Next Gen Console Review: You, Me, and PS3

Peter Suciu, a New York-based gaming writer, got his hands on both the Wii and the PS3 and will be posting live from the launch events this week. Here is his take on the next gen consoles that you crave.

Sony has won the last two rounds, but recently Atari founder Nolan Bushnell said he felt it was just a fluke, while others have said that Nintendo and SEGA were so focused on doing more of the same that Sony’s innovation is what made them the powerhouse that they are today. That said, Sony has also never managed to successfully introduce a format to the masses (Betamax, Mini-Disc, UMD), so Sony betting the farm on Blu-ray will either be a major coup or result Blu-ray becoming a non-starter, a dead end format supported only by the PS3.

Five things to love about the PS3:

1. The deluxe edition features a 60GB hard drive, HDMI outputs and Memory Stick, Mini SD, and Compact Flash card slots
2. $600 Blu-ray player!
3. Wireless controller
4. Excellent launch library that includes a mix of games, including 720p and 1080p titles!
5. Free online network for multiplayer games

10 things that don’t have us smiling about the PS3:

1. $600 for the deluxe edition, and confusion on whether the $500 version can be upgraded?
2. Trying to find one at retail. There are so few available that Sony even delayed the system’s launch in Europe until March!
3. The wireless controller is great, but the USB cable that allows for charges is way too short
4. There is only one controller included, and no HDMI cable either
5. Sony was kind enough to include a Blu-ray movie to show off the system… but they included “Talladega Nights,” starring Will Ferrell. Funny, but not quite the epic special effects bonanza that would have really shown off Blu-ray.
6. Needs firmware upgrade BEFORE you can play a game, and the firmware upgrade needs a broadband connection!
7. The controller makes a terrible remote control for movies
8. After the launch window the schedule of PS3 games looks a little iffy
9. The network isn’t as well defined as Xbox Live at this point
10. If Blu-ray falters where does that leave the PS3?

Verdict: As stated Sony won the last two rounds of the never-ending console wars, but Microsoft only entered the arena for Sony’s second go around. And that time Sony was the system with the year lead and Microsoft had to face off against Nintendo during its first holiday as a console manufacturer. This time around Sony is playing catch-up BUT also facing direct competition with a new system. The system is also facing shortages, and has a price point that isn’t exactly in everyone’s budget.
The games do look great, they sound great and they play great. But all these factors don’t always guarantee success (Hello, SEGA Dreamcast). So Sony has an uphill battle. If you have the chance to get a system, it is certainly worth the money. While the PS2 was a lousy DVD player, the PS3 is a fantastic Blu-ray player. The devices interface is reminiscent of the PSP, and this clearly shows that Sony is thinking of more than gaming. But Microsoft is also thinking out of the (X)box. Prepare yourselves for a battle royale.