking their tried and true 20-30 year old franchises and I’m just not sipping that kool aid anymore. As for XBO and PS4, they are PCs. Worse is that developers aren’t really going to make cross-platform games look very different from each other so in my eyes, it almost entirely depends on features outside of the games themselves such as UI, controller, online service, and the somewhat understated popularity, because people want to play with their friends on the system their friends are playing on. I think Sony and Microsoft understand that popularity amongst early adopters is a major factor in long term success.

    • “They are too ingrained on milking their tried and true 20-30 year old franchises ”

      have fun with killzone 5…….sony is heading the same way

  5. It’s not about the company, it’s about the games.
    And so far, Nintendo has given me the most trustworthy titles for my American dollar. They don’t change too much of the core gameplay between titles, but the rest of the changes make up for that, and besides, why change the core too much when it might alienate more than it convinces?

    Sony’s my runner-up in that regard, but indie games might replace them if they don’t do a major price drop and keep multiplayer out from behind PS+, on the PS4.
    If they don’t do either of those things in the relatively near future, I’ll be sticking with Nintendo and PC gaming, and will get a PS4 in a year or two after its release.

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