Ah, the console wars, a debate as eternal as the dubbed vs subtitled anime one. I’ve always tried to stay out of it, as my reasoning for getting my Xbox 360 laid in my disability. With the recent price cut, and my subsequent purchase, of the PlayStation 3 however, I now have an opinion about this topic. For the 360 and PS3 though, I’m not going to compare graphics, because I don’t see that much of a difference, and even if I did, that’s a whole other post in itself, as is comparing games.
Let’s get the Wii out of the way first. The price cut from $249, to $199 was a good move on Nintendo’s part, because in theory, it might make the Wii the Christmas Killer the second year in a row. Even so, I think that for most, this motion-controlled console’s gimmicks have worn off, and quite frankly, that’s all it is — a gimmicky machine. In order for it to be more successful, the Wii needs better graphics, a hard drive, DVD playback, and better games. Someone on GameTrailers called it “My First Game Console” (as in kids’ “My First…”), and that’s pretty much what it is.
Moving onto the PS3, after countless months of comments from publishers, developers and gamers alike, it finally received a much-wanted price cut, this time a $100 cut across all models. Much like they did with the PS3’s predecessor, Sony’s now making a new 120GB slim model, which sells for $299, is 33% smaller, 36% lighter, and consumes 50-70% less power than previous models (which I forgot are no longer in production).
By now, I think everyone knows of Sony’s more-hyped features of the PS3: the Second Life-esque Home, and the built-in BluRay player. Similar to the Wii, The PS3’s controller, which like its rivals’ is wireless (and can be recharged via any USB port), also uses motion control via an accelerometer, although from what I’ve noticed so far, motion control on the PS3 is nowhere as intrusive as, and more responsive/accurate than on the Wii. In addition, the hard drive is user-upgradeable, without the need to buy a Sony-built drive, you can use any SATA hard drive. This practice is, surprisingly, one that Sony not only supports, but one it recommends.
The PS3 also has free online (although it’s not as stable as Xbox Live), as well as the easily abused game sharing, a feature that lets you install games purchased and downloaded from the PlayStation Network, on up to 5 consoles. Those 5 consoles can then download that content as many times as they want. In my opinion, this feature is a MAJOR plus for the PS3, even more-so than the free online. Say you’re broke but you want to get a game — Shatter, for example — and your friend has it, they can share it with you. Free games FTW! The only drawback about game sharing is that the person that’s sharing has to give those consoles their PSN ID and password.
My last point in regards to the PS3 is that as far as games go, it is region-free, meaning it can play games from all over the world. I’ve signed up for the Japanese PSN and downloaded quite a few demos, all of which play perfectly on my Slim. I’ve also downloaded the
PSP-to-PS3-to-internet-to-other-PS3s-to-other-PSPs/local multiplayer spoofer, Ad-Hoc Party, an application that lets you play local multiplayer PSP games online using the PS3’s internet connection.
Finally, let’s look at the 360. It too received a price cut, a $100 one for the 120GB Elite model to be exact, making it $299. The 60GB Pro model, which Microsoft has ceased production of, also got a cut from $299, to $249, while the hard drive-less Arcade model is holding at $199. As with the PS3, the 360’s hard drive is also user-upgradeable, but you have to buy Microsoft-built drives just for the 360, which are overpriced (i.e: $149 for 120GB). The 360 controller is more stationary as it does not have motion control. It also has 2 versions: wireless and wired. The wireless one is rechargeable, but you’ll have to keep buying battery packs as they wear out easily.
The 360 has a better online network, that’s for sure, but it isn’t free (if you want to play head-to-head with other people). Its Gold membership is 3 months for $20 and 12 months for $50, on top of game-purchasing fees. Still, the 360 has a more cohesive community. Microsoft is not afraid to mingle with their gamers, and when something breaks on Live, Microsoft is right on it.
Later this year (or early next year, I’m not sure), 360 is getting Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm, but they will not be available for free (“Silver”) members, save for a trial period. Not to mention, when you’re Silver, you can’t even send messages to your friends. The fact that Microsoft is seemingly ostracizing their Silver users doesn’t bode well for neither Microsoft nor its gamers, because sooner or later, gamers are going to say “I have to pay to send messages? Fuck you. I’m switching [to PS3].” Another problem for 360 users is the console’s notorious failure/RRoD (Red Ring of Death) rate, which is an alarming 54.2%, as opposed to 10.6% for the PS3, and 6.8% for the Wii.
I admittedly bashed the PS3 up until the price cut was announced, calling it stuff like “BS3,” “PoS3,” and “the $600 Pile of Shit, no console is worth $600.” But now that I have one and have played with it, I can say that yes, I was wrong. It’s still not worth the $600, but it is well worth the $300, but so is the 360. I honestly think both the 360 and PS3 are pretty much equal. There are really no features that blow the other console away, but I have to give this generation to the PS3 because of the game sharing.