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Square Enix's Final Fantasy VII (the first Final Fantasy game released on Playstation - and Sony made everyone aware of it with ads that claimed if game were created on a cartridge, it would have cost $1200) went on to sell an outstanding 7.8 million copies!
Nintendo released Nintendo 64 (fortunately their last cartridge-based system) in 1996. The high production costs of games on cartridges and lack of many quality game titles seen on previous Nintendo consoles doomed this console for most of its life cycle (there was not even a Metroid game for N64). Nintendo slipped out of number one spot for console market share for good and has yet to ever return to that position.
The N64 sold 32 million units, which considering lack of numerous quality titles like SNES possessed, is a solid number sold, but pales in comparison to Playstation One's sales figures. In May 2004, Sony had shipped its 100 millionth Playstation One console. Sony easily won 32-bit/64-bit console war.
The Xbox, GameCube and PS2 console war has been fierce. Sega's 128-bit Dreamcast was pulled from much crowded console war and stopped producing consoles altogether. Companies have offered different prices, different bundles, but in end, Playstation 2 is number one with a record-breaking 70 million units sold as of May 2004 (and will likely break 100 million mark faster than original Playstation One console). Xbox is number two and Nintendo GameCube is close-behind at number three.
Nintendo has been able to bring back much needed Final Fantasy franchise (in some limited capacity however). The GameCube finally switched to disc gameplay, but Sony had a one year head start with PS2 and has never looked back. Nintendo claims their next console, code-named "Revolution," will be released along with its competitors.
Can Nintendo ever be number one again? Even with quality franchise titles such as Metroid Prime, The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker, Super Mario Sunshine, all of mega-popular Pokémon games, Nintendo is still only in third place in console market share.
To think that if Nintendo had not ticked Sony off with development of SNES CD add-on, Nintendo and Sega may still be fighting console war along with Microsoft. But if that happened, more than likely many more game publishers would have been backing Nintendo's console and all of those terrific Final Fantasy games would have been released on Nintendo's console instead of a competitor's game machine. Nintendo may never be number one again unless they acquire games like Castlevania, Grand Theft Auto, Metal Gear Solid and incorporate online gameplay in more games for their future game console.
Kevin Scripter is the site owner of Zerogifts.com, an online retailer of video games and DVD movies http://www.zerogifts.com.