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Wiseman

An unbiased look at the console wars - Playstation 3 vs Xbox 360

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Let me preface this with why the Wii by Nintendo is not mentioned here. Odds are if you are looking at a Wii you know you want a Wii, it is a unique platform with it's own unique features. I will however note that in my research I discovered that the Wii is the number 1 seller of consoles, more than Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. This generation of gaming platforms has Nintendo as the front runner, considering it has been losing to Microsoft and Sony with everything past the Super Nintendo that is quite an accomplishment and my kudos to Nintendo for rebounding nicely. :thumb:

 

Introduction:

 

Now with that out of the way the reason I am writing this is for 3 reasons. The first reason is I chose to get back into video games after a long hiatus, over the last few weeks I have done a lot of research on both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, and I mean a lot of research! From gamers experiences, to professional reviews, even to game developer feedback. While this does not make me an "expert" by any means, it does afford me the opportunity to do a write up now before my new system arrives based solely on imperial research so no "fanboy" mentality creeps into my article. The second reason I am writing this is that I hope this helps in your decision if you are looking at getting a video game system, perhaps it might save you some time in your research to make you a better informed buyer and to help you pull the trigger successfully. Finally, if you do buy a system I want you to buy the right one for you. These new generation systems are awfully expensive and making the wrong choice only to decide you should have went the other way means you could lose your ass in a resale to get onto the other track.

 

My video game history:

 

A little about my video game experience and why I took a hiatus from this generation. I am a long time video gamer, I remember having the original Nintendo in all it's glory (including blowing in it and the games to get it to work most of the time). At one point I had 100+ games for it, I was the envy of the kids of the neighborhood. Then came the Super Nintendo, I bought one the day it came out selling my original Nintendo and 100+ games to afford it. I was a happy camper with it for a long time. Then came the Playstation 1 and man that stepped things up quite a bit and Sony had a juggernaut on it's hands. Then came the Nintendo 64 which I never had as much fun with as I did the PS1 or the SNES to be honest, the N64 is to this day still viewed as one of Nintendo's biggest blunders. Up next we had the Sega Dreamcast, I loved that little machine and it introduced some pretty cool options, Hydro Thunder was my game of choice which really was a blast, too bad the console died a pretty quick death. Then came the Playstation 2 which is to this day the best selling console of all time and still sells well with a revamped slim design. Then came the Gamecube, I did not care for it and it was the shortest owned platform by me of any system I have ever owned. Then I had both an PS2 and Xbox for a long time.

 

Back in these days you could own 2 or 3 different systems, the platforms were cheap usually coming in at $120 to $199. Nowadays not so much. That is one reason I stopped after the PS2, the Xbox 360 and PS3 represented a fundamental shift in gaming. Even though both systems for some time from their release to now have taken a loss on every system they sell, they have loaded them with so many features that frankly it scared me off! Wi-fi, Bluetooth, Blu-Ray, major online gaming, were just some of the things I did not understand at the time and was afraid to jump into blindly. Times have changed, I understand it all better now and have since decided to go back into the fray. Now let's get down to business.

 

History of the systems:

 

History of the Xbox 360 - The successor to the original Xbox, the 360 is Microsoft's second video game system offering. The Xbox proved to be a winner even though Microsoft has been operating from the red since the original Xbox's development. Microsoft remains committed to the Xbox and makes it returns from games and accessories. While the break even point has been achieved on the 360 (i.e. they do not lose money any longer on every console sold) they are not making any real amount of profit on it either. The 360 was released in Q4 of 2005, just in time for Christmas, sales of all things 360 have been brisk and solid giving them the number 2 position of the video game console wars handily. The 360 had almost a full year before the Wii or PS3 debut cementing itself at the front runner to beat and establishing a great library before the others had a chance to get to market.

 

History of the Playstation 3 - The PS3 is Sony's 3rd offering of a video game console, with the success of the first two a third was destined. It succeeded the PS2 which is still the number 1 video game console of all time, needless to say it had some pretty big shoes to fill. It was long wait for Sony fans for the PS3. They had to stand by and watch the next generation of video games in the Xbox 360 roll out while they were stuck with their old tech PS2 systems, only with promises of an Xbox killer on the way. Many fans could not stand the wait and flocked to Xbox 360 in mass, many others were totally turned off by the price tag of $699 at it's release. While Sony did live up to it's promise, the PS3 does beat the 360 in every measurable sense technologically, Sony quickly discovered it's not all about the what the system can do however. The PS3's release was marred with shortages and people fighting over what few systems stores received, muggings were also high as folks were fleeced for their cash as they camped out waiting for stores to open on launch day. Also systems made it to Ebay selling at over 10K because the shortages were that bad. To this day Sony has yet to make a profit on the PS3 hoping that in 2009 it will at least hit it's break even point.

 

The pros and the cons:

 

Xbox 360 pros:

Vast library of games

Standard DVD upconvert capable

Acclaimed online gaming experience

Configurations from $199 to $399 making it cheaper than it's competition (not considering the endless bundle packages)

Constantly has the most awards for games of any system

Excellent 3rd party support for terrific game title exclusives

Good warranty

Backwards compatible to original Xbox games

 

Xbox 360 cons:

Runs loud (as did the first Xbox)

The online gaming experience is a fee based service

High brick stats (DOA Xbox's) around 33% reported on early models

Backed the wrong horse in HD-DVD, no hi-def movie experience

Wi-fi addition is expensive and not included

Unique hard drives that are only used for the 360

HDMI cable only included in the Elite package

 

Playstation 3 pros:

Blu-Ray built in - Hi def next gen DVD's movies are easily playable on it

Bluetooth controllers

Wi-Fi built in

Beats the Xbox 360 in every technology category (at least on paper)

PS1 backwards compatible

Internet browser built in

Free online gaming experience

Six axis controllers

Can have 7 controllers to one system to the 360's four

Killer brick rate of only .33%

Can use any standard PC hard drive and is user replaceable, serious gamers can have any size hard drive they wish

Standard USB capable

 

Playstation 3 cons:

Library of games not near as deep as Xbox 360 even still

Still pricey at $399 for the 80gb model and $499 for the 160gb model

HDMI cable not included

Not PS2 compatible, Blu-Ray cannot support the DVD format of the PS2

Game developers not using the full system specs to it's fullest, instead opting to produce games for the 360 and their specs and just porting (copying) them to the PS3.

 

Formats:

 

As I noted, the PS3 uses Blu-Ray discs and the XBox 360 uses standard DVD format. The Blu-Ray disc is capable of holding up to 50gb of information compared to the standard DVD's 8.5gb when comparing dual layers discs. That alone should make the PS3 a "no brainer" but as I noted in the pros and cons, the game developers are designing the games on the 360 and porting them to the PS3. That means all that extra space in Blu-Ray discs as of right now is wasted. The obvious other factor on formats is the movie playing capability. If you have aspirations of going hi-def for movies, the PS3 might be for you just on this alone. However it should be noted since the end of the format wars with HD-DVD going the way of the Beta, Blu-Ray stand alone players have come down a lot in price and now ring in a lot cheaper than a PS3. The 360 does have upconvert technology meaning it can convert the standard DVD to hi-def ranges in 720p and 1080i. For the true 1080p hi-def experience though you have to look to Blu-Ray. Also there has been a lot of rumors of a Blu-Ray disc add on possibly coming for the 360, MS has denied it and killed the rumors many times now, frankly I believe MS. I don't think they are interested in helping Sony with their pet format as the hi-def movie option is not a big value added benefit in many gamers minds. MS seems to be heading more into the downloadable video game and movie content anyhow.

 

The nuts and bolts:

 

I won't bore you with the numbers of the systems like clock speeds and cache. Take my word for it, the PS3 beats the 360 in all areas here. Once again though, the game developers are not taking full advantage of the capabilities of the PS3 instead opting to port the games over they design for the 360. That is a lot of untapped potential in the PS3 and very few games for the PS3 break into "beyond 360" territory. Metal Gear 4 and the new Final Fantasy are the only ones that leap to mind. While the 360 has pretty much maxed out, the PS3 does have a lot more potential to go a lot further. The question is, will it ever? As for why the developers are doing this, it is a 3 headed monster. The first head is the 360 had a long time to market before the PS3 debut, developers opted to make money now, plus as I understand it, it is much easier to design a game on the 360 than it is on the PS3. The second head is MS's relationship with the developers, don't ever underestimate the PC games and the relationships MS has forged over the years. Developers want to make money, and lots of it. With MS they have made money hand over fist on PC and now Xbox. 3rd was Sony's ego, they expected the developers to cater to them not taking into account their wishes and design needs, nor the challenges they would face in game design.

 

Online gaming:

 

Microsoft is a fee based service and Sony's is free. However you can search the net and you will not find anyone who thinks the Sony's online service is superior to that of Microsoft's. In fact Sony's online service while free, gets pretty low marks as of the time of this writing. To get the most out of the service for MS the fee is around $50 to $60 per year, forgive me, I don't have the exact price in front of me. If online gaming is very important to you, you may want to just go 360 based on this alone.

 

System and game prices:

 

While on paper it looks like the 360 wins the system price easily, all is not what it seems. With the PS3 you get a lot more bang for you buck out of the box than the 360. Comparing apples to oranges, the 60gb Xbox 360 is $299, the base PS3 is $399 and you get a 80gb hard drive. Also for the extra $100 dollars you get a Blu-Ray player, wi-fi built in to connect online and to the online game service, and free online game service. This is on top of the console and Six-axis controller. With the 360 you get a 60gb hard drive, console, and controller. If you need a wi-fi adapter it is $100 bucks, if you want the online gaming experience it is another $50 or $60 bucks on top of that. This does not include the cost of accessories like headsets, controllers, remotes, and headsets which generally cost more for Xbox 360. If you just need a video game system and can skip the online stuff you may want to go with the 360 just based on price.

 

Looking past the doo-dads and extras:

 

Let's talk about what these things are supposed to be.... A video game console. Put in disc, play disc, spend countless hours having fun. It is hard to argue that based solely on being a video game player that the 360 has more games, higher rated games, and is arguably the better video game console based solely on it's game library. While the PS3 does have some notables, the Xbox simply has more, as well as more exclusive titles than PS3. Both have an impressive array of titles though but Xbox 360 has more, as well as more releases per year. Gone are the days of the legacy franchises, this means those lovable titles like Tomb Raider, Metal Gear, Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Zelda, etc... are all falling by the wayside. While they do have titles on the new systems, they are not selling like expected and no longer will you see 2-4 new franchise games per new generation console. One at best. This means if you want to buy a PS3 based solely on the Metal Gear or Tomb Raider franchise, don't. What you see now is what you get and will only get until the next generation console. Also as I understand it, the Metal Gear franchise is now completed and 4 was the final title in the series, I may be wrong on that and if I am not, plans always can change.

 

Into the future:

 

As I noted the 360 has pretty much reached it's limits, the PS3 has a lot more to go that is untapped. Whether or not the game developers choose to begin tapping into that remains to be seen, however after 2 years now they have not and it does not look like that will change any time soon. That is a pity. Also rumors are abound that Microsoft and Nintendo are hard at work on the next gen console to supersede the 360 and the Wii, both are expected sometime in 2011. These are just rumors for now so take it with a grain of salt. The PS3 was designed to be a 10 year platform which means we are coming into year 3, the rumor mill is Sony has tapped the game developers asking what they would like to see in the next gen console (something they should have done in the first place with the PS3) which means we may see the PS4 a lot sooner than the 10 year benchmark they set. Again, just a rumor.

 

My final conclusions:

 

Hardcore gamers, serious online gamers who spend more time interfacing with a headset and avatar than they do with their family, budget conscious casual gamers, and technological xenophobes may all be better served with the 360. At least as I have concluded. The PS3 is no slouch though, gamers on both systems much enjoy both systems. Those looking for a true entertainment console complete with movie downloads, music downloads, and wants to jump into Blu-Ray and hopes the developers will tap the abundance of excess potential the PS3 has will be best served with the PS3.

 

I was once told to never fall in love with someone for what they can be, only for what they are now. This does apply here I think. Right now the 360 is the better video game console, and the PS3 is the better full entertainment console. Make your decision based on these facts, not what might be.

 

A look at the available configurations:

 

Xbox 360:

 

Arcade - The base system at $199, no hard drive (which means no backwards compatibility with original Xbox titles, only a 256K card to save to. Perfect for the gamer who just wants simple and is just plays casually with a couple of games. You can always upgrade to a hard drive, wi-fi, and online stuff later if you wish.

 

Pro - The intermediate system at $299 with a 60gb hard drive. Great for the gamer who plans to do some online gaming, downloading, and will have a descent amount of games on hand.

 

Elite - The sleek black box bad boy of the line-up. The premium model with a 120gb hard drive, a black headset, and an HDMI cable thrown in for good measure. Price $399. This is for the serious gamer and online guy, or if you just really crave black.

 

 

Playstation 3:

 

80gb - The base system but far from an entry level machine. Price is $399 and includes a lot of bang for the buck like Blu-Ray, wi-fi, bluetooth, USB connectivity, and six-axis controller.

 

160gb - A waste in my opinion. All you get is double the hard drive space for an extra $100 bucks. Instead I would recommend you buy the 80gb version first, if you find you need more more hard drive space you can buy a standard PC hard drive of a much higher capacity for less and change it out yourself being the drive is user replaceable.

 

 

 

If you I have missed something, got something wrong, or have any input please feel free to post here. :)

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what is a brick rate? :CONFUS12:

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Man, you know your game systems. :thumb:

 

I have both at my house, well actually Wii too, partially the doings of a teenage son and partially a dad and mom who broke their teeth on Pong and have had every system since then. Most of them are probably still in a box around here somewhere even Atari.

 

Being very limited these days in what games I enjoy, mostly shooters (I prefer flight games on the computer), I much prefer the PS3 with its high tech features. That and a separate Blue Ray disc player is almost most of the cost of the system while unconverted DVD is dirt cheap. That pretty much means your best TV is going to be hooked up to the PS3 and a larger screen, high definition, and wireless sure comes in handy for multi-player different locations. Its sure nice to tell the kid to take the system to another room to play online with his buddies. :wink:

 

Tj

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Your breakdown is pretty accurate. I had a 360, but I took it back and got a PS3. Do I regret it? No. Because when I first had the 360, I had a SD tv and I got an HDTV which made me want the PS3 for blu ray.

 

I NEVER do online gaming with consoles, as a result the 360's Pros didn't really apply to me all that much. I tried online gaming with the 360 while I had it and the majority of the people online were people I did not desire to be around/hear while playing. 95% of everyone was a 14-year old with a potty mouth and that ruined the gaming experience for me.

 

If I play online games, I do them on my computer =)

 

As for the PS3, I got it mainly because of BluRay and secondly because of the exclusives...I'm a huge Metal Gear Solid fan as well as the Final Fantasy series. I rarely play games on it right now (playing World of Warcraft at the moment). We do however watch a lot of movies on it. Having a blu ray player and a cheap HDTV has kept us from seeing movies when they come out. We wait for them to come out on blu ray or on the Playstation store and just rent them. Tons cheaper then the theater and we can eat/watch whatever we want.

 

I'd LOVE to have a 360 as well as my PS3, but I simply can't justify the cost.

 

Nate

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what is a brick rate? :CONFUS12:

 

DOA Xbox's, aka "Dead on Arrival". Also Xbox's that die from various issues within the first few days of use.

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My PS3 is PS2 compatible. They just stopped making them backwards comp because of the cost. It has nothing to do with the disk drive.

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My PS3 is PS2 compatible. They just stopped making them backwards comp because of the cost. It has nothing to do with the disk drive.

 

 

Same here.

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DOA Xbox's, aka "Dead on Arrival". Also Xbox's that die from various issues within the first few days of use.

 

ahhhh! mine has the red ring of death after a few months... bought a ps3 and havent looked back...

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lol could've saved you a tonne of time if you hadda asked Me, the PS3 beats the XBox in sales to Military personnel by I'd hazard about 5 to 1, we're the true hardcore gamers lol

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DOA Xbox's, aka "Dead on Arrival". Also Xbox's that die from various issues within the first few days of use.

 

Well about half my son's buddies keep fans blowing on their Xboxs. :laugh:

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Well about half my son's buddies keep fans blowing on their Xboxs. :laugh:

 

That does seem to be a problem for the Xbox, it's like an intercooled engine sitting at a light for a long time. :laugh:

 

Plus the power supply pack is a brick for the Xbox. You might be able to roast marshmallows with it.

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Nice write up!

 

I'll throw in my vote for the PS3...I have the 80GB version and it is also PS2 Back compatible. I've played 360 and really wasn't impressed, I'll stick with Playstation even into the PS4 launch!

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5 360's in 2 years, one RROD. Replaced as new within 10 days. The other 4 have no issues. No problem with the PS3 however i do not support Sony, so alas I will never know.........................................

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I debated this issue for months. When I finally switched from SDtv to HDtv, the choice was fairly simple. Buy a system that does everything pretty well, or buy a system that does just one thing pretty well. Do I miss some of the games I could be playing? Yes. Would I change because of a $50 game...No. I believe that the system I chose for my family fits and more will be coming in the future. I'll leave it to you to decide which one we have :nt:

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If the economy forces a certain company or companies to lower prices on high def movies, I might change my opinion...................................................

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