It is a new year, which is also a new year in gaming and a new era rapidly approaches. Nintendo has already taken that first big step with the Wii U’s release in November of 2012, but both Microsoft and Sony have yet to pull the trigger when it comes to even announcing their next generation consoles to the public. Sure, we have rumors, but words are wind, are they not? Last time out, I took a look at how the Microsoft Xbox 360 both succeeded and failed when it came to delivering raw value to consumers and came to the conclusion that they did great at being a full media center but hardware limitations and failure rates made it a real pain in the ass for everyone.
Now it is time to look at Sony’s PlayStation 3 console, which should be replaced, eventually, by the PlayStation 4.
Success — Sony has always been a mixed bag when it comes to presenting exclusive titles, with them having no real mascot to speak of, unlike Nintendo, Microsoft or Sega. That being said, the exclusives they did pump out were really great games for the most part and there was really a lot of experimental games mixed in with more traditional Japanese-style games and just straight-up fun games. The system was built to last, which meant it was expensive in the beginning, but that you could expect it to last. On top of that, the Blu-Ray player in it, while expensive at first, helped to push the format into being the standard and it is still one of the better consumer Blu-Ray players on the market. The PlayStation Network is free, which is awesome, and if you subscribe to PlayStation Plus you get free games and great discounts. They also do a great job of pushing forward with digital distribution. Bravo.
Failures — The PlayStation Network is free and hackers really had a field day with it and made it look easy. Having to politely ask your entire user base to change their passwords because you didn’t protect them well enough is unacceptable. Another PSN gripe is no party voice chat, which is just confusing. When the system came out it was ungodly expensive compared to the competition. Sure, it had a Blu-Ray player and had some massive hard drives, but it was expensive and didn’t offer that much value to your average consumer at the time. Why the hell did they remove backward compatibility from the PS3? I get that they wanted to sell more PS2s, but it has been a long time, release a firmware update and just allow it already, it is ridiculous.
Overall — The PS3 is a well-built, forward-thinking console, which does make it special. That being said, it has problems looking back and security issues really marred the PlayStation Network for quite a while. It also had a very slow start due to the initial high price point, but has finally caught up with the Xbox 360 later on in the game.