After a very patient time waiting in the rafters, finally the loyal European PlayStation fans will join up with their American and Japanese brethren in owning a PS3. I must say that I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for my European brothers and sisters, as I strongly felt that they had as much right to fight over the less than 500K systems Sony put into the consumer channel during the holiday of 2006. In particular, I’ve always felt a oneness with my British brothers and sisters. I mean, half of our TV content nowadays are remade BBC shows (and their version of the Office is infinitely better — sorry folks, it’s true.) But now that compassion turns to kinship. In less than 24 hours, those wonderful folks across the shore will join the rest of us in scavenging through a library of sub-par titles. (Pun completely intended.)
I am also happy that my post from last year was able to be recycled by quite a few folks in this new series of long lines and one-upsmanship to try and secure a PS3. (I got quite a few letters from folks thanking me for it again, and I appreciate your thoughts.) Hopefully the post will lead to you scoring a PS3, as the stakes are a little higher this go round. While US gamers were gifted with the the critically acclaimed film, Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby, our folks across the pond will get a treat for their suffering: a Blu-Ray copy of Casino Royale. And as much as I want to be jealous, the fact that at the last moment Sony snuck up on them with the final insult (removing the hardware backwards compatibility of their PS3), again, I felt the need to mourn for their suffering. (Haven’t they had enough??!!)
But alas. The day is finally here! No longer do you wait in anticipation as you lie awake wondering whether the Cross-Media bar will be clunky or cool. In less than one day……that’s twenty-four short hours…… that sleek black box could be sitting in your very own entertainment system. So take a victory lap for your suffering, Europeans. You deserve it.
….as it has been my job to kill the joy of those who walk into a situation with rose-colored glasses and bring their minds back down to earth, I’m taking this opportunity to do what we call in business “level-setting”, or quite simply, setting the right expectations, as not to cause you to throw a fit. There are quite a few things about your PS3 that you should understand before opening that box. (And perhaps for some who are mortgaging their home — a few things you should know before even picking one up.)
Here are my list of things that you might wanna know before opening your PS3 box:
1) The system is f’n heavy – Please do take care in opening the box. Don’t try to one-hand this thing while pulling the box apart. (Particularly not with that shiny and slippery exterior). Perhaps it might be wise to sit on a couch? Or maybe even to open it on a bed, as not to drop the damn thing. Because I guarantee you — at that weight — the system will not survive the fall.
2) The system gets f’n hot…..and loud – Don’t be fooled by reviews claiming that this is such a quiet system. Either I got one from a bad lot or the temperature in my home is just too high, because this thing generates heat. Fool that I was, I thought it would fit nicely in my entertainment system with the closing glass door. That was, until I heard this Hoover-like sound kick in while I was playing NBA 2K7. Yes folks – the fan is big and loud and it will kick in if your PS3 gets too hot. If you put your hand over the case, you’ll certainly feel the heat. I’ve since taken the system completely out of the entertainment center and stood it upright as has been recommended. Even with it out in open air and with nothing blocking the ventilation, the system still gets hot on occasion.
3) This is a classic launch lineup — all bad – Don’t be fooled by the fact that Motorstorm is included in the launch lineup. While it’s a much better launch title than we got last year, the entire lineup of games is significantly lacking. I’m certain that the titles will pick up by Q4 of 2007, but for now prepare to be a tad disappointed. The best games available right now are Resistance: Fall of Man, Virtua Fighter 5, NBA 2K7, Motorstorm and Fight Night Round 3. (Although I suspect the F1-crazy Europeans will be checking out Formula One Championship Edition.) It will get better, but just keep those expectations in check while looking down those gaming aisles.
4) The PlayStation Network is no Xbox Live….Yet – You’ll have to hold onto those expectations even more if you’ve already picked up an Xbox 360, because the most obvious feature that 360 fans will notice is the weakness of the PlayStation Network. You will absolutely need a High-Def TV to view the content because the font is miniscule on my 31″ HD capable tube-TV. There isn’t quite the level of checking out what your friends are doing. In general, it leaves a lot to be desired. Now, of course, this is being worked on and by the time PlayStation Home launches, things will be a bit better (hopefully) but for now, it isn’t quite the experience that Xbox Live is. By far.
5) The box skimps on extras — and the necessities!!! – For the kinda money that you’re about to spend, you think you’d get an HDMI cable. Well, don’t forget to pick one up, cause you don’t even get component cables. You get the weakest video outputting cables available — standard AV cables. The things that came with your NES 20 years ago. And you’ll get a cable to connect your PS3 Sixaxis — but be prepared to sit right up on the TV, because the cable is ridiculously short. Good thing the lack of rumble in the controller means that the battery life is longer, because you’d be sitting on the coffee table trying to play games with that short USB cable. (Go to a standard computing show and get a USB extender cable. You can get a six or twelve foot cable for almost nothing. It’s a worthwhile investment.) And speaking of extras….
6) DONT STOCK UP ON CONTROLLERS!! – Not sure if you guys heard, but Sony made up with Immersion (the company that sued them over their rumble technology.) So our dear Uncle Phil Harrison all but guaranteed that we’d be seeing rumble returning back into the Sixaxis. Bottom line — don’t be the guy who buys three extra controllers while on line — you’ll regret it later this year.
7) If you don’t have a 42″ LCD/Plasma (or better), wait until you do. – I’m sure the folks at Threespeech.com will want to take my URL down for such blasphemy, but honestly, unless you know getting an HDTV is a foregone conclusion, wait until the price drops. Buying a PS3 with a standard, non-high def capable TV is like putting high-octane gas into an economy car. It’s pointless. You’ll never get the benefit of the performance gain it promises. Same deal here. I must admit that I don’t have the TV of my dreams yet, but I got my eyes on a Samsung HP5053. And as soon as the time is right, it’s mine.
So, my beloved brothers and sisters from across the pond – do not despair at my reminders. These are but a few of the rude awakenings, but there’s a lot to like. I’ll report on some of that stuff later, but I just figured that if you were like me, when someone says, “I got good news and bad news — which do you want first?”, you’d always want the bad stuff initially. Hey – this way I won’t be ruining the surprise of the good stuff — like the fact that the controller range is so long that I was three rooms away and with no line of sight and through huge walls I was able to control the Blu-Ray player. (Oops – sorry. But there’s other stuff you’ll find out and be impressed by.)
Good luck getting a system and enjoy!