Recently I was able to purchase a PS3 and a shiny new LCD television. Go me! I've always been of two minds about the PS3. I've always believed that Sony overshot the market (Sony... overshooting the market.... no way!) when they designed the followup to possibly the greatest gaming system in history (Seriously, the PS2 will still hold up as a great system a decade from now). While I knew the technology was there, and that leads to high potential for the system, the market just wasn't ready for it. Overpowered, overpriced, and a tad ostentatious; I got the feeling that the PS3 was just a vehicle to push blue-ray on the market (Even blue-ray was a solution without a market when it was released in 2003).
I simply figured that the Xbox 360 was a better machine for the market at the time. Prices were only slightly higher than the previous generation of consoles and the Xbox technology fit into the current level of game design technology. Designers loaded more appealing launch, and close post-launch, titles on the the 360. Games even looked better, as designers had trouble adapting to the PS3 hardware leading to frame rate issues (see especially the Madden '08 PS3 disaster). Sales figures have backed this up as the 360 has outsold the PS3. (The Wii has almost has out-sold the two, combined. But that system has little 3rd party game support, and is mostly for little children and 30 year old wannabe hipsters who just want something for parties.... in an ironic sort of way. If you want to "game", you need a "real" system)
But then an interesting change occurred: Sony lowered the price of the PS3. The system had always been produced at a loss. Estimated cost of production was over $800, and Sony had been selling the system at $600 or less. But new developments in technology, along with the scrapping of backwards compatibility, lowered production costs to around $250. This allowed them to change the overall design of the system, lower the cost, and slip into direct price competition with the 360 by Christmas-time of '09. Also, as the last 4 years have gone by, game developers have caught up with the PS3. Frame rate issues are fewer, and there are more enticing PS3 exclusive titles.
Which brings me to last week. The great corporate reptile that I work for decided to hand out bonuses (YES!), and I decided the time was right to delve into the PS3. Funny thing was, now that the price has been lowered, production of the PS3 can't meet demand. I literally couldn't find one to purchase online. I tried all the big box stores, even the super big box stores. No one had a new PS3 (many gaming stores were glad to offer me a used system, fuck that). You would think that with system moving games like Heavy Rain, MLB: The Show, and (especially) God of War 3 coming out that Sony would've ramped up production. Guess not. Finally, after a week and a half of hardcore web-searching, I found one on my 3rd check of Target.com (They get a plug 'cause they actually had one. Kudos, Target).
It arrived on Friday. Ooooooo is it pretty. The new slim design certainly makes for a good look, and thankfully they have done away with that stupid "Spiderman" font (Seriously, those movies sucked). Upon powering the bad-boy up, the sounds of a symphony warming up greet you, as if a veritable performance of gaming awesome is about to begin. Sleek and smooth, the system connects to the interwebs for free (are you paying attention Microsoft?). Games look wonderful. So far I have played Uncharted 2, God of War 3, and Heavy Rain (All PS3 exclusives, mind you). On my shiny new HD tv (1/2 off through newegg!) everything looks great, and the experiences are immersive. Also, I realized yesterday afternoon that the blue-ray player inside every PS3 will enable me to upgrade my Netflix account!
Coming up later this week, I'll have a review of the 3 games purchased (Hint: They're all spectacular)
I haven't given up on my Xbox 360. It's still a great system. But for now, my shiny new PS3 will demand my attention, and I'm more than willing to oblige.