What the hell was Sony thinking when they released the PS3? Did they really think they had a superior product compared to the Xbox 360? Remember last year when Kazuo Hirai, President/CEO of Sony made the comment that the Xbox 360 was actually Xbox 1.5? I guess in those terms the PS3 is actually Playstation 2.1. Here is a company that had an entire year to watch what its competition (Microsoft) was doing and doing right. Besides having the right mix of hardware for its console, Microsoft also had a beautiful well thought out interface (Blades). To top that off their way of building a community of gamers through its Live service is top notch. One place to interact with all your friends and online acquaintances. Through Live you can message, voice/video chat, see what all your buddies are playing and easily join them or send them an invite to a game you are playing. Network capability came after the PS2 was launched and always felt like an after thought to any online game that was written for it. Where as the 360 was built around the network capabilities of the unit. You would think that Sony would have figured out that this is what made the 360 what it is today. Either the designers/developers have never played with a 360 or just don’t get the online multiplayer community at all. Multiplayer online once again takes the back seat on the PS3. I was surprised to see how basic and archaic their online multiplayer interface was or better yet complete lack of it. What I mean is if I play with someone in one game and enjoy playing with him and add him to my buddy list it is only good for that one game title. I cannot find that user in another game title. Better yet from the main menu I can’t find any buddies what so ever. Get a clue already, I hope they are getting bashed in the head over this by other consumers enough for them to stand up and make the necessary modifications to their system to allow buddies to be seen in any game title as well as the main interface.
My next pet peeve is the lack of a headphone in the box. You have to buy either a USB headphone or a Bluetooth headset in order to talk to anyone online. When I received my Xbox 360 it came with a headphone so it was easy to talk to teammates or trash the opponent you just headshoted. I happened to have an old Motorola Bluetooth headset that I had purchased for a cell phone years back. I was able to pair that with my PS3 but I haven’t played any games yet where anyone else had a microphone set up yet.
Now on to the PS3 controller, it feels light and cheap and all the buttons and tumbsticks feel cramped. There are no external replaceable batteries for the unit. So there goes the idea of rechargeable batteries outside the unit as the 360 has. You have to charge it with a USB cable which you can also use to play tethered to the unit. However the cable is too short to use it for the latter function. The controllers uses Bluetooth to communicate with the PS3 and that’s where the functionality truly ends. I have had the controller loose complete contact with the PS3 once and spazz out on several occasions. When it decides to spazz out it will do what it feels like for several seconds at a time (continuely running straight or spinning while looking a the sky). It is too that point where I had to purchase a long USB cable just to play games so I wouldn’t feel like tossing the controller across the room when it misbehaved. This is not an isolated incident either, my brother is having similar problems with his unit.
The launch titles are basically pathetic. There are not many titles released that cannot be played on the 360. For the unique titles that were released at launch there was only one game that in my opinion was worth getting and that was Resistance: Fall of Man. Even that is not that unique, it is your typical first person shooter. The one thing I will give it is its length of single player campaign mode, it is very very very long.
Then there is the issue with the HD up scaling or lack thereof. You can read more about that here: IGN: PS3 Downscales 720p on Incapable TVs All in all Sony didn’t make very good use of the time it had to develop something to compete with Microsoft. I am pretty sure Microsoft is feeling pretty comfortable right about now after seeing what Sony presented to the gaming community. You know your product sucks when it gets bashed by the New York Times! I think my brother puts it in perspective the best ‘It’s a Blu-Ray player that happens to play games’.
**Update: I was informed by my brother “Venice Dre” (Live Tag) that I mis-qouted him. His actual qoute was “It’s a Blu-Ray player that also plays games that I can’t play on the Xbox 360”