Thursday, October 05, 2006
Top 5 Reasons to Not Buy a PS3...just yet
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that you want the best, most powerful and hottest gaming console on the market. You're thinking your kids (or you, lets not be dishonest here) deserve the best. Since Sony makes the most expensive system and has a name you can trust, that means you have to buy a PlayStation 3 when it comes out November 17th, right? Maybe.
Before you open up your wallet and take the plunge (and its going to be an expensive plunge) here are a few things to consider.
Terry's Top 5 Reasons to Not Buy A PS3...just yet
1. Money, Money, Money, Money...MONEY! - The PlayStation 3 is going to hit your bank account, hard. While the Nintendo Wii (which comes out Nov. 19) sells for $250 and the Xbox 360 sells for $299 or $399, the PS3 will sell for a robust $499 or (gulp) $599.
Much like the lower priced Xbox 360, there is no real reason to buy the cheaper version of the PS3 (no internet connectivity, no memory stick/SD/compactflash slots) so you're looking at $600 right off the bat. Throw in tax, a few of games (prices haven't been released yet but expect $60 and up), a second controller, a warranty (the first generation of PS2's had numerous defections, so don't you dare go without it) and an accessory or two and you're looking at leaving the store around $1,000 lighter. $1,000! Read that one more time. That's enough money to buy an Xbox 360 and a Nintendo Wii. Or invest in your kids college fund. Hah! Just kidding.
2. Lingering Online Questions - The PlayStation 2 has a free online gaming service. That would be great, if anybody actually used it. What does this have to do with the PS3? Plenty. The future of gaming is online connectivity. Downloading upgrades, updates, movies, music and even games is where the gaming world is headed and its partially there already. Of course, a superior online component includes playing against other gamers online which is always a great time.
The Xbox did an awesome job of setting up the Xbox 360 for online success. Its Xbox Live Marketplace, where you can do all of the things I listed above, is easily one of the best things about owning a 360. Has the PS2 set up the Ps3 for similar success? Not even close. What's even more bothersome (yes, I just used that word) is that aside from saying its free, Sony has given no indication of what its online service will be or do. If its anything like the PS2's online service, gamers will riot. Or at least they should.
3. HD DVD vs. Blu-ray - Remember when there was a battle between VHS and Betamax for home video supremacy? The HD DVD/Blu-ray debate is like that, sort of. Both formats are trying to take the place of DVD's and both formats are represented by different sides, HD DVD by Microsoft and Blu-ray by Sony.
Here's the rub, nobody knows which way this battle is going to go. A Blu-ray player is included with a PS3 and the Xbox 360 has an add-on HD DVD player going for $200. With so much uncertainty, There's no way I'm buying the 360 add-on and the Blu-ray player in the PS3 is not really a selling point. I don't want to be the guy who ended up with my generation's version of the Betamax.
Of course none of this might matter in the end as it seems no one is in a big hurry to get rid of their DVD collections. I know I'm not. So instead of talking about HD DVD/Blu-ray in a VHS/Beta kind of way, we may some day be comparing it to the Laser Disc instead.
Oh by the way, guess who created Betamax? That's right, Sony.
4. The Competition is Good - Most years when you get a PlayStation, you know you have the best console on market. That's not necessarily the case this year as the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii offer gamers solid alternatives to gamings most dominant franchise.
The Xbox 360 is a powerful machine and has the best online component of any system. The available games are going to be just as good as anything avaible on the Ps3. And so far, with everything I've seen, while the PS3 is more powerful there is no difference in how games look or are played compared to the 360. While the Wii certainly won't be able to compete with the Ps3 and the 360 when it comes to graphics, its easily the most innovative of the three. The Wii remote and Nunchuk controllers and the always creative games from Nintendo make the Wii system very attractive.
Throw in the price differences between the Xbox 360 ($200 cheaper than the PS3), the Wii ($350 cheaper) and the PlayStation 3 and suddenly choosing a console is a lot harder.
5. Sony's Arrogance - Still not convinced? Fine. I hate to go all US Weekly on you, but check out these quotes from some Sony big wigs. I'd list a few more but I don't want to wake up next to a horse's head tomorrow.
"Its probably too cheap." President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Ken Kutaragi on the $600 pricepoint for the PlayStation 3.
"The first 5 million consumers are going to buy the PS3 even if it didn't have games." Sony Computer Entertainment Europe CEO David Reeves.
Too cheap?!? Buy it even if it didn't have games?!? This is a perfect example of disrespecting your clientele. I understand brand loyalty...somewhat. But there is such a thing as loyalty to a fault (except when it comes to sports teams and basketball shoes). Should someone buy something just for the name on it or because they know they're getting a good product from a company that respects them? I know for a fact that the PS3 will be a big seller, my mamma didn't raise no fool! I just don't like having it thrown in my face.
A couple of other items to consider about the PS3, but not quite Top 5 material: The reduction of game exclusivity (see Assasins Creed, GTA 4) and limited initial console availability.
So What Does It All Mean? - Hey, you're going to buy what's best for you. As well you should. And its not like I think the Ps3 is going to suck. I'm certain it won't, I know that I'll be getting one. Of course I write about video games, so I have no choice (my son is getting a Wii for Christmas so I'll have all 3 systems, please pretend to feel sorry for me). You do have a choice however, so I hope you make the most informed decision possible. There's a lot ot unanswered questions out there about the PS3 so a wait and see approach may not be a bad thing. But whatever you end up with, as long as you're happy with your choice, you can't lose.