A Consoling War

PS3 fanboy though I may be, I have to admit that X-Box 360 adds a much greater collection than the Sony Store can offer in their X-Box live arcade, all kinds of old games being redesigned to use it’s power, whereas there are just a few new games on PS3, the rest being simply re-releases of ancient PS1 games that use little of the PS3’s power-  but what there is, is very good. The central problem here seems to be that Sony never really 100% wanted this to be a gaming console, pushing the media-center aspects of the device so much, a strategy that has everyone confused but the likes of me hoping for the best of both worlds.

So far, the real winner in the games for fun stakes and one that has brought in many non-gamers into the living room to play is Nintendo with their innovative Wii. I played on one the other day and had a great time, though without any high resolution visuals. It shows that you can do a lot with relatively low-level visual technology, developing in other areas instead. Probably, there’s room for both, but, like it or not, Sony’s going to have to compete with  the 360 if it’s to shift more consoles. The only way more companies will develop for it is if there is a larger user base to play the software on- a base that won’t grow until there are good gaming reasons to buy one- catch 22 until Sony releases more of the planned big hits like Metal Gear Solid 4 and Final Fantasy XIII. They also need a cheaper version at the more acceptable 400 dollar mark, perhaps reducing the 20 Gig machine to that price. Consoles, however powerful, are mass-market devices.

It will be interesting to see what Sony have ready for the Tokyo Game Show in a few days from now- and time permitting, I’ll be along to brave the crowds and check it out! There are rumours of a new, force-feedback gaming pad and of playable versions of the anticipated masterpieces. Along with this, is the virtual-reality style chat-room ‘Home‘, which from what I’ve heard sounds something like ‘Second Life’ on PC and will actually be a free and integrated download for everyone. So far, the PS3 has yet to show many ‘killer apps’- must have titles that are worth buying the console for.

To my min, whether or not all this will be enough to ‘save it’ from the competition is beside the point. For years, I had a Nintendo 64 whilst the rest of the world was enjoying the Playstation Mark 1. Sure, resources permitting, I could have gotten both, but I’m not so sure I’d have had the time to play on them. You know what? I was very happy with the experience, being both amazed and entertained by Super Mario 64 and Zelda- the Ocarina of Time. They remain some of the best games ever and were not just games, but impressive experiences. So if the PS3 treats me to such experiences, whether or not it has as many ‘hit games’ as other formats offer, it will have been more than worth it for me. Which isn’t to say that the ‘format war’ doesn’t exist- just that it’s ultimately pretty irrelevant to the end-user, so long as they can play the games they want to.

Here’s proof of this, in the form of a Super Mario 64 video, from someone who managed to complete the whole thing in just over 15 minutes, (admittedly with a little help from slowdowns and re-recording’!

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