Friday, April 21, 2006

Response to PS3 Fanboy #3

I think the fanboy label is a bit more fair. I do refer to myself as previously being one (I guess I could be a MicroNinty-fanboy now?). I get frustrated when I get comments that essentially ignore what I said. It doesn't help that I'm usually on a break at work when I write some of these things.

Although I think this comment is a tangent from the original point (Sony providing unnecessary features in the PS3), some fair questions where asked. Here we go:

From a level-headed PS3 fanboy:

I find it funny you call everyone that disagrees with you an idiot, or a "regurgitator". Maybe you haven't really covered all the points you think you have (or you have, but incorrectly). Why do you recommend people not using "artefact" if it is valid? Just because you don't like it? And you call yourself level-headed?

Disagreeing isn't the problem I have. The 3 hints I listed in a previous post should cover my problems with the attempted "arguments". I say regurgitation because I've read and watched interviews with Sony reps. They say something, and the fanboys keep spitting it out over and over again (Bluray, 1080p, 1000Mbps, etc).

A reoccuring side thought: When do those reps ever talk about gaming nowadays? Kutaragi seems more interested in convincing people that the PS3 is a mini nuclear power plant.

Another problem is that many of the Sony-fanboy comments I get make it way too obvious that the person doesn't actually own an Xbox and PS2. It's hard for me to believe someone could own both and still praise the PS2 left and right. Before I owned both, I sounded like you guys. The Xbox isn't that great...the controller isn't that much better. Then a friend left his at my house for a month. Being able to play the Xbox regularly, having a blast with the Gamecube, and dealing with broken PS2s all the time, dropped a train on my Sony fanboyisms.

As for "artifact":

"British writers usually spell it as 'artefact', while American usually prefer 'artifact'." He was arguing with an American, so what I meant was, I wouldn't recomend using that version (consider the audience, remember?). Besides, it sounds like "artifact" has been commonplace for over 80 years. Just because it is valid, doesn't mean it's the best choice for the situation.

Anyway, here's a thought provoking comment for you:

On innovation, we all know that Nintendo is king. There's little need to mention their deeds.

You're right. I have no qualms with this statement.

Sony innovated on making the industry well respected, mature, more widespread, use high storage media, backwards compatibility on consoles, cuadruple triggers, dual analogues, dual force feedback (on this one I'm not sure since they were sued, but they did were the first to use this kind of device inside a controller, improving upon Ninty's idea), and movie playback on consoles.

I wouldn't give them credit for some of the controller. They aren't responsible for the technologies in them. However, we can give them credit for having the BEST D-PADS EVER. Dual Analogs was a good idea (for whoever came up with it), but the placement of them on the dualshock isn't going to last; it's no good for a lot of the new games coming out (uncomfortable!).

As far as movie playback, how did that benefit gaming? That was just an added perk. It didn't innovate anything for gaming at all. Personally, I found it as a bonus, but it didn't influence my decision to buy. After using it, I was disappointed to find that the DVD playback was very subpar. The controls were no good (even with a remote), and the decoding was occasionally sketchy. I already had a "portable" Sony DVD player anyway.

Now, the only thing I've seen Microsoft innovate on (and not their subsidiaries like Bungie, Rare, Lionhead, among others), is a Hard Drive (which is not even a standard on 360), and LIVE, which costs, and isn't as revolutionary, at least at first sight, but assuming it is... what's next on innovation from Microsoft? What else could they do? Do you really see them improving upon gameplay or amount of content or a better controller? Hell, I don't expect Xbox 720 to be much different, except supporting 1080p, maybe Blu-ray or HD-DVD, an incrementally better LIVE service and an incrementally sleeker design. What else do you think on the innovation front? Do you disagree with what I said above? If yes, why?

As far as the Xbox is concerned, Microsoft should be praised for actually making all of the features work and be useful. Sega failed at getting people online. Sony only partially offered it. Sony tried a hard drive, but quickly dropped support for it.

With the Xbox, you got a system that could play custom tracks, easily get online (and a good chunk of games had some type of online feature), played games in HD, and utitilized a hard drive not only for media storage, but for caching in order to decrease the painful loading times associated with the PS2 (Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex.....I swear that game takes 5 minutes to get moving after you press start). And finally, it maximized the idea of multiplayer. Between the 4 controller ports, system link, and XBL...there were all kinds of options of getting together with people and playing a game.

If the consumer would have allowed it, the Xbox could have been a Next Generation console to the PS2, Gamecube, and Dreamcast. It was over twice as powerful as the PS2, already supported HD, and it had a solid online service. The games that look "great" for PS2 now are pushing it's limits. The equivalents of those games on Xbox aren't pushing its limits. There was a lot of room for the Xbox to grow, but the PS2 was in the way.

Live deserves more credit than it gets from Sony fanboys. Getting such a solid network that could support large multiplayer games with voice was a great feat. They got a lot of gamers online because of it as well. Sony on the otherhand, has not accomplished that. They say they have a lot of "online users with the PS2", but they are most likely counting people that signed up and maybe tried it a handful of times or less (like me). It's like when they only report PSPs shipped, but not PSPs sold. Anyway, after Live, the free Sony online wasn't worth the time of day.

As far as the 360 goes, there is PLENTY of innovation there. The blade interface is near perfect. Compare it to the PS2's interface, where a lot of owners don't even know there are important options on the opening screen (by pressing triangle). The Gamecube's interface was kind of cool, but not very useful. The original Xbox's interface was good, but not great.

Anyone I've let try out my 360 has figured out the interface quickly (without my help). As a programmer, I know how important this is. If the user can't get to what they want quickly and easily, then it doesn't matter what your program is capable of.

The Achievements and Gamerscore are also new. Coupled with the gamercard and leaderboards, it created an instant community of gamers who could find similar interests with each other. Even just the achievements alone increased replay value of games by a large amount. And this can be done with the free Silver account even (although a few achievements involve playing with others).

Replay value is actually the strongest point for the Xbox and 360 in my opinion. Sure, the PS2 has a million games for it, but a lot of those aren't good enough for more than a rental period. There are some great games in there, but even those lack replay value. With the Xbox and/or Xbox 360 coupled with Live, you can get the most out of a game. I've gotten more hours out of several Xbox games than the few dozen of PS2 games I've purchased over the years. That says a lot.

As for 1080p, we'll need to wait until the next generation for both consoles to get native support. Sure, the PS3 supports it, but it can't be reliably done natively in conjunction with the next-gen graphics. All developers are going to optimize for 720p for both systems, and just let the unit upscale. It's just more realistic. Besides, the difference between 720p and 1080i/p isn't as big as most people think.

As far as the hard drive, see a couple posts back when I talk about the Sega Genesis add-ons and storage options for the PS3 and Revolution.

I think that covers your questions.


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