Denki News

January 10, 2007

A quick next-gen system comparison from someone who owns all three

Filed under: Video Games — icruise @ 3:09 pm

I suppose having all of the consoles in a particular generation isn’t that unusual, but it’s also true that most people only buy one console (and maybe one portable). So I thought I would write something from the perspective of someone who has owned and used all of the next-gen systems. I have a longer piece on the back burner examining each of the consoles in detail, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get the time to finish it, so I thought I’d go ahead and get this abbreviated version out while it’s still topical. (More after the jump.)


Xbox 360


As you probably know, the Xbox 360 was the first next-gen machine to market, with nearly a year’s head start on both Sony and Nintendo. As such, it has by far the best library of games. This is to be expected, of course. If history has taught us anything, it’s that head starts do not always mean success.

The Good
Great graphics.
Nice selection of games, with quite a number of stand-out titles.
Great online service in Xbox Live (including innovations like Gametags and Gamerscores, voice chat, HD video downloading, Xbox Live Arcade).

The Bad
Noisy DVD drive (seriously, how did Microsoft think that this was acceptable?)
Questionable hardware reliability
Little Japanese support (although Blue Dragon is a step in the right direction)

Nintendo Wii

It’s funny to think that just a few months ago, people were arguing about whether a controller like the Wii remote could really sustain a console. I don’t think anybody predicted that the Wii would be such a success, although there is the danger that the novelty will wear off.

The Good
Wii remote opens up new kinds of game play.
Great party system.
Virtual Console allows you to play games you used to love or try ones that you always meant to play.
Miis!
By far the cheapest next-gen system.

The Bad
Last-gen graphics with no HD support.
Motion controls shoe-horned into cross platform games.
Aside from Zelda, not a lot of good one-player games in launch lineup.

Sony PS3


Sony’s next-gen console has already been through a lot, and it launched less than 2 months ago. It started with the announcement that the system would cost $499 and $599. Then manufacturing problems meant that quantities were extremely limited. In addition, auction prices of the Xbox 360 shortly after its launch in 2005 led people to believe that the PS3 would be selling for several times retail price, spurring many non-gamers to stand in line for days to get a system, specifically to eBay it. PS3s are now pretty easy to find if you want one, however. Whether this means that they aren’t selling or that Sony is finally producing them in reasonable quantities is yet to be determined.

The Good
Great graphics (although so far not much different from the Xbox 360).
Should have good developer support, including Japanese developers.
Plays Blu–ray HD movies.
Quiet.
Free online play (although the Playstation Network is not really comparable to Microsoft’s pay service at the moment).

The Bad
Expensive (although actually pretty comparable to the Xbox 360 — more on that later).
Mediocre launch library.
Doesn’t work properly with older HDTVs that don’t support 720p.

My Conclusion
If you want the best games available *right now* the Xbox 360 wins hands-down. When you look at the long term, though, things become a little less clear. While I doubt that Sony will dominate the game market quite the way they did in the last generation, anyone expecting them to go from #1 with around 70% markeshare to a distant third will almost certainly be disappointed. Microsoft is doing a better job with the Xbox 360 than with the original Xbox in providing a variety of game types in addition to the everpresent first-person shooters, but I still expect the PS3 to have a better all-around library. In particular, Sony’s robust support in Japan (on the part of developers and consumers) will mean that a fair number of games (role playing games in particular) will get released for the PS3 and not the Xbox 360. This happened last generation and I expect it to happen again. The ability to play HD movies out of the box and to use the vast storage capacity of the Blu-ray disc for games will also be an advantage for the PS3 in the years to come.

The Wii is sort of in a category by itself. So far, it has shown itself to be a great machine for (non-online) multiplayer and quirky games that use the remote, but it’s not clear whether third-party developers will support the Wii more than they did the Gamecube, or if Nintendo will be able to avoid the game droughts that plagued that system. Personally, I think the Wii’s unimpressive graphics are the biggest stumbling block and they prevent me from recommending it as a main system for anyone but the most casual gamer. Its reasonable price does make it a good secondary system for someone who already has a PS3 or 360, though.

All in all, though, I think this is a great time to be a gamer.

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3 Comments »

  1. You probably know me from CAG. Yeah, I may sound like a Sony fanboy many times, but I only do that because of too much Sony bashing there (and I get tired of it).

    Anyway, I think your article is very good, for the most part. There may not be as many appealing games to me on Xbox 360 currently (since I’m mostly into Japanese games), it’s definitely the console I’d recommend to most people, if they want games right now. Yeah, I definitely agree on the console being loud, and it kind of bothers me unfortunately.

    I don’t own a Nintendo Wii yet, but I plan to get one later this year. I haven’t played a Wii so I’m not sure what I’ll think of the controls, but with what I went through on my GC/N64, I’m really excited about it (due to game droughts, minimal 3rd party support, etc.).

    As for the PS3, I didn’t think the launch was as bad as some think (mostly because I like Genji 2 and Untold Legends DK), but I’ll admit it just doesn’t have many good games out right now, which I expected. I definitely love the hardware itself and like how the console is quiet.

    Anyway, great article, and I’d definitely tell others who are unsure of what to buy, to read this article.

    Comment by The Mana Knight — January 14, 2007 @ 10:09 am

  2. hmmm… Fair artical except one of your last statements. The Wii shoulddn’t be seen as second to the PS3 or 360, its a console of its own and i think its really good. I have one. Sure, there isn’t too many great games out at the moment, but look at whats to come.

    Super Smash bros brawl (online play)
    Super Mario Galaxy
    Battalion wars 2 (online play)
    Pokemon Battle Revolution (online play)
    Metroid Prime 3
    Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles
    Final Fantasy CC:CB
    No More Heroes
    Sadness

    to name but a very few…

    Remember, 360 has been out for a while now and Wii has been out for only 4 months. Give it a chance, gthe games, 3rd Party support AND graphics will improve in time.

    (Remember that Zelda was a Gamecube game graphics, and seeing as the Wii is 2-3 times more powerful then GC, imaging how games SHOULD look)

    Comment by Sheik — March 24, 2007 @ 12:28 pm

  3. i agree that the Xbox 360 is the better system compared to the Wii and the PS3. The only thing you forgot was the the Wii is killing both consoles in the next gen race. Yeah the Wii has some great titles coming out but not as good as games like Halo 3 for the 360 and Metal Gear Solid for the PS3. Those are games that are going to sell the PS3 and 360. The will really isn’t a single player gaming system. Its a party system like what was said above.
    I currently own a PS3 and i have my doubts about how its going to handle in the coming years because the 360 has its 1 year head start on it. If people are truly gamers, they will look at the 360 and PS3 before the consider the Wii.

    Comment by Bill Pax — January 2, 2008 @ 6:41 pm


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