28
Nov
06

Musings from the Community on the PS3

Greetings! I know it’s been awhile, but I can’t stop playing Zelda! (In all seriousness, I’ve been in the process of changing jobs and I haven’t had much time to post. I have a Wii review coming in a day or so.

A good friend of mine posted this thoughts on the PS3. Keep in mind that he doesn’t own a PS3, but he’s giving an interesting perspective. Let him know if you agree or not. (My thoughts on Mike’s thoughts are at the bottom of the post.)

——————————
Thoughts on the PS3
by Michael Williams

After months of anticipating the release of the Sony Playstation 3, I can finally release the tension and breathe easier. The Playstation 3 has finally arrived. But, after waiting almost a year, I recently I asked myself, “Is the Playstation 3 really better than the Xbox 360.” Now, that question probably won’t be answered anytime soon. Because of the PS3 highly anticipated release, a large community of gamers camped out at stores days before its release, making it difficult for me to even purchase one. I’m not a camp-out person. So, it’s more convenient for me to say “If Sony waited an extra year to release its next generation console, and then they should have made 1,000,000 consoles available.” I know many of us got to be wondering and thinking the same thing.

What really was the hold up? Well, I have been doing a lot of console evaluating on of the PS3 and I’m glad I didn’t purchase it on release day. Articles I have read on the post-PS3 era, does not give it the awaited, highly, revolutionary, next generation game console appeal it deserves.

So, Sony delays the release of the PS3 a year after Xbox 360, its competitor. Then, only makes 400,000 consoles available in North America and 100,000 in Japan. Then, we find out that the price tag on the console does not benefit them and they are taking a loss. We all know why they are taking loss-(somebody say Blue-ray). Well, it now appears to me, that they are definitely having financial problems.

I for one would want to think, with all the hype and anticipation surrounding the PS3 for almost a year, if they had made 1,000,000 consoles available on release day, they would have sold that many within 3 days, easily. Why did they really wait a year and only put out 1% of the demand?

I’ll give you my opinion on why, and it simple. It wouldn’t do any better, waiting any longer. Microsoft Xbox 360 is the success they feared.

I recently researched an article that has really discouraged me from purchasing a PS3. The articles stated that Microsoft sells its HD-DVD disk drive as an add-on, while Sony PS3 has the Blue-Ray disk drive integrated with it unit. What if something was to go wrong with the drive? Let’s say, the disk gets stuck, or just stops working. We would have no way to replace it, unless Sony wants to fix it. Now, how difficult will that be and the key word is difficult.

If you look at the PS3 disk drive, it’s not a door that you can manually open or that retracts automatically. It’s a mechanism that grabs the disk. Now, when that mechanism stops working, it’s over. That’ right, it’s all over. Let a game disk get stuck in there. How you going to get it out?

I remember an old Compaq Presario computer I had years ago. Remember Compaq? Compaq Presario use to be a competitive company in the CPU business, until they started including that stupid disk drive on certain models. Well, the Playstation 3 has that same disk drive and let me tell you, it’s going to cause a lot of problems. I’ll give that disk drive a year or two of grabbing your game disk and it will malfunction. By that time, the warranty will be expired and then on to the next phase of the Sony Playstation 3 experience.

There are many other things I don’t like about the Sony Playstation 3 and I probably will still buy one, anyway. I only feel Sony is cheating us out of the hype and expectation they sold us.

Microsoft may be that next generation leading console. After all, it’s less expensive, and they already sold more units. Furthermore, with Christmas season around the corner and Sony Playstation 3’s in such scarcity, Xbox 360 will definitely be this holiday seasons best gift under the tree.

———————————————–

Devron’s Thoughts:

I certainly have to agree with Mike on one thing — the PS3 is certainly not worth $599 — at least it isn’t right now. There are just too many other compelling experiences to be found for less money. Gears of War on the 360. A Wii with Wii Sports and Zelda. Heck, perhaps even buying a PS2 and 10 Greatest Hits titles might yield a more enriching gaming experience. I think everyone has to agree that given a $599 price tag without any pack in games and a rather bleak selection of launch titles, buying the PS3 right now is essentially like buying a bond — the promise of the return happens “down the road.”

Regarding the shortages in available units, I’ve heard people alleging that Sony “held back stock” so that people would respond to it’s scarcity and regard the PS3 as the “it” item this holiday season. While that might have been the result, I’m positive that it wasn’t by design. The BluRay diode is apparently as difficult to make as Sony has eluded to. Reports last week indicated that Sony delivered less than half of the 400,000 units to the U.S. that they promised at launch at just over 125,000. The low totals have upset more than a few would be PS3 buyers. But I think there’s a completely different side to this which gamers should consider.

If we can think back to last year, there was a huge buzz around the Xbox 360 “Ring of Death” — where the machine would need to be sent in for repair. I recall seeing quite a few of these situations on Kotaku and Joystiq. IGN even acknowledged in a recent podcast that in the office there was a defect rate of about 30-40% of their systems. So, is Microsoft to be sent to the firing squad? Or even Sony for that matter? Probably not. Both the 360 and the PS3 are complicated, highly advanced next generation systems — computers, essentially. Putting each together takes hundreds of components, not to mention the software and firmware required to run the system. Considering the aggressive schedule for the release of both machines, I’m occasionally surprised that we didn’t see more faulty machines. I think it’s a testament to Sony and Microsoft that, although they’ve had a few hiccups out of the gate that essentially they were able to bring these projects across the finish line and release them into the wild. Also, Microsoft in particular should be commended for handling all of their repair issues with a timely and convenient response. Many have indicated that Microsoft will pre-ship you a unit (if you supply a credit card) expecting the customer to pack their dead 360 in the box and return it with the pre-paid postage. Sony has promised to do the same for the few folks that have claimed to have issues thus far. Speaking of which…..

I’ve seen the attached PS3 movie several places around the gaming press. It’s the only movie (and honestly the only report) I’ve seen or heard since launch. The gaming community speaks loudly — if this were a more wide-scale issue, I’m certain that we would have seen more instances of it.

The reason why Sony is taking a loss is the same reason why Microsoft is taking a loss. With almost every release of a gaming console, the systems are sold at a loss. This was true of the original Xbox, the PS2, the original PlayStation and even the Xbox 360. The model that is used is the ‘razor and razorblades model’. The hope is that the company will 1) make money on software sales and 2) re-engineer the production of the console, as to make it cheaper and yield a profit. Conincidentally, Nintendo is actually making a profit on the Wii from the start, which is highly unusual. I think selling at $250 is a mistake, but that’s another topic for debate.

Regarding thoughts that the HD-DVD drive, as an add-on, is easier to replace, I think this is approaching the issue from a “what if” perspective. I’ve owned well over 18 consoles and hand-held systems and I’ve had two that have had problems. None were systems that have been released since 2000. (My PS1 had the “heating” issue and my NES, like most others, probably needed cleaning, but my friends and I resorted to the “blowing technique”.) I don’t think that gamers should be concerned as much with, “what happens if my BluRay drive breaks” as they should the other important implications. For one, although the PS3 is more expensive, the all-in-one next generation design is going to offer more than a few benefits. From a purely aesthetic perspective, it’s a more elegant design than having a HD-DVD drive tethered to your console. Most would agree that the sleekly designed black PS3 fits in very nicely with a receiver, Tivo, and DVD recorder than the 360.

Bigger than the aesthetics issue is the development benefit. Sony may not be leaps and bounds ahead of Microsoft in terms of processing power, but they have indeed planned for the future with the BluRay drive. Besides the fact that it provides a high definition movie solution for about the same cost as Microsoft (PS3 = $599, 360 Premium at $399 + HD-DVD Drive at $199 = $598), Sony has created a solution which will give developers considerably more space to work in. At 25 GB for a single-layer and 50 GB for a dual layer BluRay disc, the allocated space should more than tide developers over for the next five years of game releases. On the other hand, Microsoft has the 4.7 GB DVD Drive where games reside. Microsoft Executive Robbie Bach has gone on record as saying that the HD-DVD drive is for movie playback only. And if Microsoft is smart, this will remain the situation. To segment the installed base of 360 users by making them buy a HD-DVD drive to play games would be disastrous. This type of segmentation has proved deadly in the past for Sega (Sega CD, 32X), NEC (Turbo Grafx CD), and even Nintendo knew better when they hit the brakes before releasing the 64 Disk Drive. Perhaps we live in a different world now when something like this might work? However, I strongly believe that we won’t see Microsoft back out on their promise. But this issue of available space for distribution could rear itself down the road.

I think the slot mechanism on the PS3 isn’t really an issue either. Most cars have trayless CD/DVD designs much like the PS3 and they don’t seem to warrant regular returns. If this is a problem, Sony is not alone — the Wii has a trayless slot design that is almost identical to that of the PS3. Time will tell whether this design is prone to problems. I just think it’s been awhile since the these types of drives were first manufactured and I don’t think we’ll see many PS3 related problems in this area.

While I disagree on some of the PS3 related criticisms that Mike expressed, I think we absolutely agree in one main area — this holiday belongs to the Xbox 360. Of the available systems, it has the most complete and most impressive list of releases. And with games like Halo, Mass Effect and Bioshock exclusive to the 360, I’m every bit as excited (if not more excited) about the 360’s release calendar as I am the PS3’s.

As far as the verdict on the PS3 or even giving early impressions, I think it’s way too early for anyone to be disappointed. Anyone who’s disappointed probably had unrealistic expectations. Looking at previous gaming console launches, it has always been slim pickings out of the gate. Last year with the exception of Call of Duty, there weren’t many reasons to get excited about buying a 360. It took several releases like Fight Night Round 3, Oblivion and Dead Rising for the 360 to gain a buzz and momentum — even among Microsoft loyalists. 2007 will prove to be the year when the true next-generation winner will emerge. Perhaps there will be enough room in the console space for both the 360 and PS3 to do well. But certainly by this time next year, one of the systems will have emerged as the leader. Right now, it’s anybody’s game.

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2 Responses to “Musings from the Community on the PS3”


  1. 1 logan
    November 29, 2006 at 11:16 am

    good write up cause time will tell luckily I have both but even though I have a ps3 I have more of an insentive to play the 360 because of the games that are currently out but I also feel that 2007 will be the year to see who comes out on top especially if halo 3 comes out and is a huge success

  2. 2 omar
    December 29, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    so i read a little, now does anyone know what to do if the disk gets stuck like mine is stuck in there.
    please help i do not want to open and void the warranty and other ways.
    thanks
    just email me i don’t even know how i got to this website,
    vitoy2k@hotmail.com

    Thanks
    Omar


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