Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Big Dog Falls to the Back of the Pack.

According to numerous sources Sony has fallen to the number 3 spot in the console wars. The Wii came in at #1, X-box 360 at #2 and the PS3 is trudging along in third place. The do it all PSP is falling behind the DS and even the iPhone in sales. I never really considered the iPhone a handheld gaming machine, but I guess I was wrong.

Despite having the superior hardware in both the console and handheld markets (at least when comparing the PSP to the DS), Sony just can't over take the competition. Some claim that the lack of exclusive games, as most such as GTA IV and FF XIII are/will be available on both Microsoft's and Sony's machines. Plus both franchises have games that are or will soon be released on both the DS and PSP. No one seems willing to make exclusive games anymore, which makes sense to me. Why put all your eggs in one basket when you can double or triple sales by having your game on multiple consoles?

Many claim that lack of innovation is hurting Sony. Sure the PS3 packs more punch but no developers are really pushing the envelope and exploiting the potential of the machine. The video format wars seems to have cooled off and it looks like Blu-ray isn't as in demand as people thought it would be. Honestly I only know a few people that even have a HD TV so an HD gaming system or movie player just doesn't make sense to them. They simply don't care. After all a Blu-ray pretty much looks like any other DVD on a non-HD TV, so why bother shelling out for something that makes little to no difference in your life. The X-box and Wii are both cheaper and for hard core gamers the X-box has most of the same games. The Wii has innovative, though gimmicky, game play that kids, casual gamers and even grandma can enjoy. To make matters worse if you look around you can buy Blu-ray players and either an X-box 360 arcade (I wouldn't have one, but that's just me) or a Wii for the same or less than you can get a PS3. Besides if the rumors are true Blu-ray may be going the way of the Laser Disc from back in the 80's... remember those? Unless your as old as me, probably not.

Even though the DS can't touch the PSP in terms of power, it has a touch screen, which in turn make the device seem more advanced. The iPhone has a touch screen and it is "The Phone" to own, ergo the DS must be more advanced as well. Sure the PSP can render 3d graphics, play mp3s, movies, games, browse the internet, offer free internet radio, and act as a phone, but it doesn't have a touch screen... so it must be outdated. Plus it uses those loud and slow disc while the other one has those cute, silent little cards. At least that is how people not in the know look at it (i.e. grandparents and parents shopping for the kiddies).

So let us compare:
Wii- innovative game play, family friendly, affordable and it is from Nintendo... everyone loves Nintendo, internet browsing, some free online apps, Mii's, DS connectivity, backwards compatible with Game Cube (big plus especially in my household) and has a library of older games (nostalgia is a big selling point) that can be downloaded and played. From classic Mario to Animal Crossing, this system really does have something to offer every generation of gamer. Sure it isn't that powerful and the games are generally cartoonish, but damn some of them are fun.

X-box 360- 3 different versions to fit any budget, most of the same games as PS3( Final Fantasy on X-box!!!!), Halo, network gaming (though you do have to pay for the good stuff... yuck), it can connect to netflix (that's awesome), movies and shows available on the Microsoft Network, wireless controllers, internet connectivity (though you need a hard drive, and the wireless adapter is sold seperatedly, but you can use a LAN line), more powerful than the Wii, backwards compatibility with X-box ( big plus), connectivity with the Zune is coming soon (someone actually owns a Zune? Wow...).

PS3- most powerful system, even though they aren't exclusive anymore the big games are still on this system, free network play (though not as developed as on the X-box), can run Linux (that's cool), has wireless internet connectivity built in, Movies, games and shows available on the Playstation Network(most of which can then be transferred to your PSP), connectivity to the PSP (you can actually use your PSP to contact your PS3 from anywhere in the world if you have a wireless internet connection), no more backwards compatibility (that sucks!), wireless controllers, Blu-ray player, 2 different models (total of 5 if you count models that are no longer manufactured, but could be available on ebay) though the cheapest model is still as much as the most expensive X-box.

In our house we love our video games. We have several systems from previous generations, a Super NES, Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis, PS1, PS2, X-box, and a Game Cube. In the hand held department we each have a Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy SP, and Nintendo DS, while I alone have a PSP(that's because I'm the most awesomest!). BTW I love my PSP... it is my hand held system of choice and I take it nearly everywhere. At the behest of my significant other and our youngin', Santa brought a Wii into our happy gaming family. While I personally have only a mild interest in the system (I do like customizing Miis, bowling is kinda fun too), I can't decide which system to get next. In the past I made my decision based solely on Final Fantasy, Sony had it Microsoft didn't, easy choice. I can't do that now.

So now I am left with making my choice based on other criteria.
1. I love my PSP and the PS3 works with it...
2. X-box 360 will allow me to watch my netflix without my computer... man that rocks!
3. Both are capable of wireless internet, but I'd have to pay more to get the X-box up to par... which would make the 2 systems comparable in price in the end...(the Microsoft wireless adapter cost about $100, though I'm sure I can find someplace to save a few bucks), but I can always just run a LAN line under the floor to the TV room....additional cost ($0) because I already have the cable and router.
4. I want to play DC Universe online and Sony has free online play... YEAH!
5. I want to play Champions Online, but Microsoft charges for online play... that sux (additional costs).
6. PS3 plays Blu-ray... but I own too many DVD's to start replacing my entire collection... again! I've still got some VHS I haven't replace yet! Though it does play DVDs as well...
7. X-box also plays DVDs, at least I think it still does.
8. I can still play most of my old X-box games on the 360.
9. I can't play any of my PS2 games on the PS3... unless I track down an out of date model.
10. The red ring of death... is that problem taken care of yet?
11. All the negative press regarding the PS3 is troublesome.
12. Who really cares if either system plays DVDs... I have 3 DVD players, not to mention several computers that play DVDs in my house already. I want a kick ass gaming system!

As it stands right now I am heavily leaning towards an X-box 360, but man do I really want a PS3.... It just looks as if the 360 is the system to get at the moment. If some of the rumors I've heard are true, the PS3 and the PSP are in for a major overhaul in 09. So maybe it isn't the time to invest in Sony again, at least not yet.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Just want to wish everyone a prosperous New Year full of geeky fun.
May your comics be mint and your dice roll true.