With all this nutty hype and hoopla surrounding the PS3 – and it's going to get even more crazy this week – maybe you're asking yourself, "why should I bother with this thing?" After all, there are several downsides to consider; price and availability are only a couple of them. However, we at PSX Extreme are confident that we've established the top 10 best reasons to pursue a PS3 purchase.
So here they are, and if you can’t identify with any of them, well…that’s your prerogative.
10: Continued Diversity
If there’s one thing the PlayStation consoles have always excelled at, it’s diversity. The PS2 was the most diverse gaming platform of the last generation, sporting representatives from most every genre in the industry. The system was the first to bring the tradition of Parappa back (which began on the original PS, of course), and in so doing, fully established the rhythm/dance genre. Amplitude , Frequency , Gitaroo-Man , and Mad Maestro are only a few selections from the genre, and it wasn’t until much later that the Xbox finally followed suit with a Dance Dance Revolution installment.
The PS2 also featured that niche set of games known as strategy/RPGs; the likes of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness , Ring of Red , and Phantom Brave solidified that particular category – among others – and it didn’t end there. While the GameCube did end up having a few select Japanese RPGs, the Xbox never got one, and the reigning king of RPGs for yet another generation was a PlayStation console. And finally, you’ve got those quirky unique titles like Katamari Damacy , Shadow of the Colossus , and Okami that really add flavor to the library.
And all indications thus far are that the PS3 will continue this trend. There’s a similar level of support, and we’re already hearing about titles in each of the aforementioned genres. So if you want the largest selection and biggest variety, chances are, you may want to turn to the PS3 in the next generation.
9: PlayStation Store
It’s going to offer old PS1 classics, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Much like the already established Xbox Live Marketplace, the Store is going to feature updates, demos, and other downloadable goodies you won’t want to miss out on. And furthermore, rather than adopting that somewhat bizarre “Points” system, the straightforwardness of the simple price tags are a refreshing, and most logical, change. Chances are, you’re going to be browsing through the store many times to check out what’s new in the world of games, and that serves multiple purposes.
It’s one of those options that the “new-age” gamer just won’t be able to live without, and given some time and the PS3’s built-in functionality, the PlayStation Store may end up being the most fully realized online console marketplace.
8: Third-Party Support
Another area where the PS2 excelled was clearly the immense third-party support. And initially, there was some question as to whether or not old Sony allies would return to work with the PS3. But over the past six months or so, it’s become relatively clear that most of the biggest names in the industry are back on board. From EA to Square-Enix to Konami to Capcom, Sony has retained their most valuable assets and plan to push forward with those same well-established relationships. This links nicely with #10, because without this support, there wouldn’t be any such diversity.
Over the years, we can expect to see changes in loyalties ad general support, but for the most part, Sony is entering another generation with plenty of backing. The only question is whether or not the system is popular enough to keep those third-party-ers fat and happy. …and based on the clamoring throngs desperately trying to get their hands on a PS3, that question may have a definitive answer soon enough.
7: Enhanced Online Service
It was fairly common knowledge that Microsoft had the best online program in Xbox Live, but given the capabilities of the PS3 and Sony’s newfound emphasis on Internet cooperation and functionality, things are changing with the PS3. A good example of this enhanced focus is the launch title, Resistance: Fall of Man , which allows up to 40 players online at once. That’s a far cry from the maximum of 16 in Halo 2 (and reports say that 16-player maximum returns for Halo 3 >), and thus far, all feedback concerning the online Resistance experience has been overwhelmingly positive.
Overall, we can certainly expect a more complete online service from the PlayStation Network with the advent of the PS3. Live already has a healthy head-start in terms of quality and popularity, but the PlayStation Network is poised to meet the Live challenge in the years to come.
6: Multimedia Functionality
All you have to do is take one look at the Users Guide (found here ), and you’ll see that the PS3’s Cross Media Bar is chock full of menu options. From the completely detailed system settings and picture adjustments to the extras like photos, media, and music, the PS3 is primed to offer a ton of extra multimedia goodies. PSP owners can expect something very similar to their interface, but with the first PS3 update ( version 1.10 ), the Cross Bar will be a bit heftier.
Those who love to fiddle around with their hardware can’t possibly miss the nice array of functions found on the PS3, so all you tech geeks should take notice. Hell, this console will even let you run Linux, if you so choose! It’s a fiddler’s dream come true, plain and simple.
Destined to be in a bitter war with HD-DVD, there are a few lingering questions about how the general public will take to this expensive new video-viewing technology. However, it’s yet another upgrade from the supposedly “archaic” DVD, and those truly obsessed with picture quality will likely get excited about what Blu-Ray can offer. Whether you want it for your games or your movies, it matters little; what matters is the level of clarity and sharpness we can expect. Is it superior to HD-DVD? Perhaps in time, it will become more clear
But for now, at the very least, we can say that Blu-Ray is one of the most intriguing new video technologies to come about in quite some time. It’s just one of those things that screams potential, and despite the business-related questions, that potential is undeniable. And if you’re so inclined, feel free to wonder how this new technology might impact future video games…
4: PSP Connectivity
We knew there’d be some sort of connectivity between the two consoles, but we really had no idea how far Sony had gone until we got wind of that Remote Play feature. With that nifty option, just about any content stored on the PS3 is viewable on the PSP, and in fact, those downloadable PS1 classics purchased at the Store are only playable on the PSP. Furthermore, given time, they’re even talking about fully roaming wireless, so you could theoretically communicate with your PS3 via the PSP from across the state. At first, it’ll be limited to how far your wireless network can reach, but those roaming plans are in full effect.
The transfer possibilities are simply outstanding, and with the proper setups, you can really dig in to both consoles and take full advantage. One day soon, you should be able to walk up to your friend and say, “hey, wanna check out the latest screenshots from that new PS3 game coming out next week?” Then you’ll just hand over the PSP so he can ogle the pics. Sweet idea, yes?
3: General Hardware Power and Potential
Granted, the Cell processor has been hyped through the roof, and while the cries of “the 360 is easier to develop for!” ring long and loud, the potential of the PS3 hardware on the whole is quite staggering. We honestly have no idea just how much of this power game developers will be able to effectively access, or how long that will take (compare PS2 launch titles to the most recent, for example), but it’s something to consider. We have to see where the system begins, what devs were able to accomplish with that complicated architecture, and attempt to gauge how much further they can go. Really, that’s a fun trip to take.
It’s always difficult to tell where a console will stand four or five years down the road, especially when it comes to visuals, but given the power and potential of the PS3, it’s safe to assume there’s plenty of room to grow. What we see today isn’t likely what we’ll see a few years from now, and that is one intriguing fact.
2: Backwards Compatibility
It may seem standard and even arbitrary by some people’s standards, but it’s truly one of the more appealing facets of the PS3. The Xbox 360’s backwards compatibility program is taking some time to fully unravel, and even some of the titles that are b/c don’t work as well as they should. For the Wii, the GameCube titles are playable, but any games beyond that have a price tag next to them. With the PS3, the vast majority (and by “vast majority,” we mean most every one) of PS1 and PS2 titles can be played instantly without any sort of update or system alteration. This means the PS3 is capable of playing around 1500 games right off the bat!
Furthermore, if you take that massive installed userbase into account, there are a ton of gamers out there with significant PS1 and PS2 collections, and it’s a 100% positive to be able to pop in Metal Gear Solid one minute and Final Fantasy X the next. So if you’ve got a lot of catching up to do, there’s no reason to hold onto your PS2: if you still want to play the likes of God of War 2 and Final Fantasy XII , or if you’ve got a half-dozen PS2 games sitting there waiting to be unwrapped, none of this is stopping you from upgrading your console. It’s all playable on the PS3, and that is easily one of the most alluring features of Sony’s new system.
1: Exclusive Big-Name Franchises
Let’s face it- when it comes to pushing systems, it’s all up to the software, and while backwards compatibility is a great thing, the appeal will fade a bit over time. Therefore, the biggest factor concerning console sales are the well-known “system sellers.” With the PS2, there was a massive hardware spike when Gran Turismo 3 released, and another spike with the advent of Grand Theft Auto III and Final Fantasy X . And even if upcoming installments in the GTA and Metal Gear Solid franchises are only time-exclusive, that “time” is still a very big deal when it comes to system sales.
The Wii will have their traditional mascots do the talking (Metroid, Mario, and Zelda), but we do have to admit that Nintendo and Sony are targeting slightly different gamer demographics (in fact, Nintendo has admitted to as much in the past). And one of the biggest problems facing Microsoft is their establishment of “system-sellers;” only the Halo name has been worthy of that label thus far. But with the PS3, the names like Gran Turismo , Metal Gear Solid (MGS 4 remains a PS3 exclusive, despite the rumors), Final Fantasy (true FF fans know where the real series installments exist), and God of War will certainly assist in pushing systems.
What ultimately matters is if someone says to themselves, “I really want that game, and I can only play it on that platform.” And there are millions all over the globe who say these very words for games in those aforementioned franchises. Remember, while they are generally of the highest quality, it’s the name that is the most crucial. Gears of War is likely the most impressive 360 title to-date, and while the quality might affect system sales, the name isn’t helping in the least. It’s just the way of the game world.