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A Collection of Random Thoughts
Thursday, September 14, 2006
 
Which gaming console is the best?
There are lots of varying opinions out there, and each manufacturer states their console is the best (ok, with probably the exception of Nintendo, whom I haven't heard a lot of "smack" from).

The obvious players in the gaming console are the following:

Microsoft Xbox 360
Sony PS3
Nintendo Wii

let's do a quick comparison of the 3 and some of their basic features.


Xbox 360

PS3

Wii

Price

$299 Core/$399 Premium

$499/$599

$250

CD player

Standard DVD-Rom/HD-DVD optional accessory

Blu-Ray DVD Standard

Standard DVD player

Hard drive?

None/20GB

20GB/60GB

None


At first glance, the PS3 wins out in the features category, but does it justify the $200 premium over the 360, and even more over the Wii? That's for you to decide.

Also, note that I left out the processor/video specs. While there is much hype about the Cell processor in the PS3, I have to date seen nothing that indicates it will soundly trounce everything out there. In fact, it seems like each time there is an update, revised specs are released that show lower capabilities.

As far as availability, the XBox360 has the obvious advantage here. It's already been out for a year, and will have the most games available.

All 3 systems claim to be backwards-compatible with previous games, though the XBox 360 requires the hard drive (or a memory module) in order work with Xbox games, as they store information on the hard drive on the original XBox.

Nintendo clearly has the most innovative design for their controller, but it really remains to be seen if it will be accepted or not. Sony and Microsoft have stayed the conventional route with their controllers.

All 3 systems will be touting online gaming capability, but I'd give the edge to the 360 here as well. XBox Live is a well-established service, and has been around for several years. There is a subscription cost, but at ~$50/year, it's a relative bargain. Last I'd heard, the online gaming from both Sony and Nintendo will be free, but I don't think they really have much choice here. In order to get an online gaming forum up and running, you can't really start charging at the onset, or you won't get near as many people to join.

So - which one would I buy? I certainly won't put out $500 or $600 for the PS3. I paid $150 for my original XBox, and I'm not willing to quadruple the cost of that to satisfy my gaming craves. That leaves the Xbox 360 and the Wii. The 360 has been out longer, and is likely to drop in price sooner (at least I think it will), and since I've already got an XBox, my likely choice will be the 360, though I won't be rushing out tomorrow to get one. Which console others will choose may depend on the current gaming console they own. If you have a PS2, my guess is that you'd be more likely to get a PS3 and be able to play all games from it instead of having 2 separate consoles. However, Sony is going to have a distribution problem with the PS3. The launch date here in the US (and in Japan) is supposed to be mid-November, but reports I've heard indicate they are going to have limited numbers of units available for the US and Japan (Europe's launch date has even been postponed until Spring of 2007). This means the mark-up by retailers could be quite a bit.

Time will tell how this next generation of gaming console wars turns out.


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