Ah, Sony, Sony, Sony, Sony. Where did you go wrong? It seems that a mere two years ago your glorious PlayStation 2 was the seminal gaming platform, boasting a bevy of third-party programming support, a vast library of games and the most cutting-edge hardware on the block.
Ah, Sony, Sony, Sony, Sony. Where did you go wrong? It seems that a mere two years ago your glorious PlayStation 2 was the seminal gaming platform, boasting a bevy of third-party programming support, a vast library of games and the most cutting-edge hardware on the block. Indeed, a party wasn’t a party without your little black box, and you ruled the videogame roost with no end to your reign in sight.
But in the past year, gamers have steadily drifted away from the Sony empire in lieu of the prowess offered by Microsoft’s Xbox 360 or the quirkiness of Nintendo’s Wii. The PlayStation 3 has the snap, crackle and pop needed to get gamers’ attention, but not enough “Hey, wow, check that out!” factor to justify its price tag. After nearly a year on shelves, the PS3 is steadily holding last place in the seventh-generation console race, due in large part to its steep price tag.
There are now four PS3 rigs on the market, starting with the 20-gigabyte and 60-gigabyte systems available since launch, both of which are no longer manufactured though still readily available through resale. They were $499 and $599, respectively, and the currently manufactured 40-gigabyte and 80-gigabyte are $399 and $499.
The newer breeds don’t feature the top-notch backwards compatibility of the initial systems, as Sony elected to cut the Emotion Engine (the PS2 processor) from the newest PS3 rigs. In fact, the 40GB doesn’t support its older brother’s games whatsoever, and the 80GB uses emulator software to support PS2 titles. Though emulation play isn’t terrible, it isn’t as crisp as the game play offered by the Emotion Engine. Throngs of pissed-off Sony purists aside, the biggest response to Sony going emulation-only has been a question regarding how much life the PS2 has between now and it’s final extinction.
The PS2 has just a bit of juice left, as third-party developers wring out the last drops of its joy. Much like the PlayStation to PS2 shift, Sony still churns out the occasional game, some decent and others dismal. The top titles for PS2 these days are wide-release sports and music titles, such as FIFA Soccer 08 and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
Both of those games are slightly pricier for an Xbox 360, Wii or PS3 version, and the new-generation versions are altogether better and worth the extra cost. One of the last exclusive music titles for PS2 is SingStar ’80s. It’s only $30, but that’s still $30 more than you’d have to pay to watch a schnauzer shit on your shoe, which would be just as entertaining.
What’s the bottom line? Sony’s once-dominating PS2 is not dead but it’s definitely dying. If you’ve still got yours, keep it, as it has far more replay value than the $40 you’ll get selling it online or trading it in. For gamers that like to live in the new, it’s high time for turning an eye to the future, time to decide if Sony’s new box is a worthy investment or not.
In a scrambling effort to boost sales, a recent PS3 price drop set the cost of an 80-gigabyte at $499, though that’s still twice the price of a Wii and $150 more than an Xbox 360. The price cut may or may not help, given how much ground Sony has to cover in terms of sales. Current sales records show just 5.6 million PS3s sold in its first year, in comparison with 13.1 million Wii units shipped during its freshman campaign and 13.6 million Xbox 360s sold in just under two years.
However, the driving force of Sony’s previous systems hasn’t been marketing or implementing state-of-the-art technology, which the PS3 certainly does. It supports Blu-Ray discs, discs that can hold massive amounts of data and produce the sexiest visuals and audio ever. The PS3’s Cell Processor is a powerhouse that pumps out 3.2 GHz of gaming goodness, and the console is capable of acting as a central hub to any entertainment system vis-퀌�-vis its vast web of wireless and hard-wired connectivity.
But it’s always been about the software developed for Sony consoles that make them so great. And forthcoming are some truly astounding titles, including Grand Theft Auto IV, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and Final Fantasy XIII. However, none of these games will drop before February 2008 at the earliest, so unless you hold Sony stock, it’s worth waiting a while before purchasing a PS3.
There may be yet another price drop between here and next spring, so keep your fingers crossed and your horses stabled, ye’ PlayStation faithful. The Day of Sony Judgment is on its way for Nintendo and Microsoft, and that day will tear the spine out of the Wii and cut the balls off of the Xbox 360! Huzzah!