Unlike greedy Microsoft, Sony didn't rush the development of their next generation gaming entertainment system. The PS2, which (to put it simply) revolutionised the gaming world, was released back in October 2000 (US) and shortly afterwards in Europe in November. The Xbox was Microsoft's venture into the console industry. Released in March 2002, the Xbox was intended to be the main competition in a market dominated by Sony. Yes, the Xbox had a more powerful processor, taken that in the 2 year gap certain advancements were made in computer processing, but where it had an advantage in power, it lost out in titles. With the exception of Halo and possibly a few other games, the Xbox couldn't contend with the already impressive and well established PS2 range of titles.
Unsatisfied by the lack of dominance of the Xbox, Microsoft pushed into production the Xbox 360, released in May 2005. Only 3 years after the initial Xbox release. Being a 7th generation console, obviously the 360 had a FAR more powerful processing system than the PS2, but there was still one problem with the market. With the exception of titles such as Halo 2 and Gears of War, both the 360 and the PS2 shared many titles, which begged the question: "If the 360 is so much better, why are the same games being released on PS2?" It wasn't as though the 360 games differed from Playstation at all. In fact, they were identical. Now of course, the 360 had many new features which didn't come with the PS2 such as Wireless controllers, Internet Browsing and improved online play. But neither were these features beyond Sony either. The Sony online gaming network improved greatly and wireless custom controllers could be purchased.
The PS3 was unveiled at E3, 3 days after the 360 was released. The time and money that went into the development of Sony's 7th generation console (as opposed to Microsoft's 3 years between the original and the 360) showed off to the world why Sony is still top. Although I've stated that there was a 3 year gap between systems, the actual concept of the 360 began in 2003, shortly after it was evident that the original Xbox was not competing to expectations.
What is different between the PS3 and its predecessor? Like the 360, the PS3 now features wireless controllers as standard, but not only that, it can accomodate up to 7 controllers at once. But Sony didn't stop there. The controllers have a built in 'SIXAXIS' technology, aka, the controller can move in 6 different axes which affect gameplay (more on this later). The console itself is obviously quite larger than the PS2, but also looks better, i.e. it has lost the 'blocky' look completely. Also thrown in the package is a 60GB hard drive, for storing films, music, pictures and any downloaded game content. Like the PS2, the PS3 is designed to be backward compatible with all previous titles. Currently, the system is at the 1.60 version, and not all PS2 titles are compatible, but with new updates on the horizon, the list of compatible games will only grow longer. Keeping in touch with games at the moment, perhaps now is a good point to address a very evident issue regarding the 360, the Wii and the PS3.
When you examine the list of titles available for each system, their is a very evident difference which no doubt explains the "success" of each console.
Taking the Wii firstly, its games are most certainly centered on 'group games'. Not that this is a negative thing at all. In fact most games are most enjoyed in groups. The only issue here with the Wii (and I'm not getting into the Wii's lack of gaming power in comparison to the 360 and PS3) is that you really need a fairly decent sized TV to play it properly. And when I say decent I'm talking in the big region here. The Wii, unlike the other two, isn't suitable for bedroom TV's like my run of the mill 12" screen. In with that then is the fact that there are very few games for the Wii, save perhaps Zelda, that accomodate the older gamer and can be enjoyed by oneself. Not that I don't enjoy Mario or anything like that, but the odd time you do tend to feel like blowing the heads of a few Nazis, chopping up droids with a lightsaber, or dancing with the Playboy babes (not that I have that game, but you get the point).
Then we have the 360. Most definitely aimed at the older gamer, with many titles running in the 15/18 cert. Much influence is placed on online gaming which is unsuitable for younger players, but the older gamers will agree that it is nowadays the only way to play a game. As I mentioned above, the 360 accomodates the average TV better than the Wii, and has a wide range of titles which one can play by him/herself in their room.
The PS3 strays more to the 360 aspect of things, but also makes an effort to provide for younger gamers. But this has always been the policy right back to the PSOne. Where the Wii focuses on how you play the game, both the 360 and the PS3 focus more on realism and gaming quality, with the PS3 venturing into Wii areas with the new SIXAXIS controllers. Sony are also now putting much emphasis on online gaming, with the two big titles which I own (Call of Duty 3 and Resistance: Fall of Man) being the two fore runners. Like the 360, the PS3 accomodates normal televisions, but the PS3 is also the first console to provide HD readiness, with the new Blu-Ray discs. For those of you who don't know Blu-Ray is like HD DVDs.
Ultimately as far as processing power goes, it is very difficult to draw a line between the 360 and the PS3. The only thing perhaps is the load times, which I found to be much faster on the Sony system. Where you can draw the line is in the games. As I mentioned earlier, the 360 shared many titles with the PS2, with games like Halo being Xbox only. The PS3 has similar titles like Tekken and Ridge Racer and the new Resistance: Fall of Man. But it is when you find out that titles such as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and Final Fantasy XIII will be PS3 only that wins you over. Sure we will have GTA: IV on both systems, and rumoured differences in gameplay between the two versions, where you will have to download content such as more maps and missions for PS3 and more online content for Xbox 360. But when you have MGS4 and Final Fantasy all to yourself, you can't go wrong.
A final brief note on the two PS3 games I currently have in my possession. As I said, in comparison to the 360 it is hard to draw a line, but the gameplay certainly feels better with the new controllers. Only in COD3 can you swing your controller to the left to smack a Nazi in the head with the butt of your rifle, knock him to the ground, then put a bullet in him to be sure. Th SIXAXIS controller also has a feature where an enemy may jump on you, and you have to swing the controller violently from left to right in order to over power him before you floor him and give him a quick bullet to the head. Resistance has a similar aspect, where the Chimeran troops will leap on you and start eating away at you, shaking the controller up and down throws them off and smacks them with your weapon.
It will only be with the arrival of flight and sports games that we will see the full potential of the SIXAXIS.
Expect more gaming blogs as next time I'll begin working my way through the greatest games of all time and why they're that damn great!!!
Is this Living?