Sep 21 2008

Which Videogame Console? (Part 4)

zorro @ 2:33 pm

Sony Playstation 3

After dominating the console wars for two generations with the original Playstation and the almost ubiquitous Playstation 2, Sony took a gamble that consumers were ready for a new video format, High-Def Blu-Ray, and built a system around it. The Playstation 3 (PS3) was launched in Australia in March 2007. The increased capacity of Blu-Ray discs has so far failed to deliver significant benefits to the games side but for movie-buffs it’s as good as it gets.

In terms of first-party games, Sony has the stronger hand with Naughty Dog (Drake’s Fortune), Polyphony (Gran Turismo), Insomniac (Ratchet & Clank & Resistance), Relentless (Buzz), Incognito (Warhawk), Evolution (Motorstorm) and the various SCE Studios around the world responsible for God of War, Wipeout, Singstar and camera accessory, Eyetoy among others.

Traditionally, Sony makes hardware, Microsoft makes software and this is reflected in their system design. The PS3 is quieter, cooler and better-looking but its interface is a poor reflection of the 360’s. Most of the features are there, just harder to find but with the release of v2.4, Sony addressed a few of these issues. In terms of movie playback though, the PS3 is perfect.

Sony’s console is less proprietary – Bluetooth keyboards, headsets and mice are fully compatible and the option to run a Linux OS is confirmation. The presence of an inbuilt internet browser is also welcome and, since the Wii has one, the 360’s lack seems odd, especially coming from the developer of Internet Explorer. The PS3’s online store is functional but not as well stocked as the 360 and demos for many of its independent games are absent.

Online multi-player simply lacks a good interface, all the elements are there. Warhawk has gone some way to move this forward but, like many other games, its interface is proprietary. Standardise this and Sony will achieve parity with the current benchmark, XBox Live. With Home, a virtual 3D community hub, Sony hopes to crack that particular nut.

Third-party games are almost identical on both the PS3 and 360 with each one having minor graphical advantages over each other. Sony claim that developers have yet to “harness the Cell processor’s power” but a significant leap seems unlikely.

Upcoming PS3 Highlights (3rd QTR 08):

Prince of Persia, Force Unleashed, Motorstorm 2, LittleBigPlanet, Fallout 3

Prince of PersiaMotorstorm 2Little Big Planet

Bioshock, Wipeout HD, Resistance 2, Guitar Hero: World Tour, Singstar: ABBA.

Bioshock - PS3Wipeout HDResistance 2Guitar Hero: World TourSingstar: ABBA

Blu-Ray is a step-up from DVD and the PS3’s broad range of quality games, from party to indie, satisfies all but the ex-PC elite. As a home entertainment system and internet-enabled games console, the PS3 is an expensive but solid option.

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