Is PlayStation Just As Iconic As Nintendo?
Time changes perspectives.
There was a time when Nintendo vs. Sega was the ultimate console war and nobody could conceive of a more gripping or legendary battle. In retrospect, it didn't even last that long, not compared to PlayStation vs. Xbox.
There's no doubt that Nintendo will go down in history as a pioneer in the industry. But as the years and decades fall away, one's going to have to ask the serious question: Can PlayStation/Sony go toe-to-toe with Nintendo in terms of overall brand impact on gaming? Is it feasible that in fact, PlayStation will end up being just as important to this industry in the long run, if not more so? One could make the argument that with the same mascots for three decades, Nintendo hasn't done enough to maintain its forward momentum. And without the motion-sensing gimmick that rocketed the Wii to temporary superstar-dom, Nintendo might not even be in the console race anymore.
At the same time, you can't say the N64 wasn't instrumental in the inception and evolution of 3D gaming. PlayStation participated there, too, but I imagine everyone will remember Mario 64 as the game that helped break the mold, that allowed everyone to see what a new generation - and a new dimension - would be like. Even so, if you look at the birth and expansion of various genres, I think it's obvious that the original PlayStation (and in fact, all PlayStations) had a wider variety of gameplay experiences, from the likes of Metal Gear Solid to JRPGs to the first simulators. This diversity is really what allowed the PlayStation brand to dominate the industry; the PS2 had just about every conceivable genre on earth, while the same could not be said of GameCube and Xbox, for instance.
Again, time is the key. For the time being, I doubt anyone will say Sony is "as iconic" as Nintendo. Well, perhaps nostalgia is playing a role...a big role. And maybe we should start to acknowledge that.
8/21/2015 Ben Dutka