RE: Top 10 reasons the PS3 is failing (WTF?)

March 10, 2009 Written by Richard Allen

twistedmetal-sweet-tooth-mushroom-clowdThis is a rebuttal to a recent article by DigitalBattle entitled: Top 10 reasons the PS3 is failing
While I really disdain giving this site the traffic, it’s not a bad read if you have a good sense of humor.

For a moment I thought our beloved friends at the DigitalBattle had an issue with their RSS feed. They did a blast-from-the-past editorial list that was using data from quite some time ago. Evidently they have been living in a cave for the past two years and have not been updated on some of the the successes PS3 has seen in that time.

For the sake of being comprehensive I will respond to this one line item at a time. A few of the line items were very similar so this list is really a top six and not a top ten.

playstation3-2-skus10: Too Two many confusing SKUs

At this point in time, Sony only has two standard SKUs available via most retail channels. The 80 GB Edition and the 160GB Uncharted Edition. I have to assume the author can’t count to two. Furthermore, none of the PS3 SKUs are gimped, each one comes with at least an 80GB hard drive and WiFi. Xbox 360 on the other hand has three SKUs. One of which doesn’t have a hard drive, and was clearly manufactured to reach a price point and not gamer’s expectations. As far as the SKUs being confusing there are far more inconsistencies in the history of the Xbox 360 SKUs then there are in the history of PS3 SKUs. Does your Xbox have HDMI, how about a hard drive? My PS3 does, they all do.

ps3_proto9: Controller SNAFU

It is 2009, we are still hearing about the boomerang controller from E3 2005? How does a prototype controller design that never went into mass production have anything to do with the success or failure of an entire platform? When the PS3 was released it came packed with the more familiar shaped SixAxis. While this did lack the rumble features, it did add motion support. The SixAxis motion support was not as robust as a WiiMote, there are many games that use the SixAxis features lightly and they pull it off quite well. Early PS3 games (2006, early 2007) tried to rely to heavily on the technology for user input. After the Immersion lawsuit was settled in 2007, Sony released the DualShock 3.

ken-kutaragi-small8: Sony arrogance

Sony’s arrogance pretty much ended when Ken Kutaragi left Sony in 2007. Love him or hate him, he is the father of PlayStation. The same console that brought video games out of the back of CES and helped to create E3. Arrogance alone will not cause your products to fail. Steve Jobs are great examples of this; everything you do you are locked into Apple. Although Sony has not completely opened up the PS3, the platform does have many features that provide PS3 customers with choice outside of the Sony brand. The Xbox 360, by design, requires that any significant upgrades use Microsoft parts, which are limited in options.

Blu-Ray is hands down the best visual and audio experience you can have in your home. The fact is, if you can’t see the difference between Blu-Ray and a DVD, then you may need to consider getting an HDTV.  Sony saw and seized the opportunity to launch a new format to satisfy both needs.   True next gen gaming requires additional storage to deliver that experience. John Carmack at ID Software is on record with his concerns with the relatively tiny storage afforded on the Xbox 360.

Blu-Ray was a huge risk for Sony, but they proved they had the moxie to pull it off. What do you do with an HD-DVD attachment that goes for $40 on ebay?

gabenewell-small-yet-big-like-jabba7: A developer’s bag of hurt

Most of your developer bitch fest about the PS3 was when the hardware was still very new. The thing was a beast. Surprisingly, most of the louder (and fatter) developers out there were using the Xbox 360 as their primary development platform. Criterion, for example, started development on the PS3 then ported to 360. The result was a multiplatform game that looks great on both systems and no fanbait developer comments for us to chew on.

Valve is already eating crow; Sony’s PS3 development platform has come leaps and bounds from where it was in its infancy. They have a huge amount of development talent that shares information on how to tame the beast. This information often makes its way into the development platform in some form or another.

I have to categorically reject that making a platform easy to code for is some kind of shangri-la of the ultimate gaming experience. Furthermore if it’s true, everyone should already own a PS3 because LittleBigPlanet requires NO programming skills and you can create games with literally no budget. 😉

6: (Very) Expensive manufacturing costs

Coincides with…

xbox_360_rrod2: Still the most expensive console

Cuttingedge components carry a price tag. As a hard core gamer, I want my console of choice to include high quality cutting-edge technology. I prefer the former strategy over the use of nearly off-the-shelf components, throwing it together in a manufacturing plant that is the lowest bidder, and dealing with any hardware issues in “software updates”. The worst thing about the Xbox strategy is, in the end, the gamers pay with a beautiful red ring. The PS1 and PS2 have proven Sony is committed to a 10-year lifespan for each console. The PS3, like the PS2, is a console that will last beyond its generation.

Is the PS3 the most expensive console or is it the best value? It wasn’t that long ago that Blu-Ray players were more expensive then PS3s. If you have a Hi Def television, Blu-Ray is the clear choice for your disc based movie viewing. While streams and upscaling are convenient features it’s often no match for the fidelity of Blu-Ray, and few selections offer true digital surround sound.

Anyone who purchases a PS3 can take it out of the box and log into the PlayStation Network completely unhindered by restrictions and free of charge. I can use virtually any USB device with the system which also has a flash-compatible web browser to boot.

5: Still no strong game library

Coincides with…

4: Weak Ports

Coincides with…

3: “Killer-apps”: too few, too late

Coincides with…

1: Loss of exclusive titles
Over the past year and a half the PS3 game library has been on par, if not better, than the Xbox 360’s. Many of the weak ports were mostly Pre-2008 and even more were pre-2007. Some have even received patches to correct the inadequacies.  Whatever exclusives Sony has lost or were perceived to have lost, they have more then made up for with first party development.

ps3-only-games-covers

In my opinion, the PS3 was a killer app out of the box. What it lacks in number of game titles it makes up for in quality. If you browse MetaCritic, you will  find the average review score for PS3 games is higher than the average score for Xbox 360 or the dismally-scored Wii. That includes all the so-called weak ports. Which just goes to show how strong their first party library is.

At the end of the day, if you have a decent PC and a PS3, there is no reason why you won’t be able to play 95% of the games out there in some form or another. I am getting ahead of myself there, as that is for another story.