The XBox 360/PS3 war rages on.
January 8, 2009 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Almost time to buy a current-gen console, but I'm morally split between XBox 360 and PS3.

I love my PS2 to death. It's the first and thus far only console I've ever owned. (My parents always figured the family Mac was good enough for gaming.) I'm slowly exhausting my list of games I want/need to play, and I'm sick of having a widescreen TV that can't play widescreen games. It's nigh time for me to start living in 2009 and get a current-gen console.

It's an even battle between the XBox 360 and the PS3. I feel a complex web of emotions here. I loathe Microsoft, and will go to great lengths to avoid giving them money. (Hypocrite alert: my MacBook Pro uses a MS laser mouse.) This doesn't necessarily make me a Sony fanboy: they've botched PS3 management so badly that I don't feel they've earned that $X00 premium. On the other other hand, Microsoft's 'red ring of death' plague shows just as much laziness and incompetence. So yes, as I said, a complex web. Do you see it as rational to spend $X00 more on a PS3 simply on moral principle? Which of the three evils is the biggest?

This is not quite the same question as one that was asked more than a year ago. Still, as a secondary question, I'm curious to know how the battle has changed since then. Personally, I see 2008 as a big win for the XBox. LittleBigPlanet and PlayStation Home were duds, while XBox won a port to Final Fantasy XIII and (I'm putting money on it) Metal Gear Solid 4.
posted by spamguy to Technology (48 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a Wii but my co-worker, who has both an x-box and a PS3, says the PS3 is superior in every way. The media capabilities alone has me looking at getting one instead of a DVD player. Blu-ray capability plus the ability to watch movies from USB flash drives, how can you go wrong? Oh yeah, you can play games on it too. Perhaps you can plug a usb drive into an xbox, but I know it doesn't have Blue-ray built in.

Also, no Red Ring of Death on a Playstation.
posted by Brodiggitty at 1:36 PM on January 8, 2009

The newer XBoxes are (supposedly, hopefully, apparently) RRoD-free, due to a huge (and very costly) revamp of factories and whatnot. I interpret it more as a huge fuckup that took a little too long to get fixed, rather than laziness per se; after all, it cost them a lot of money to replace all those systems. Also, RRoD aside, MS's gaming division seems to actually be competent, with things like iPod support from the get-go in the 360 and now Netflix streaming. By contrast, Home is so aggressively, insultingly bad - scarcity in virtual spaces!? - that it makes me very glad I haven't given Sony a penny this generation.

Inasmuch as morality matters in gaming system choices (to me, not very much; I went 360 because so many of my anticipated or desired games were exclusives, even if some (Bioshock) eventually made the jump), I think MS has a slight edge. However, I interpret MS' gaming division as a separate animal from their comically-incompetent OS division, which you may not.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:38 PM on January 8, 2009

Note for Brodiggitty: You can play videos off of thumb drives on Xboxes, or over the network.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:39 PM on January 8, 2009

Which of the three evils is the biggest?

Who knows, thats a completely subjective question. All major corporations will have some skeleton in the closet that you wont like. I doubt theres any real difference. Sony and Microsoft dont use slave labor or release poisonous chemicals into orphanages or anything. The only issue I can think of that may actually be real is that if you give money to Microsoft youre giving it to your local economy and to an American company that employs Americans. With Sony, a good part stays here but another part goes overseas.

Do you see it as rational to spend $X00 more on a PS3 simply on moral principle?

Considering the lack of games, lack of great games, and very real premium its really not appealing unless you need a BD player.

Microsoft's 'red ring of death' plague shows just as much laziness and incompetence.

Ive returned a xbox360, never an original xbox, and a ps2 twice. Do any electronics producers have high QA? I dont think so. The new revisions (falcon motherboard) of the 360 hardware runs a little cooler and has HDMI out on all models. 360's Live implementation is slick too.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:47 PM on January 8, 2009

We have all 3 consoles in this house, well actually two 360's, in addition to a PS3 and a Wii.

The PS3 and Wii are collecting dust right now. For every game that's come out, we've bought the 360 version primarily because of the online capabilities/options. The Wii seems great if you have kids, but I've never been able to play any of their games more than once or twice so far; they seem good as novelties or as party games.

PS3, however, is great for Blu-Ray. Right now we are also enjoying the Netflix option on our 360, with the instant play ability on to our computers. (I think you can also do the PS3 version).

I don't like Microsoft, but I'm not really keen on Sony's machinations either. *rootkits* cough

LittleBigPlanet was a great concept, but their online server problems kept us from getting anything other than the demo. PS Home is, well, as you've probably seen, really good for an unintentional laugh.

In sum the 360 has a wider variety of offerings for the adult gamer. Their downloadable arcade games alone have been major time sinks for me. You may very well get the red ring of death, but MS will ship a new/fixed one to you free.

Again, I really hate to be tooting the MS horn, but Sony needs to step it up with their game library.
posted by uxo at 1:50 PM on January 8, 2009

I have both.

Let me say, if you like movies, have a HDTV, surround sound, etc. then go with the PS3. The vast majority of major games are cross-platform, and the Blu Ray functionality of the PS3 are tremendous. It's considered the best Blu Ray player available, it has upgradable firmware, and it's an upconverting DVD player too.

So if you want a multimedia hub, PS3 is best.

(Added sidenote: if you might dig out your PS2 games to play again at some point, there is some backwards compatibility. Not great but some)

PLUS given all your PS2 gaming the PS3 controller will feel natural in your hands, versus having to work out the ergonomics of a new 360 controller.

Now, if you are on a budget or just want games with little to no multimedia, XBox 360 is the way to go. It's much cheaper for one. And I had a 1st gen 360, it did RROD. I ended up selling it and just getting a new XBox 360 last fall and, knock on wood, so far so good.

The 360 does have some multimedia features, but the movie rentals are too expensive, and the Netflix streaming quality is poor.

(One thing about cost...keep in mind if you need/want a wifi adapter you have to buy it separate for the 360, the PS3 comes with it built in).

Last note: If you have a bunch of friends who are XBox live players get the 360. The vast, vast majority of my friends game on the 360. For multiplayer, it's really my only option.
posted by arniec at 1:50 PM on January 8, 2009

You're letting your emotions cloud your judgment. The XBOX has more and better games, has better multimedia features (netflix, streaming from pc, sharing, etc), and is cheaper. It's also far more popular sales-wise than the PS3. The only thing is doesn't have is a Blu-Ray player, but that might not be important to you (it isn't to many people).
posted by blue_beetle at 1:52 PM on January 8, 2009

Moral principle? Is either of these companies going to take your money and use it to club baby seals?

All fanboyism aside, I have both systems in my house and have had a good time using both of them. You'll have fun either way. However, I DO tend to find myself spending a lot more time with the Xbox 360. I'm sure there is someone here who will respond, claiming the opposite. YMMV.

There are very few games that I care about that are exclusive to the PS3, and I find the Xbox Live online experience superior to that offered by the Sony. Plus I think that the Xbox Live Arcade has more interesting downloadable games than the equivalent Sony store.

I've read on a few gaming blogs that game developers often have an "easier time" developing for the Xbox than the PS3, leading to delayed release dates for the PS3 for cross-platform games.

The main area where I think the PS3 might win is the Blu-ray player. But as of right now, I don't even have any Blu-ray media. As for playing audio/video from the network, I've done it on both machines and find it to be a rather similar experience.
posted by adamk at 1:52 PM on January 8, 2009

I love my 360. All of my friends 360s. We play games regularly together. I watch Netflix on my 360, I don't have cable and I doubt I'll ever want it or need it.

The PS3 has mightier specs, but it has far fewer games, and I'll let you in on a little secret: Almost all next-gen games are developed first for the 360, and then ported to the PS3. The two consoles are different enough that most development cycles don't really have the time to be able to create features that really take advantage of the PS3 hardware. Many games that are cross platform are actually less awesome on the PS3 -- not because the hardware is inferior, but because the game engine was designed and optimized for the 360, which renders things entirely differently. Instead of having more firepower on the PS3, we wind up with less, and have to take things out for the game to run as well as it does on the Xbox.

This may change as more and more developers create games for the PS3, but I've been working in next-gen game development since the consoles arrived on the scene, and I thought for sure the PS3 would have caught up by now.

I don't want one still. I heart my 360. Microsoft may suck in many arenas, but I think they've done an absolutely fantastic job of keeping their user base incredibly happy, while Sony has done the opposite.
posted by pazazygeek at 1:53 PM on January 8, 2009

I think my thoughts on Sony vs. Microsoft are about the same as yours. I loved the PS2 and never had an Xbox. I'm also not a Microsoft fan and am somewhat conflicted on the idea of buying their console.

But I make my console decision about a year ago and it was the 360 and so far I've been happy. One factor was price since the 360 is cheaper. A second factor was that I did miss some decent xbox games in the last generation and combined with the fact that 360 is winning a lot of titles, I felt I'd have a larger choice of games that I'd like to play (though, I'm really going to miss having a PS3 when the third game in the Ico series comes out). Third, microsoft has really done a good job on online play and interface.

As a bonus now, I'm really loving the 360 for netflix steaming.

To alleviate my anti-ms guilt, I'm using Gamefly to rent games rather than buying them, so they get a little less of my money.
posted by recursion at 1:53 PM on January 8, 2009

The PS3 does not have netflix streaming on it's own, but you can run MediaMall's PlayOn on a pc on the same network and get netflix (and hulu and youtube too). It's in beta right now, I've used it a couple of times and I'll probably shell out the $30 for it when my trial expires.
posted by jefftang at 2:00 PM on January 8, 2009

The vast majority of major games are cross-platform

Y'know, people say this, and we certainly expected it with this generation, but I don't think it's accurate. Halo 3/Wars/etc, Gears of War (2), Bioshock (for a while), Mass Effect, LittleBigPlanet, Braid, Resistance (2), Killzone 2, MGS4 (maybe), Castle Crashers - there are a lot of very high-profile games that are limited to one system or the other. And while we can obviously disagree about what's major and what's not, and what's good and what's not, this is the Internet, where all opinions are equally irrelevant, and I'm going to say that I think the 360 has a notable though by no means overwhelming edge in exclusives.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:06 PM on January 8, 2009

I have a friend who works as a programmer who makes games for the PS3.

One of these games was very popular.

He owns an Xbox and a Wii and says that the PS3 is dead.

(Admittedly, RRoD is awful.)
posted by Damn That Television at 2:08 PM on January 8, 2009

I am sorry...but Moral restrictions? against Microsoft? Sorry man but are you a gamer or not? If you want to PLAY games and NOT movies....just get the xbox 360....if you want to watch movies get the PS3...

and i havent found one game on the PS3 that looks that much better than on 360......

So in short 360 has the better selection of game, and also the best internet connectivity.....I always was surprised that the same people that makes windows are soooo competitive when they made the xbox........they just really hit the ball out the park with the quality of the software (cant say the same about the hardware)....

By the way I had the original Playstation...and got a PS2 just to play yes i know how it is to be a sony fan.....

The PS3 is my default blue ray player.....which by the way is great and cheaper than anything (and because I bought it used I only payed $150, yay!)
posted by The1andonly at 2:10 PM on January 8, 2009

It mostly boils down to two things: exclusives, and do you want/need the PS3 as a Blu-Ray player? That's about the only thing ours is good for(it's really good at that, too, but in a mainly DVD or streaming Netflix household, not really worth the investment). The only game that's been played on it from disc is Little Big Planet, and my wife bought a couple games from the PSN Store.

In contrast, the X360 gets turned on at least once daily just to see if ayone is playing a multiplayer game we want to join. The cross-platform games fare better on the 360. The overall library is larger(especially considering some decent backwards compatibility with the original XBOX). The current PS3 models have NO backwards compatibility, and I'm assuming you're buying new. Streaming Netflix is "free" with a gold Live account and current Netflix account, and it's a lot slicker than the currently available stand-alone Roku player(which costs about $100, and doesn't do anything but stream Netflix). The "new XBOX experience" is pretty slick. The XMB on the PS3, IMO, is clunky and confusing by comparison.

I think you can tell which I'm recommending, but my situation and preferences may be different to yours.
posted by owtytrof at 2:11 PM on January 8, 2009

I have a PS3, an Xbox 360, and a Wii. I also have issue with Microsoft, but I have similar concerns about Sony's media holidings -- that whole rootkit thing was pretty lame. In both companies, there seem to be departments that get it, and departments that don't. My feeling is that the Xbox 360 department "gets it," and purchasing an Xbox from Microsoft shows your support for something they're doing pretty much right. In this case, I think you can get what you want without it being a huge moral failing.

That said, when it comes to the time that the box spends powered on and how much enjoyment we get out of it, the winner in our household is the PS3. The reasons?

1) Blu-Ray. Yeah, there are those crazy people who say Blu-Ray is dead in the water, you can't notice the difference, blah blah blah. Those people either have a crappy TV, haven't actually seen Blu-Ray, or haven't actually seen how crappy "HD" downloads can look. Blu-Ray rentals from Netflix are a joy -- they look *magnificent* on the PS3 and a big, good television.

2) Upscaled DVD. It wasn't always the case, but in recent firmware updates, Sony has produced one of the finest upscaling DVD players. Blu-Ray may look magnificent, but the PS3 also makes DVDs look great.

3) PS2 compatibility. We have one of those 1st-gen 60GBs that play PS2 games -- and we still play PS2 games, like the original Karaoke Revolutions. It's great to play these games without memory cards and with wireless controllers.

4) Finally, the PS3 games. The PS3-exclusive games aren't bad -- they just have less mass appeal than the Xbox games. LittleBigPlanet isn't a dud, it's a wonderful game -- it just didn't drive sales. The PS3 store is full of interesting downloadable games -- Flow, the PixelJunk games, Echochrome, Everyday Shooter. For every Braid, the PS3 has 3 or 4 more interesting downloadables. With most of the "big" games being available for both platforms, it becomes more a question of gamer personality and how appealing the exclusives look than anything else.

I'm the odd man out. Everyone loves the Xbox 360, and I have one and it's great and I'd recommend it, but honestly, I think the PS3 has more potential in the end. Microsoft's pulled ahead of the pack by releasing a great gaming system early and at a low price. The PS3 was late and pricy, but is really quite impressive and keeps getting better all the time. Sony has blown a lot of smoke, but the bit about it being underutilized by developers? I honestly believe that.

The three questions to ask yourself:

1) Will I get something out of Blu-Ray?
2) Which platform has more exclusive games that I want to play?
3) Do my friends all have Xbox 360s and want me to play online.
4) Which is most important to me: online play with my friends, the exclusive games, or Blu-Ray?

After answering those four, the answer should be fairly clear.
posted by eschatfische at 2:14 PM on January 8, 2009

Sony is intentionally breaking PS2 backwards compatibility with the newer PS3s. If you care about this at all it might be worth it to seek out an older model.

posted by ODiV at 2:16 PM on January 8, 2009

You seem to be in exactly the same situation experiencing exactly the same emotions that I was about six months ago. In the end, I bit the bullet and went for the Xbox 360; I haven't regretted that decision.

I haven't the money or motivation to cultivate a Blu-ray collection; most of my DVD collection just sits around gathering dust. In an era when what's not downloadable is borrowable from Netflix or other similar service, there's just no reason to own your own data anymore (to the extent that you ever "owned" it). That plus the very real comparative dearth of quality games on the PlayStation 3 lends pretty strong favor to the Microsoft direction. Not helping things have been the Home and LittleBigPlanet nonstarts. As if that wasn't cause enough for depression among PS3 owners, there are rumors of late that Sony is on the brink of upheaval and that the PlayStation brand may be affected.

Other important factors to note:
The Red Ring of Death crisis has been averted. Models manufactured for the past year have had significantly lower failure rates and Microsoft has extended the warranties on new Xboxes.
Current-model PlayStation 3s are not backward compatible with PS2 games. If you want backward compatibility you will need to hunt down a used launch-model console.

I'm too old and too disinterested to be a fanboy for any company, product or device, but I would only advise considering a PlayStation 3 if either Blu-ray technology or significant console modification is a major draw for you. I think we'll start to see PS3 "exclusive" titles begin to migrate toward the Xbox at a significant rate in the very near future.
posted by UrbanEconomist at 2:20 PM on January 8, 2009

Sorry to hear that you loathe Microsoft. As an employee, I will promise to donate my entire cut of your Xbox purchase* to a good cause (probably high school robotics), and MS will match it 100%. This offer applies to any other mefite that wants to buy an Xbox too!

Biased opinion - I really enjoy my Xbox.

* Around $0.0005, but I'll round up.
posted by Diddly at 2:20 PM on January 8, 2009

Sony is the Microsoft of the gaming world. Unless you want a Blu-ray player, I think a 360 is no-brainer.
posted by gnutron at 2:20 PM on January 8, 2009

Will you be playing online at all? Interested in downloadable games and content? If so, the Xbox is undoubtedly the way to go. Sony is years behind on this front.
posted by chrisamiller at 2:23 PM on January 8, 2009

A still, small voice advocating the PS3. I've got it, and I love it. A lot of the features that the PS3 has from the get go are external add ons for the Xbox, like the wifi mentioned above. Do you still have to buy an external HD for Xbox (asking because I don't know these days).

For me, the selling point is that the PS3 is pretty much region free. I bought mine here in Japan, and set it to English, and everything works, in English. There are games that are bilingual, fully. Put them in a Japanese system, they'll run in Japanese. Put them in an English system, they'll work just fine in English. The list is getting bigger all the time (important for me, I guess, maybe not for you).

Finally, Sony's online stuff is free. There is no Xbox Live Gold needing a subscription, and no stripped down silver for non-payers. While Home might be a disappointment, I haven't bothered to check, because I picked it up to play games, not to do virtual reality chat. If that is your thing, well, the first version of everything tends to suck. It will get better. That, and the PS Store online has a lot of older games that you can download.

Finally, it's very, very simple to replace your HD with a larger one. 80GB too small? Sony actually publishes information on how to replace it.

One thing, though. The backwards compatibility is dead. It died with the media card reader and four USB ports. That sucks.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:24 PM on January 8, 2009

Response by poster: In terms of pricing alone, I just realised this: PS3 online multiplayer is free. XBox 360 is not. So within under a year, pricing becomes a moot point.

And yes, were I to buy a PS3, it would be an older model with backwards compatibility. Sony's not scoring many points with me doing that. My current PS2 won't last forever, and FF10 in widescreen would make me weep.
posted by spamguy at 2:26 PM on January 8, 2009

Response by poster: Diddly: sorry about trashing your employer; nothing personal, naturally. Ironically, my day salary comes from writing C# in Visual Studio. Also, with the departure of Bill Gates and the success of Firefox and Apple, MS has mellowed. Any hostilities I still keep are from how they did business in the 80s and 90s and their evasion of antitrust litigation. If I did the sensible thing and let it all go, I would probably be a happier, healthier person for it.
posted by spamguy at 2:40 PM on January 8, 2009

On the PS3, it seems there's a collective emphasis on the experience of the person, at the cost of multiplayer. On the 360, it's the reverse. Did anyone play Metal Gear Solid 4 for the multiplayer? Halo 3 for the story? (Be serious.)

I have a PS3, and that's because I can count on a steady (if slow) stream of games that engage the need to take something away from the experience, as opposed to indulging the urge to annihilate one's quasi-real friends.
posted by trotter at 2:41 PM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

-The netflix streaming on the 360 is better than what you get on your pc (with the same internet connection)

-there is no subscription for playing the ps3 online (last I heard, there is for the xbox)

-ps3 has a blu ray player

-ps3 does still play ps1 games, so there IS still some backwards compatability, and you could pick up a used one with ps2 compatability

-I have seen comparisons of graphics on and the xbox usually edges out the playstation, though not by as much as the pc

-there are more 360 games, but there is no shortage of ps3 games (at least for me, depends howmuch you play)

I have a ps3 and a wii, and the wii collects dust. I like the free multiplayer infrastructure that the wii doesn't have. I have a netflix/bluray subscription, and think I would never buy a movie on either console. The physical blu ray disc is a better image than the streaming video on the 360.
posted by kenbennedy at 2:44 PM on January 8, 2009

Like you, I'm a Mac devotée who earns his living in .NET.

I own an Xbox. It's the most "un-Microsoft" piece of tech they put out. It's a great media center (which you can use with your Mac, with some shareware), and the games library is fantastic.

Blu-Ray seems, IMO, the only reason to get a PS3. Prices on drives, however, will continue to fall- by the end of the year, we'll see a slew of sub-$200 models.
posted by mkultra at 3:00 PM on January 8, 2009

I have both. After all, why pick between blondes and brunettes when you can have both? :-)

The PS3 has Blue Ray. That is one big plus. I shot my mouth off how the 360 has Blue Ray on the other thread and Microsoft hasn't helped me out. I know they have a prototype add on but so far they haven't released anything commercial. That is one thing on the PS3's side. It is much quieter. The remote control is Bluetooth however, so if you are one of those people who want an all-in-one remote like the Logitech Harmony you can do it, but you have to do some jury rigging to get it there.

I like the 360 much better for gaming. I think the control layout is much better. The Xbox Live Experience, although it is paid, is far superior then what the PS3 offers. The online gaming is much better. The 360 can be used to for a Media Extender if you have a PC at home. You can use Play On with the PS3 but the 360 can stream Netflix native. The 360 has taken care of its hardware issues and seems to be solid now.

To summarize, I would pick the 360 hands down for gaming and the PS3 for moving watching.
posted by Silvertree at 3:01 PM on January 8, 2009

I've found that hi-tech bells and whistles (DVD players, HD, widescreen, blah blah blah) don't matter NEARLY as much as the games. Which one has more games on it that you want to play?

Also, online play. If you really like online play and PvP, the 360 definitely has a better infrastructure for that, regardless of cost. PS3 is developing theirs, but since it's not as established it's going to take time before it can compete with the 360 (I personally don't think it will be up to par until the next generation of consoles, but that's just my guess).
posted by thejrae at 3:10 PM on January 8, 2009

I've been a Linux user since 1994, I haven't used a Microsoft OS for any longer stretch than an hour since then, and I tend to avoid Microsoft whenever possible.

I bought an Xbox 360 late last year for just about all the reasons everyone has already listed.
posted by the dief at 3:12 PM on January 8, 2009

Oh yeah, I also had a PS2 and PSX and loved them both.
posted by the dief at 3:12 PM on January 8, 2009

I have a 360 and a Wii, and it's frustrating in some ways. Everything about the 360 design is proprietary with the intent to maximize profits. The hard drive is SATA internally, but uses a different port externally. The 360 doesn't have built in wifi, but you can buy an adapter for a mere 100 dollars! The wireless controller and microphones are not Bluetooth, but some other nameless 2.4Ghz protocol. I assume it was a mistake that the microphone headset is a standard connector, since the official wired headset has extra prongs. It can connect to other Media Centers, using a goofy extension to UPnP A/V, which deserves extra credit, because they were the ones who invented UPnP.

Between the Wii and the 360, Microsoft definitely "gets" online gaming. Some of this service difference is due to Microsoft officially requiring Live participants be of age (however loosely enforced). But being able to invite a friend to play Mario Kart seems like a good, missing Wii feature. Game chat is hit and miss on the 360. For every nice guy who offers you advice is someone screaming "Kill Whitey" or "niggerniggernigger". Beyond that, Microsoft went to the trouble of making a proprietary version of ELO ratings (chess ratings, found in lots of places, like Yahoo! Spades), and actually published it's inner workings. This is handy for things wildly different than chess games, like 32 versus 32 player Halo games.

But if the PS2 was your console, you might consider a Wii. The Wii has a lot of downloadable old games you've missed out on ;)
posted by pwnguin at 3:19 PM on January 8, 2009

[Disclosure: just bought my own Xbox 360 after my PS2 died ]

When it comes to being anti big companies, I am no fan of Microsoft, but didn't Sony put rootkits in their CD's at one point? That's the digital (but certainly not moral) equivalent of small-pox blankets, right? I also remember some controversy over the. Blu-Ray format DRM being uber restrictive and "evil" as well... I don't remember.

but I am not keeping score nor do I really have an ax to grind either way. I really don't care about the newest and best (like I said, kept my PS2 until it turned to dust, would still be playing it if it hadn't), so blu-ray is not a draw at all (hell, I'm still playing on a CRT TV from like late 90's!).

The kicker for me was the new jasper chip set (hopefully) fixing the BRD issue and MOST IMPORTANTLY Net-flix! Granted, instant is only like 1/10th of their total movie collection, but plenty good ones I have not seen. And the way the market is going it will be like 1/3 to 1/2 of all movies will be available instant in a year or two.

When I want to play something strategically deep I play on my PC.
posted by DetonatedManiac at 3:22 PM on January 8, 2009

this web is not as complex as you think it is, and your loathing of microsoft (no matter how justified) should not force you to take the inferior system. there are, at most, 2 or 3 games on the playstation 3 you would want to play that you can't get on the 360, and their online service is apparently really lacking.

but to answer your morals question: i see the 360, outside of MS's ruthless anti-competitive practices, as the sounder buy from a "supporting good workmanship" standpoint. in a time where consoles are becoming more than game playing units, the 360 has lead the way. the RRoD's are unfortunate, but backed by a 3 year warranty no questions asked. I'm inclined to see that as a good faith effort.
posted by shmegegge at 3:45 PM on January 8, 2009

*ahem* My vote is... 360, 360, 360, 360, 360.
As a 'hardcore' gamer for, like, the last 20 years or so, I own nearly every gaming system known to man. Well, that's probably not totally true, but I do own quite a few. Including all the next-gen consoles currently out. My wife plays the crap out of our Wii, we use the PS3 to watch movies, and I actually play videogames on the 360. Lately, Fallout3, Left 4 Dead, Mirror's Edge, and even the latest GTA keep me from accomplishing most of my daily chores. Plus, man, nothing has me hooked on the 360 like the achievement/gamerscore function. It's pretty sad, I guess, that I'm like 600 points away from hitting 20k and I've been considering renting King Kong just because I heard that it's easy to unlock the 1000 points off of it (you just have to beat it through once!). Plus, XBL Arcade has a great pinball game, Geometry Wars, a revamped Bionic Commando.... yeah. I'm not a huge MS fanboy, but the 360 is easily the best console of the current generation.
posted by Bageena at 3:49 PM on January 8, 2009

Which of the three evils is the biggest?

Hard to say, for me there's actually a fourth evil I'd put on that list and that's I absolutely loathe Sony and their habit of trying to drive a format with their players (Betamax, memory stick, Minidisc, etc) coupled with their content divisions' rabid lawyers running around.
Technically, Sony makes really good equipment which is why it's such a crying shame that I hate their business practices with every fiber of my being.

I hate Microsoft, not for their evil monopolistic practices, but for their mediocracy. The monopoly thing was arguably a good thing since it solidified one platform for practically every business and home user to run on and be compatible back before there was a wide open everywhere Internet to render such needs largely obsolete. It was just once they had the monopoly they were content to sit back and be blah on almost everything.

Which leads to my point vis a vis your question. It seems this generation Sony is acting like PC software world Microsoft (see Katarugi's statements like "You'll want to get a second job to get a PS3" etc) because of the enormous success of the PSX and PS2, but that's not working out very well for them now.

Microsoft, on the other hand is the relative newcomer to the party, and it appears they act like it and work their asses off to compensate. I must admit, when I first heard about Microsoft making a game console back in the late 90s, I laughed my ass off. But they gave it a good try and the Xbox wasn't as crappy as I expected it to be, in fact it was all right. Microsoft's work with the Live platform makes for relatively effortless matchmaking with a unified interface. It just works. The 360 improved the horsepower considerably, and the controllers were even more refined (I think the best gamepad to be had is the 360's), plus the hi-def support is there, and it even supports native VGA out for my projector. The games are just as good as the PS3, there aren't any platform exclusives on the Playstation that interest me, so I went with Microsoft and Nintendo this generation.

So I'd say the 360
posted by barc0001 at 3:51 PM on January 8, 2009

Like the post's author, the PS2 was my first console in a long time (since my Atari 2600 in fact). I bought my PS2 relatively late in its life cycle (about 3 years ago) and have gotten a *lot* of use out of it, for not much money. I really love my PS2.

For the past several months, now that I'm finally ready to buy a current-gen console, I've researched, weighed all the options, and come to the following conclusion:

The only real option is the PS3. Xbox360, which many love, is waning technology and weaker hardware. Wii is a toy (I may buy a Wii in addition to my PS3, but not instead of). Blu-Ray is the highest quality video delivery system available right now, and I have a large HDTV, so I want that. Most importantly, as of year-end 2008, there are numerous critically acclaimed, high quality games for the PS3 that I really, really want, which are either exclusive to or available on the PS3 (this was not necessarily the case at the end of 2007).

If I bought a 360, though it's cheaper (and I'm a cheapskate), I'd feel like I'm buying inferior technology.
posted by onesix18 at 3:53 PM on January 8, 2009

My vote is for a PS3.

The 360 is a fine console. But consider this;

1: To get a bigger hard drive for your 360 will set you back between US $100 to $150 depending on whether or not you get a 60GB or 80GB drive. The PS3 meanwhile comes with an 80GB drive as standard and if you need extra space, which you very well might (see #2 in a moment), you can just go and buy a 500GB 2.5" notebook drive for ever so slightly more. Best of all, swapping the drives is easy to do and it dosen't void your warranty (Sony even tells you how to do it in the PS3 manual).

2: Why might you want that 500GB drive? Because of PlayTV, that's why. Click the link. Read. Then come back and finish reading.

3: It's a media server, just like the 360. So no comparison, perhaps, but at least you're not losing out if you get a PS3 over a 360.

4: It plays BluRay discs. It's also the most upgradable BluRay player on the market today.

5: It upscales your existing DVD collection to 1080i.

6: Little Big Planet, despite what you've been told, is no dud. It was just overhyped, perhaps a fault of Sony, but it's a fine game and well worth buying.

7: Resistance 2 is one of the greatest games you will ever play. Watch this video. Then tell me you don't want to play it. The first game, Resistance, wasn't too bad either.

As I said, the 360 is a fine console, and if you bought it, you won't go wrong. But in my opinion, the PS3 edges the 360 out by having Bluray capabilities and upscaling capabilities. You're right when you say that Sony fucked up the roll out of the PS3, but don't let that rob you of getting what is, in my opinion, a better, more versatile console.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:04 PM on January 8, 2009

They're both good systems. I would like to point out that the PS3's Blu-Ray player is only a bonus if Blu-Ray has a future. While it did win the format war, it doesn't appear to be winning consumers' hearts. Personally I'd get a... dammit, I don't know either. It's a tough choice.
posted by chairface at 4:44 PM on January 8, 2009

Both of the consoles are media extenders, but I much prefer the PS3 for this purpose. I'm not at all happy with the Xbox as a media player — I've gone through two different Xbox Elites (RRoD claimed the first one) and they both drop frames on HD DVD, SD DVD, and TVersity playback from my home PC (which is on a fully wired network with both consoles). Maybe I just got unlucky with two bum consoles, but it doesn't make me optimistic about the performance of a hypothetical third one.

The PS3, on the other hand, plays Blu-ray, DVD, and TVersity content at HD resolution flawlessly. Hell, better than flawlessly -- the upscaling of DVD content is remarkable. If you're interested in Blu-ray playback, it's still a steal. Best player on the market.

As far as games go, I really enjoy several of the downloadable games -- Pain is a gas as a party game, and my wife and I really enjoyed both Pixeljunk Monsters and The Last Guy. And I don't have to pay for the privilege of letting 12-year-old boys call me a "retard" and a "faggot" in multiplayer mode because PS3 multiplayer is gratis.

That said, I do pay for Xbox Live Gold because streaming NetFlix straight to my TV (even in the lousy quality offered) is just too cool. I tried plugging my laptop into the TV, but it has a hard time driving the video in full-screen mode, so the Xbox is much more convenient.

Also, I'm generally meh on current-generation console titles, but Little Big Planet is freaking awesome. Don't believe the unhype.

I'm happy we have the Wii, but it rarely gets fired up these days. Boom Blox was the last real fun I had on that system, and the wife hasn't been able to find a copy of Wii Fit on store shelves yet, so, you know. Meh.
posted by Joey Bagels at 6:26 PM on January 8, 2009

I was in a similar situation a couple years ago, and I decided on a 360. Like you, I'm not necessarily real crazy about either Microsoft or Sony. And in my case, it was a contributing factor that, while I own a PS2, I'd never owned an original-Xbox. Several of my pals own PS3s (more own 360s though). Most everything I'm going to say has probably already been said, but here goes:

The 360 does online and multiplayer better. I'd say it does casual and party gaming better too, but that's more open to debate. I'd also say the 360 does popular-in-the-US genres (like sports games and FPSs) better. Like somebody says above, I think that the Xbox team pretty much gets it.

The PS3 does non-game stuff better. The hardware's nicer (even putting the RRoD stuff aside), the media features are nicer, etc. It might turn out to have a longer life expectancy, but it's hard to be sure about that. And it used to do backwards-compatibility better, but this is no longer the case.

And one more thing: if you have real and sincere moral reservations about both companies, don't give your money to either goddamn one of 'em. Buy a Wii. Or, do as millions of people are doing, and just keep playing PS2. But, since you mention your MS mouse and your PS2, it doesn't seem like your moral principles are very important to you (or maybe 'moral principles' isn't the best way to describe them). If these moral objections aren't important enough to make you buy a mouse from Logitech or somebody, then I don't think they're a very good criterion on which to base your console-buying decision.
posted by box at 6:27 PM on January 8, 2009

I worked in the video game industry for a while and will tell you that one of the big complaints from the producers was that Sony was a pain to work with about getting content and functionality specific to the PS3 licensed and greenlit so we'd write for the X360 and port a dumbed down version to PS3.
posted by legotech at 7:14 PM on January 8, 2009

I'll chime in and say that the XBOX 360 is terrific in terms of game library. I have a *huge* list of games that I want to play on it (and have played several), but my list of games that I want to play for the PS3 is limited to... LittleBigPlanet. And I'm not even sure about that one.

My rule of thumb for buying a game console is: make a list of all the games that I would play on it (anything that is out now or is nearly guaranteed to come out for it, so I included FFXII on my list). If it's over 5 (or in your case, if it's greater than the number of games for the other console), then I'd get it.

And, to be honest, I think Microsoft has been getting better. They're certainly trying, and I don't see them being as evil as they were back in the days of Netscape. (Note: I may be biased since I've worked for them.)
posted by jasminerain at 7:52 PM on January 8, 2009

I've posted in this thread already, but having came back and read it again, I think it speaks volumes that a significant portion of the pro-PS3 comments(I'm not going to say "majority" because I'm not willing to do a definite count) list the Blu-Ray/media components of the machine as the first/major recommendation.

Just wanted to throw that out there.
posted by owtytrof at 8:20 AM on January 9, 2009

Its worth mentioning that blu-ray players are now around 200 and will probably hit 150 or even 100 very soon as the format gets picked up by more and more people. The idea that the ps3 is the only affordable BD player is no longer true. Personally, I hate using game consoles for media players. Why tie up two functions? Someone should be able to play a game on one tv and watch a movie on another.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:51 AM on January 9, 2009

The idea that the ps3 is the only affordable BD player is no longer true. Personally, I hate using game consoles for media players. Why tie up two functions? Someone should be able to play a game on one tv and watch a movie on another.

Wait, is the logic I'm supposed to follow here "wait for Blu-Ray prices to come down, then buy another tv"?
posted by mkultra at 9:11 AM on January 9, 2009

No, but if you have multiple TVs it sucks to have the one device that does all these things tied up to one TV. If you have one single TV, then yes, youre better off with a single device. My current setup is the 360 on an old spare TV and a bluray player/htpc on the new HDTV. Someone can watch a movie in one room and play a game in another as opposed to listening to whining about "Come on, finish your game I want to watch the Matrix."

Not to mention youre stressing out one machine as opposed spreading out the load to two machines. If that PS3 breaks then youre out both a BD player and a gaming machine.

The BD advantage made sense when these things were 500 dollars, but at 150-200 not so much.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:24 AM on January 9, 2009

Response by poster: For any curious people visiting: a full ten months after writing this question, I made my decision. I wavered constantly, but chose the PS3 in the end. The introduction of the Slim, the price cut, and a good future of exclusives sealed it for me. Generally, I'm quite pleased with my purchase.
posted by spamguy at 6:29 AM on November 2, 2009

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