Thursday, September 13, 2007

Your favorite game system stinks!

If you follow video game news or discussion sites, you know there's a "console war" going on right now, with millions of fanboys flaming owners of competing systems while praising the system they personally own as some kind of machine god. This post is an attempt to show that each of these systems have horrible, horrible flaws.

I own all three of the current generation of console game systems, have played each of them extensively, and I think I'm well qualified to say the following: ALL OF THE GAME SYSTEMS STINK! Here's why.

1. Xbox 360

One of the biggest blunders in console manufacturing history, the 360 has a massive failure rate. The estimated number of 360s that have broken or will break is between 30-50% of ALL the 360s sold. And even when it's not broken, a large number of 360s run at an incredibly loud volume due to a flawed DVD-ROM drive. I have to hide my 360 behind a cabinet in order to keep its noise from distracting me.

Recently, Microsoft announced it would fork over nearly $2 billion dollars (BILLION!) to extend the warranty on the 360 to 3 years. This was after more than a year of deceptive press statements from Microsoft execs saying that the 360's failure rate was marginal and nothing to get worked up about. Fans of the 360 praised Microsoft for extending the warranty and giving out free repairs for broken 360s, but they forget that nothing is "free." Microsoft is a profit-driven corporation, and it's not going to just throw $2 billion out the window. They're going to try and make up for this elsewhere. Microsoft consumers of all kinds will be paying for this $2 billion mistake through higher prices for Microsoft services and software.

2. Playstation 3

The PS3 runs games at lower graphical quality than the 360, and yet the PS3 costs $150 more. One of the reasons the PS3 is so expensive is because Sony decided to use the PS3 as a way to introduce its Blu-Ray disc format to the public. Blu-Ray is a disc format that can store around 50 gigs of data on a disc, which lets people play HD quality movies on their HDTVs. The problem with this is that most people who buy the PS3 would've preferred the PS3 be cheaper, and devoid of Blu-Ray functionality, instead of having the technology forced into the console and its price without any benefit to the PS3's video game playing ability.

The PS3's controller is a step back in most ways from the PS2's controller, and is far inferior to the 360's. It lacks rumble features and instead features a terrible motion sensor gimmick. Unlike the Nintendo Wii's Wiimote, the Sixaxis controller's shape is not suitable for motion sensor gameplay at all. Even on this post here on the official Sony Playstation forums, many owners of the PS3 admit that Sony screwed up when it came to the motion sensor feature of the controller.

3. Wii

The Nintendo Wii is currently the leader of the "console wars," with sales far outnumbering and outpacing its competitors. At $250, the system is far cheaper than the 360 and PS3, and its motion sensor "Wiimote" controller makes games easier to play for the huge casual gamer market. But is it really a good value?

At its core, the Wii is nothing more than a Gamecube with a $200 controller attached to it. Its hardware specs are nearly identical to the Gamecube's, a system that came out 6 years ago and can be bought for $50 on Ebay. The Wii doesn't support HDTV resolutions at all, despite the fact that PC gamers have been in HD resolutions for more than 10 years now. And HDTVs are expected to become the standard TVs of households within the next few years. This poses a problem for the Wii because SDTV quality content looks considerably worse on an HDTV. In other words, as people get HDTVs, the graphics quality of Wii games will actually appear to get worse!

The Wii feels like it was outdated at the time of its release. The motion sensor controls are fun, but paying $250 is just too much.


mariedrennan said...

Wow, you really do a great job of dramatizing the world of video games! You make "console wars" come alive like a Star Wars installment. : )

Minor writing bug to fix: change "360's" to "360s" (don't use apostrophes to make plurals). Same with "PS3's".

Great start on your blog — I can see I'm going to learn a lot and enjoy it!

Jet said...

I really like this one!
I'm new to the world of video games, sporting only a DS Lite. But I'll play on my friend's consoles and I would always be so jealous. Now I know I can probably wait and something better will come out eventually. I do like the Wii though.