If you had a look at the Japanese sales charts lately you could get the impression that hardcore gaming is coming to an end in the land of the rising sun. Nintendo rules with an iron fist and it seems that it can only be a matter of months until the whole country owns a DS and/ or a Wii. Meanwhile, Xbox 360 sales are still a total disaster which when you think of the games for it, combined with some Americanised corporate ignorance, isn't really much of a surprise. Also Europe doesn't seem too impressed with Microsoft's game culture. Actually the only market the 360 really appeals to is the action-obsessed US with its competitive culture. And even though Sony would like you to believe that if Jesus was a console he would be a Playstation 3, the great unwashed masses don't seem to have gotten the message yet – sales just pretty much suck everywhere.So what can be made of this? It's great to see that Nintendo is tapping a new audience with its approach and finally brings videogames to the mainstream. Which was about damn time considering that the industry had about 30 years for that. Male fantasies of bikini girls with machine guns are complimented with content (ed. note: What's wrong with bikini girls and machine guns?). Also your girlfriend can enjoy the system, as the innovative Wii control scheme allows for intuitive and interesting concepts that don't force you too learn the layout of a 16 button joypad by heart; cheaper development costs (potentially) mean more innovative and daring games. Sounds good, doesn't it? There are issues though. Will people stay interested in the casual games Nintendo offers? Is the five, ten minute distraction compelling enough to keep players coming back for more? Also: Can these games really innovate the medium? Maybe in being different when it comes to certain forms of content and in their control scheme. But it takes more to create something completely epic and new. Innovation is also always linked to new, more powerful technologies. More powerful graphics can make for a better narrative architecture, i.e. a powerful narrative with the help of an immersive environment. Superior calculating power can help to create a better A.I., an area that definitely needs improvement, holds huge promises and could potentially compel games to a new level. Casual gaming is a step in the right direction and a necessary completion. It would a shame though if hardcore gaming completely disappeared or just played a minor rule because this would severely diminish chances of future epic masterpieces. So let's hope Sony and Microsoft get their act together – you might not always like them (for very good reasons I might add!) but without them the future would be bleak.