Time to get serious, who deserves your hard earned dosh tucked into their underpants, Microsoft or Sony? So, let’s look at the pros and cons of what’s on offer and then I‘ll do my best to give you a personal judgement, it will be like an episode of Americas next top Hooker…
The Sony PS3, one fat momma when released but it has been to the gym and lost its big ass, hello sexy ‘Slim’! Its due for al pig out with a 250GB hard drive but it has mostly stayed the same as before from a functional perspective. It has lost the ability of backwards compatibility in disc format but will still support older games in the form of DLC, this may piss off fan boys with a PS2 library but to the general public it is pretty irrelevant. It has a Blue Ray player of reasonably good quality, internet browsing ability which is useful if you don’t have a PC, tissues sold separately. There is the broad Play Station Nation access for some tasty DLC movies and retro/arcade/PS2 games.
There is also the free avatar and multiplayer access and a ‘second life’ style game lobby environment called ‘Home’, this allows you to dress up like a trekkie and make a fool out of yourself with other PS3 players from around the world and jump into multiplayer sessions for fun filled gaming orgies.
The game achievement system comes in the form of medals and trophies that can be shown off for bragging rights if you are so inclined but the actual catalogue of games has been considered limp to date with some hope on the horizon in the form of ‘God of War 3’ and ‘Uncharted 2’ among a handful of other promising looking exclusive titles. The PS3 slim is a very quiet machine and looks pleasant enough on a shelf, it has all the expected connections needed including HDMI and can take advantage of a full HD setup while having WiFi in built also. The controllers are much the same as ever but lack rumble ability as standard in favour of a ‘six access’ motion system which is pretty useless. Overall the PS3 Slim is an impressive bang for your buck and needing little in the way of extra bits and pieces in order to enjoy a powerful media experience. This baby is ready to tickle you danglers when it comes out of the box!
Then we have Microsoft’s older but still firm around the buttocks Xbox 360. Depending on what system package you decide on the value for money can be greatly debated so let’s just presume that there is only one hot piece of pleasure available – the Elite model. We’ll leave the sloppy old ‘Arcade’ and other mix n’ match versions to the history books and bargain bins. The Elite is also rumoured to have gone to the Gym but we have to wait and see how true this is. However the hard drive is beefing up to 250 GB, what a coincidence! This hard drive is detachable meaning it is easily upgradeable and can be handy when going to a friends place for a drinking/gaming night. It has limited backward compatibility, most are now DLC but again this is not a sticking point for most players, once Halo 2 remains a feature it will keep the hard core fan boys happy.
The X Box Live Network or ‘NXE’, as it is called, has a free membership called ‘Silver’ which is about as useful as a retard at a Mensa meeting. The only real option is the yearly subscription which is a reasonable enough price. This makes you a ‘Gold’ member with full privileges. These joys are numerous and the whole system is a solid setup. You have access to Arcade, Retro and independently made games most of which are of a high standard along with some original Xbox titles. Avatar and profile customisations are there along with an excellent achievement system that basically keeps a score of your gaming brilliance. This you can wave in front of lesser mortals or be as embarrassed as a man that chooses cubicles instead of urinals.
There is no Blu Ray of course but the recent announcement that the 360 is getting Sky TV in Europe and the already installed Netflix in the U.S. makes this smack a little easier to bare. Xbox does lack internet browsing ability so no tissues needed but is to receive ‘Face Book’ accessability in the next update so you can stalk unsuspecting strangers and play game – neat! It all sounds great you say but here’s the rub: all DLC comes at a cost and it is often well pricy meaning you have to be smart about what you choose to buy or you could loose all your beer money tucking it into Microsoft’s tights.
Wireless access for the Xbox is extra and requires a Microsoft only device, HDMI is standard and full HD is on offer. The controllers are well designed and work great for FPS titles. It comes with a good headset for online communication which is a major part of the 360’s online appeal and it will vibrate your hands with rumble ability as standard. Where the 360 has really made its presence felt is with the games available for it. Many exclusives like the Halo series, Gears of War series and several other big hitters have kept gamers wetting themselves with glee for a few years now and with some franchises stolen from its competitors like GTA4 and Pro Evo Soccer it seems that there are few games that the Xbox 360 does not have on its list. Add to this the excellent DLC add-on’s for existing games and some sexy arcade games, it is difficult to be lost for something to keep those thumbs tapping.
So which is best for games? The short answer is the under rated PC but that’s another topic entirely! Personally, I would have to say the Xbox 360 gets the juices flowing, it’s not about brand loyalty, so calm down fan boys! Although price and cost do enter the equation they are really not a deciding factor for full time gamers because chances are they will have a console ménage a trios regardless. But for those who are in virgin territory here are my key factors that give Microsoft its big balls:
1. Its Online Multiplayer setup is superior to Sony’s because of its general structure. It is easier to use on the Xbox and is a vital part of the online experience. Unfortunately, in true Sony style they have ignored what their customers wanted at launch and were slow to release head sets, combined with limited options in the voice chat setup making this whole ‘abuse other players while shooting them in the head’ system psychologically and pragmatically unsatisfying to this day. In Sony’s favour the service is free but would you eat stale food just because it cost you nothing?
2. Microsoft’s Achievements system set the bar for ‘dick measuring’ among gamers. Some like this feature while others don’t. Either way there is no denying the fact that Sony thought it important enough to imitate, unfortunately the PS3’s ‘trophy’ structure was playing catch up with the Xbox while also doing a piss poor job of it – pity! Love it or hate it, these small accolades of gaming prowess are here to stay and a massively popular and decisive feature for many gamers.
3. Microsoft has a very strong DLC library of fresh games. Titles like ‘Shadow Complex’ and ‘Splosion Man’ are part of a rich collection of arcade style titles that seem set to continue into the future and is something the PS3 seems to have little of. There are a few worth feeling up but the comparison leaves the PSN looking like a bad boob job. Add to this retro titles and more importantly the availability of new game add-ons like ‘Broken Steel’ for Fallout 3 and you soon see a trend that leaves the PS3 consistently feeling limp. This looks set to continue for the foreseeable future which is a shame.
4. What about Blu Ray I hear you scream…? Well, streaming movies and TV in HD are cheaper than buying a Blu Ray title and some argue that digital download is the way of the future with discs in general becoming obsolete. Throw in Microsoft’s new deal with Sky TV (Europe) and/or Netflix (USA), the value of Movies on Disc starts to lose its appeal. So the gap is narrowing. Plus many people seem to forget that Blu ray players can be bought separately. Internet and Face Book are “nice to haves” but who really gives a toss?! Chances are gamers are already well acquainted with both, unless you’re just back from Mars…?!
5. Lastly but most importantly are the games. Microsoft has enjoyed a large range of exclusive titles that are of a high gaming standard. The PS3 has had a few big swingers but most titles disappoint like a ten second peep show – could have been fun but just wasn’t enough. The Xbox has a stronger title crossover with the PC which has been vital in luring hard core types to console gaming while Sony has relied mostly on older PS2 sequels and a few rip offs of popular PC and Xbox games, only breaking that cycle with the inventive ‘Little big planet’. Sadly it just isn’t enough to make up for its weak range of quality exclusive games. Sony has obviously seen this for itself, albeit a bit late in the day and do have a good range of button bashers on the way but until we see just how unique they are it is hard to say if this will help them catch up on lost time and you can be sure that Microsoft will try to out match the PS3 every step of the way. Future offerings of ‘Project Natal’ from Microsoft and the ‘Magic Wand’ in the Sony camp show how they both are groping to suck Nintendo’s teat while trying to outdo each other at the same time. This could make thing interesting or it could just turn out to be a fad, I bet on the latter to be honest. Either way, the success of one over the other will be determined by the games available at the time.
In a nutshell Microsoft listens to their customer base and aim to please, just like a warm oily massage, and why not, it’s good business! Sony gives its Japanese customers a good old time and massages their needs, while leaving the rest of the world swinging in the breeze. They don’t hear what their loyal fans are crying out for… their strategy and marketing execs should get a good kick in the bollocks for their lack of vision to date and their like it or lump it attitude which has led to a botched golden opportunity. Gamers deserve better and if they’re not getting the goodies in one port they will get their thrills in a better one… simple logic really.
I have all consoles on the market, always have in the past and I am glad there is competition between the brands. Yes even with the dirty lil Wii!
Out of the two pleasure inducing, money taking, mind lubricating, finger rubbing sexy beasts I must pick the Xbox 360 for the reasons mentioned, the bare balls of it is… it’s just more fun… And isn’t that what it’s all about?
This boys and girls is the bottom line, please feel free to disagree.