PS3 5: The Top 5 Reasons to Own a Playstation

The Top 5 Reasons to Own a PS3

It’s not easy going from first to last in the console wars, or for that matter, having your last generation system outsell your current one. It’s been a hard couple of years for Sony as the expensive Playstation Tres struggled to keep up with, let alone make up ground to, this generations hardcore console of choice, the Xbox 360. Lost exclusives and occasional inferior performance on cross platform games has plagued and even defined the system’s troubled existence.

It’s a unique accomplishment when a system incurs derision and hate even outside of the fanboy camps but somehow the PS3, for whatever flaws, has inspired a gaming subculture of enemies; people as dedicated to hating the system as fanboys are to loving it. Still, sluggish sales and stinging criticism hasn’t dampened the spirits of die hard Sony loyalists and it shouldn’t stop you from considering investing in this generation’s most powerful system.

If you can pony up the cash (you might need a couple ponies) the PS3 actually does offer plenty in return. If you haven’t bought a system yet listen up. Even if you already own another console there are still good reasons to consider the PS3 as a second or, yes, even third, system. In short, to spite the lofty price point, and the nay sayers the system is worth it, every penny of it. Why? I’m glad you asked. I happen to have the top 5 reasons right here.

5. The Playstation Network

Everybody knows that Xbox Live is the online gaming scene, but you pay for the quality and quantity offered with a $50/yr. membership charge. You get your money’s worth but it’s still $50 more than you’ll pay for access to a lot of similar features on the PSN. Though Sony’s service still trails in functionality, it won’t cost you a shiny nickel to access in it’s entirety and it still offers enough variety of similar features and unique content that you won’t complain about not getting your free’s worth.

In addition though somewhat less impressive than it’s XBL counterpart, the PSN marketplace (Playstation Store) keeps in step and boasts a splended collection of original downloadable games and content. With an emphasis on inventive gameplay and imaginative art design, games like the Pixel Junk series, Flow and the upcoming Flower provide fun experiences that promote artistry and unconventional creativity, while the recently released Demoscene, “Interactive art” experience, Linger in Shadows confirms Sony’s dedication to exploring new possibilities and expanding the boundaries of the medium.

The backbone of the PSN and it’s true advantage over XBL is it’s free multiplayer experience. Though a less popular alternative it none the less hosts a small army of games which take full advantage of the service and offer truly great multiplayer experiences that rival anything on the 360.

Early on, the now overlooked, Warhawk jumped right into the PSN scene with a combat flight game designed exclusively for multiplayer matches. Resistance: Fall of Man provided some respectable online FPS action early on and Insomniac didn’t pull any punches with the online features in it’s sequel Resistance 2, delivering one of the most robust online experiences available with over 60 player matches, a separate 8 player co-op story mode with scaling difficulty and a wealth of other options. Metal Gear Solid 4 offers a refreshing change of pace from frenetic FPS matches with stealth strategy as does the tactical team based Socom: Confrontation.

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Yet even as impressive and exhilarating as tactical precision team play and frenetic 60 player matches are they’re little more than training skirmishes compared to the ambition of Socom developer Zipper Interactive’s forthcoming effort. A modern military shooter reminiscent of Socom, the apltly codenamed MAG: Massive Action Game was announced at E3 08 and boasts future online matches on the unprecedented scale of 256 players! I’m not sure if you can even do that with the 360 but the PS3’s tendency to constantly push the envelope seem to confirm the significance of another one of it’s advantages.

4. More Powerful Hardware
Practically any way you stack it against Microsoft’s machine the PS3 is a more robust, more powerful, more advanced system and even on a a simply tactile level it’s a much nicer machine. The PS3 looks and feels, well…sturdier. It’s heavier, it’s components seem more compactly assembled, it runs quieter, isn’t subject to the RRD or anywhere near the percentage of 360 hardware failure, it features a simple disc slot instead of a noisy “please accidentally break me” tray and it’s super slick finish looks far more sophisticated than the dull white or black of the 360. In short, the quiet, stout, reliable construction makes the 360 seem downright flimsy by comparison.

Beyond simple glamor however the PS3 is just as impressive under the hood and packs more firepower in terms of graphical capabilities and future ready components. This of course adds up to prettier games and although a general lack of dedicated exclusives and commitment on the part of developers have limited the hardware’s full potential thus far, games like Uncharted, Ratchet and Clank, and MGS4 have allowed us to glimpse it’s glorious unfettered capabilities.

When not held back by cross platform development the graphics on the PS3 are nothing short of stunning. Games developed exclusively on the PS3 for the PS3 such as Uncharted and Killzone 2 are optimized for it’s unique hardware architecture. Able to take full advantage it’s capabilities these games force every last ounce of processing power out of the system and the results are simply gorgeous. Sadly only a few titles have really begun to push the platform but with gradually more exclusives down the road, such as Uncharted 2 and God of War 3, you can expect to see some real lookers in the near future.

At this stage, though, the difference between the PS3 and 360’s graphics is negligible and with so many cross platform games (many optimized for the 360) the potential superiority of the PS3 isn’t definitive enough to make a difference, yet. Expect the gap to widen as time goes on, however, until finally the difference is irrefutable. As the 360’s potential is quickly being maxed out, Sony’s beast is just getting warmed up.

In addition to the superiority of it’s graphics the PS3 is a consummately more future oriented machine. The price advantage of the low end 360 model compensates for the system’s technical limitations to an extent but by the time you pay nearly $100 for an external WiFi adapter and $60 for a larger hard drive the total price is significantly less competitive. Compared to the base model 360 and the collection of peripheral paraphernalia you need to to bring it up to speed, the entry level PS3 comes ready out of the box with a larger hard drive (80gig), wireless ready internal Wifi, and of course…

3. Blu Ray
With the Hi-Def dvd wars well behind us and Blu-Ray the victor, consumers will gradually start migrating to the new standard in home entertainment. The price of the PS3 is hefty when compared to other systems but if you’re Hi-def ready the inclusion of a Blu-Ray player is a huge advantage. A stand alone player is going to run at least $200  and the one inlcuded in the PS3 is still one of the best on the market. If you buy a Blu-Ray in addition to a 360 you’re looking at at least $400 and that’s the Arcade model without the larger hard drive and of course no Wifi. When considered in this respect the PS3 actually offers more value for the hardware.

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Even if you aren’t interested in watching movies in sparkling, clear high definition the Blu-Ray format has another advantage as a gaming medium with it’s greater storage capacity approximately 6x that of standard discs. Games developed on this format can contain far more content which is especially beneficial for highly cinematic games such as MGS4 and RPG’s such as the upcoming FFXIII. Instead of splitting the game into individual discs that have to be swapped out during play, like Lost Odyssey for the 360, the entire epic experience streams off of a single disc without interruption (bathroom breaks not included.) Welcome to…

2. The Future of Gaming
Microsoft has had a considerable advantage during this console war that began when they launched their system a year ahead of Sony. They traded hardware power for a strategic advantage in install base that has so far paid off. The 360 is the go-to system and with a larger contingent of hardcore gamers playing, is more appealing from a business standpoint to publishers looking to sell software to as many people as possible. Only time will tell but as smart as it seems now this ‘first in’ strategy may have been a little short sighted. Though it’s a powerful system the 360 is still not as strong as the PS3 and it’s lack of future ready components may cost Microsoft in the long run.

On the other hand as we have already pointed out, the Playstation 3 is a far more advanced system. It’s expensive and over engineered as of right now but that’s a temporary setback that will evaporate with time. Where Microsoft’s hasty launch of the 360 may limit them in the future, Sony’s extensive development invested in the PS3 may pay off as the technology finally comes into fruition. Buying a console based on it’s future potential is a gamble but when you consider the forward thinking Sony has conceived the PS3 with, their strategy makes more sense. As time goes by the hardware will age better than the 360’s, the price will drop and the system will become more and more appealing.

The most important thing that Sony has going for it in the future is a bevy of top tier franchises it has yet to take advantage of. God of War has finally been announced but there is still a cache of gold IP’s just waiting to be ushered into the Hi-Def era. Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and the Jak and Daxter series come to mind.

2008 finally saw a PS3 lineup as good if not better than the 360’s and as the landscape of 2009 comes into focus it seems to favor Sony even more so with sequels and new IP’s like Heavy Rain, Killzone 2, God of War III, and Uncharted 2. Clearly PS3 owners are looking at a blockbuster year as the system finally generates momentum.

In terms of pioneering innovations, hardware and graphics the PS3 continues to distinguish itself as an outstanding platform and though stigmatized by price and an identity crisis it’s the system’s extraordinary potential that truly defines it as a console. And nowhere is it’s exciting capabilities more evident then in the system’s greatest triumph.

1. The Games

You heard me. With any system, ultimately, it’s all about the games. Fancy hardware is awesome, an online community is great, but at the end of the day it’s all about the games to use them with. I don’t care if your console makes french toast and doubles as a mechanical bull if it doesn’t have kick butt games your hardware is already obsolete (French toast wouldn’t hurt though.) To spite being overshadowed by the 360’s popularity the software lineup on the Playstation 3 is none the less hard to argue with.

Insomniac gave the PS3 a solid shooter to hang it’s hat on with it’s Resistance franchise. The developer also delivered one of the system’s first truly jaw droppingly pretty games with Ratchet and Clank before producing another solid installment in the Resistance series. Naughty Dog unearthed another gem when it launched Drake’s inaugural expedition with the first of the ongoing Uncharted series and Metal Gear Solid 4 brought it’s acclaimed saga to a thrilling conclusion with classic stealth gameplay, thrilling action sequences, and phenomenal graphics.

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Sony has also demonstrated a commitment to artistic and unconventional titles with this year’s Little Big Planet and a host of PSN exclusives such Flower, Pixel Junk Eden, and Flow which push the limits of creativity and artistic design in games.

Something that’s often overlooked, by those toting the vastness of the Xbox library is that in addition to an impressive resume of fine exclusives the Playstation 3 also stays in the game (no pun intended) hosting some of this generations best cross platform titles right alongside the lauded 360. Call of Duty 4, The Orange Box, Fallout 3, GTAIV, and Bioshock are some of the greatest games of this generation, and they are all available on the PS3.

At the end of 2007 there was no contest between the 360 lineup and the PS3’s but with killer apps like MGS4, LBP, and Resistance 2, as well as the late debut of Bioshock, 2008 saw the 360’s software advantage nearly evaporate as the PS3 finally delivered stellar titles showcasing the system’s awesome capabilities, and with 2009’s promising lineup of first rate exclusives Sony is finally beginning to assert itself as a hardcore contender.

If you’re only choosing one console the decision is hard, but whether it’s your first console or not don’t write off the PS3. The console war is far from over and Sony knows what it takes to be the best console on the market, just ask the Playstation 2.

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