Friday, April 1, 2011

Geek Rant Topic 15: The Playstation 360

When all else fails, you call Mousa The 14, that one ranting geek

This was a compare and contrast essay I wrote for my writing class. We had to do this based on what we knew with little to know in-depth research so it's about as opinionated and intricate as my usual geek rants

The Playstation 360

In today’s entertainment market, Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony dominate the interactive entertainment medium, with Macintosh’s i-devices rapidly cornering the handheld market. Now, if one was interested in owning a home video game console, they need to weigh the positives and negatives of their options heavily because the current generation of home consoles is frightfully expensive and once you make your choice, you’re virtually stuck with it. The current popular choice is the Nintendo Wii due to its appeal to people who only play games casually on a basis similar to say, reading for fun or movie watching.

I believe common consumer with less gaming finesse would jump on the Nintendo console first, which leaves Nintendo’s competitors in the metaphorical dust. Due to a personal bias towards Nintendo I find it would be too easy to compare its Gaming consoles to its competitors and persuade my reader to purchase a Nintendo Wii. However, Microsoft’s Xbox360 (The 360 for short), and Sony’s Playstation 3 (PS3), are the most similar to one another in the current generation’s console wars and deserve the most analysis. Furthermore, at this point almost everybody and their grandmother literally own a Nintendo Wii, or is friends with someone who does own one. A comparison of the competitors will give those testing the waters for a new console something to think about and will shed some light on why these two seemingly identical video game consoles are no quite the same.

It’s very easy to lump the 360 and the PS3 together that many deeper in the gamer community refer to them affectionately as the PS360. After a majority of the third party game developers abandoned Nintendo In the mid 90’s they were essentially free agents and their games would platform between The Sony consoles and later the Microsoft consoles which means a large number of the Microsoft and Sony’s games libraries are similar. Both consoles also heavily emphasize high definition visuals and purporting superior graphical detail and polish to their games. Sony and Microsoft also have more mature/less family oriented games and attempted to appeal to their core gaming market before they saw how much money Nintendo made off of being more family friendly than before. Also, both consoles had release prices far higher than the Wii with the basic 360 at $400 and the basic PS3 at $500, and these prices went up by another hundred if you wanted more memory to store your games.

With all that they PS3 and the 360 have in common, it’s almost imperative to separate the two properly. One with obsessive and intimate knowledge of the two consoles could probably list every design spec that separates the two, right down to comparing their RAM manufacturers. However, this is about common consumer’s view; therefore the comparisons shall be broken down into three categories: Console exclusives, Design, what more they can do for you besides play games, and all the downsides which shall be sprinkle throughout the former categories.

Because video games are not a universal medium like television or il, looking at what makes a video game console unique is very important. In terms of game exclusives, the PS3 has a lot. As a console from a Japan based company, the PS3 has a large amount of games based off of anime (Japanese cartoons) which can be great for someone who enjoys anime or have children that do. The PS3’s largest number of game exclusives are the Japanese-style role playing games (JRPGs) which are, at the bare minimum, TV shows with gameplay separating the main plot points with a game style that requires more repetition and patience rather than good reflexes and hand-to-eye coordination. This is perfect for anyone who wants to play a game casually or are more interested in a story than they are in game play. The 360 is known as the leading purveyor of the well known and controversial First Person Shooter genre (FPS). The FPS genre consists primarily of games that are community and multi-player oriented but appeal primarily to people who are interested in skill and reflex games, or young males with a of high school to college age with a taste for playing war heroes or action movie heroes with a love for firearms. If any of the above descriptors apply to you then know that buying a 360 means supporting an American company, Microsoft.

Another exclusivity aspect to consider is the 360 and PS3’s motion sensing systems. After the popularity and financial success of the Nintendo Wii, Sony and Microsoft created motion sensing supplements to cash in on the family friendly party game crowd. The PS3 and 360’s motion sensing controller systems are more precise than the Wii’s, but because they are supplements and don’t come with the console, they increase the price for access to a relatively small library of motion control based games. However the market is growing of course and the library shall also grow. Between the PS3 and the 360, the PS3’s motion sensing system is the most expensive. In order for the system to be effective you must by the motion sensing wand and its navigation supplement as well as the camera to read the movements (Some single player games even require you to have two wands.). Traditionally, if one is getting a motion sensing game they are getting party games or family games which require more controllers which increases the price significantly, making the overall package more expensive than the already pricey 360’s motion sensing camera the Kinect. After the price, personal preference is all that matters. The PS3 uses physical controllers which are easy to use to navigate and people more used to having something tangible to hold on to will be more comfortable with that. The Kinect, with its innovative little motion sensing camera reads your entire body perfectly and allows you to flawlessly lay dance games. With a few more years the innovations and immersive games to come out for the 30’s Kinect will be vast and varied and unique.

Speaking of varied and unique, the PS3 and the 360 both look very different and one may want to consider aesthetics when buying one. The two consoles are both large and unwieldy and bear resemblance to a VCR, especially if you get the 360 in black rather than its standard white. The PS3 only comes in one color, which would be black. The design choices are more likely due to a desire to have the consoles look natural right beside your DVD player and television. The 360 has a natural box-like look that looks perfectly natural right beside a home theater; however the PS3, even in its slimmer form, has an odd curved top that can be off-putting to some. And for even more minute details to consider, when on, the 360 has a light green glow and the 360 has a deep blue glow.

While color is important, one is going to be playing games with a controller, which is traditionally a rectangular block of plastic with two handles and generally a multitude of buttons exclusive to each console. The 360 attempted to break out of this mold with a more wedge shaped and smooth controller that many have complained were not designed for human hands. It can also be difficult to figure out, for the 360 controller’s shoulder buttons are called the left and right “Button” and “Trigger” which can be confusing to figure out. The PS3’s system is easier; naming their shoulder button left 1 and 2 and right 1 and 2. However, the PS3’s analog sticks which are usually used to move characters around tragically are buttons of their own (Left and Right 3) which is very easy to forget and sometimes they can be pressed by accident, leading to unintentional in-game actions. Nevertheless, with its traditionally prominent two handles, the PS3 is easy to handle and has not changed since the PS1 meaning if you owned the original Playstation or the PS2, you’ll have familiarity on your side.

The Playstation 3 and he Xbox 360 are known for being more than just game consoles though. Both have the honor of being DVD players, Netflix streamers, Facebook updaters, twitter feeds, video chat systems, and internet browsers, though the PS3 is also Blue Ray player as well if you are interested in that format over standard DVD. While both have internet access, the 360 is at a disadvantage because you have a pay a subscription in order to use their internet access while the PS3 does this all for free. Additionally, the PS3 and 360 have online stores filled with cheap and easy games made primarily by small individual developers that are harmless to buy, similar to the app store for the iPhone. To be honest, in this argument the PS3 is the better choice and I believe in the end, the ultimate decision will be based on personal preference and what one wants out of their gaming console. The Platstation 3 has a lot more going for it in terms of features and games, but with the release of the Kinect the Xbox 360 has the most potential but is also the most costly.

-Good Bye, Good Luck, and Imagination is Your Greatest Power
Mousa the 14

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