Acer, a leading maker of personal computers, said at a press conference recently that one of the projects that it was working on was an open-standard video game system. The company did not unveil any details about the potential product, but stressed that its device will compete against Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo Wii.
“If you look at most of the other game machines that are out there right now – Nintendo’s [Wii], [Microsoft’s] Xbox – they are ‘closed’ and proprietary systems,” complained Acer’s senior vice president James T. Wong in an interview with Beta News web-site. Therefore, the company sees a success opportunity in a game console based on open standards.
The high-ranking executive of Acer said that beyond “openness”, all of the Acer-branded systems being eyed right now, including the game machine, are envisioned as offering new and innovative form factors and applications.
There is a significant difference between proprietary gaming systems and open standard gaming systems for gamers: the cost of games. For example, Electronic Arts’ latest Need for Speed: ProStreet for PC costs $29.99 at Amazon.com, Xbox 360 version is sold for $42.99, Nintendo Wii version is priced at $49.99, whereas Need for Speed: ProStreet for PlayStation 3 is available for whopping $59.99, two times higher compared to PC version.
Theoretically, a game console which developer does not charge huge royalties for the ability to develop and sell compatible games may allow video game makers to sell their titles at a lower price. However, the question is whether the creator of such game system is able to sell it at an affordable price-point while offering decent performance and feature-set. Usually game consoles are sold at a loss and then their developers earn money on games and royalties. Acer’s business model is based on selling hardware at a profit.