Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Xbox 360's, PS3's, and fanboyisms

I'm severely disappointed in PSM. Of course they are biased, but that is their own fault. "Xbox 360 vs PS3: The Truth" was a cover story that just sounds bad. In a previous issue, I read a letter-to-the-editor response that actually was truthful. It said that it comes down to the games, and don't buy a system because of tech specs; buy it because it has the games you want. Then they turn around and bash the Xbox 360 and everything it stands for in this issue. Disgusting.

Okay okay. So the PS3 (as "reported") will have more "raw power" as they call it. Seriously, power is a non-issue at this point. It was a non-issue for the PS2 just like it will be a non-issue for the Xbox 360. The difference is that the PS3 will NOT be double the power of the 360 like the Xbox was to the PS2. However, Sony will market their damnedest to make sure you think otherwise. As a computer expert, I can tell you that you should be wary of Cell processor claims. Don't forget that Athlon processor performance in the past has been able to meet or exceed Pentium processor performance, and Athlons actually run at a slower clock speeds! Don't bother being too impressed with tech specs, as they have no bearing on how great a game will be on the system. Everyone seems to be so in-love with graphics that they are forgetting the actual game is much more important. Remember why the original Doom was so popular? It sure as hell wasn't the graphics. Anyway, I'm not saying that the 360 is crippled by any means. It's likely more powerful than your PC. A tri-core processor is plenty to get us through the next several years.

Did I mention that Apple turned their nose at the Cell processor? You may think that "Macintosh sucks" because you've never seen the power of a G5. They really put PCs to shame in processing and graphics, but PCs are commonplace. If you like Halo, keep in mind it was originally slated for a Mac.

Back to Sony vs Microsoft: Aesthetics will play a small role as well. I've noticed there are many gamers that have decided to dismiss Nintendo just because they came out with a "different" controller. No one seems to be complaining about Sony's boomerang controller. Their dual-shock design is out-dated, and no longer the most comfortable. The controller is the same except for it's ridiculous shape. And the console itself is really a monstrosity in comparison to the looks tacky...jagged and desperate for attention.

Next they are trash-talking game development, and options. Developers haven't been so PS3-happy according to non-biased articles I've read so far. Sony will make better tools out of necessity, but their architecture will still be difficult to deal with. Then comes the question: Will DVD9 be enough? It will be faster than Bluray for sure. Developers would love more space, but that doesn't mean they need it. Compression works wonders, and you can bet that Microsoft will deploy a compression so more can be squeezed into a DVD9. Otherwise, they can always release a HD-DVD drive replacement.

Online gaming? If Sony's website is any reflection of how their online service will be, then be prepared to be disappointed. They still don't plan on having a unified service, which means it could be haphazard and a waste of time like it is when taking the PS2 or the Gamecube online.

With everything I've said put aside, it truly doesn't matter which system is "more powerful". It now comes down to which provides a better overall experience, and the games consumers want to play. Sony doesn't seem to want to bring anything new other than hardware, and this is where Microsoft and Nintendo have the right idea. Sony is giving the impression now that they are essentially just trying to catch up with the idea of a "complete experience". Fall for the hype if you must, but don't discredit Microsoft or Nintendo just because Sony says so.

I know I will have to buy a PS3 for certain games, but I don't feel any rush. I've been enjoying the Xbox for some time and now the 360. Want to know what I'm doing with my PS2's? Cutting them up for fun. Adding a hard drive to a PS2 although it's not that useful.

Sony also needs to be concerned about the older audience. They are not as easily swayed as the kids. Apparently, the average gamer age is much higher than it used to be.