Make the Case Editorial:
Monday: Why 360 is a success - Tuesday: PS3 is a failure
Thursday: Why 360 is a failure - Friday: PS3 is a success
This ends Gaming Target's week long discussion of the successes and failures of Xbox 360 and PS3 as we see them in 2009. We've gotten a lot of responses; a lot of sites calling us biased against PS3 in the beginning of the week because we started with the success of Xbox 360 and the failures of PS3. The latter half of the week is proving to inspire the opposite reactions. I hope that our analysis, now that it can be seen in full, will show that Gaming Target has been fair, but I also hope this continues to spark the debate. This console generation is far from over.
Bernie Stolar, the former Sega of America COO, once promised that the Dreamcast would include a 56K modem ?out of the box.? Without it, would anyone have bought it separately just to try online gaming on the Dreamcast?
PS3? stands for 3x as much in the box
The PlayStation 3's biggest advantage is not just its high-def Blu-Ray player; it's that Sony included everything you could want from a video game console inside the box. For example, if you want to access the Internet on Xbox 360 without the hassle of a wired connection, you have to pay Microsoft's $99 ransom for a separate wireless adapter. Sony included one inside the system. You don't have to even see the wireless receiver, never mind buy it. Likewise, Xbox 360 and Wii offer wireless controllers that support
rechargeable battery accessories, but those come separately, too. If we're already paying between $40 and $60 for a controller, we don't want to buy a $30 rechargeable battery pack kit. In PS3's case? It comes built into the wireless controller for maximum convenience. Again you don't see it, and you don't have to worry about buying it.
PS3 is slick and convenient out of the box.
Tough economy? PSN is free; XBL is $50
Now, how about slick, convenient and free? That should be the motto of the PlayStation Network, which doesn't cost you a dime in these tough economic times. Xbox Live costs $50 a year, while the Wii's Friend Code method is free, but terrible. PS3 takes the best of both worlds by offering quality online gaming without charging you a yearly subscription. With the beta version of Home launched and Trophies to rival Xbox 360's Achievements, the PlayStation Network is finally catching up to everything that Xbox 360 offers (except the $50 admission fee).
The PlayStation 3 is also a developer's playground because it contains a hard drive in every model
and is more open-ended when it comes to Marketplace rules. As I pointed out in "Why Xbox 360 is the most Unreliable Console
," Capcom had issues with the file size limit of Super Street Fighter II Turbo Remix HD
. While those issues were resolved with Microsoft's eventual intervention, the fact that the 360 only comes with a small memory card in Xbox 360 Arcade models puts a rather low ceiling on developers. A good example as to why the Marketplace of PS3 is more open-ended, take Unreal Tournament 3
. Midway and Epic released this game on PS3 more than six months before the Xbox 360 version, which doesn't include any user-generated content.
It's not just certified developers having an easy time dealing with Sony's machine, either. Gamers at home can customize their own XMB interface themes down to the icons, while Xbox 360 owners have to purchase new ?backgrounds? from the Marketplace. A lot of these so-called themes are more like advertisements, too. Why am I being offered to spend my money on terrible 7UP and Dr. Pepper backgrounds when what I want is to customize my own NXE menus with my own artwork for free? This whole ?selling gamers the privilege to download what we tell them? attitude is akin to Apple, which wants to resell the $.99 songs you bought from iTunes to you in the form of a ringtone for an extra $.99.
soup wireless for you
Microsoft's proprietary wireless technology has been a hassle for both game developers and gamers at home. For developers: Guitar Hero didn't offer a wireless guitar when Guitar Hero II
debuted on the console because Microsoft reportedly refused to share its wireless technology with RedOctane. It's kind of ridiculous when the hottest-selling third-party video game franchise has to be tethered to the Xbox 360, while gamers could roam free while rocking out on the last-generation PS2.
For gamers: Lots of Xbox 360 owners are early adopters of all sorts of newfangled technology including, say, Bluetooth headsets for cell phones. While the wired headset that comes with the Xbox 360 works fine, everyone would prefer a wireless version, so why not hook up your phone's Bluetooth with the system, just like you can with PS3? Oh, that's right, you have to buy Microsoft's wireless headset if you want to cut the cord.
The fair comparison
The Xbox 360 Pro SKU at $299 and the PS3 80 GB SKU at $399 are a fair comparison because they're the cheapest models that contain everything you need to be a gamer. At first the Xbox 360 version seems like the cheaper of the two, but not when you add on the $99 wireless adapter, $50 Xbox Live subscription, a $60 wireless headset, a $30 for a controller quick charge kit and however much you plan to spend on ?custom? themes. Xbox 360 ends up being the more expensive console, and in these tough economic times, no matter how many third-party exclusives Microsoft bought in the past, people are going to purchase the system that gives them the most bang for their buck. PlayStation 3 is that system, as supported by the reasons above, and I didn't even have to drag the exhausted arguments ?Blu-Ray? or ?eventual price cut? into the list of reasons.