Wednesday, March 7, 2007

IS THE PS3 REALLY NEXT GENERATION?

Answer: "ALMOST." The PS3 is an accumulation of lots of individually amazing pieces of ground breaking hardware. Most of it has been designed from the ground up. I don't think a lot of critics have merrited this accomplishment enough.

Blu-Ray, unlike HD-DVD is not based off current generation DVD's although it plays them. The Cell processor is not based off any current type of chipset architecture. The graphics processing unit is so powerful that even in Q1 2007, you'd have to spend upwards of $700 USD to come close to that graphical performance on a PC. Even if you do that, what processor are you going to run it on? A Pentium? Then what games takes advantage of it? No doubt this is going to change so rapidly I almost deleted the last sentence. Probably for the first time, the PC market is actually behind consoles when it comes to overall graphical performance, albeit not for long; Crysis anyone?

We agree that the hardware is the shiznit. I've also written numerous times about how Sony need time to further define the PS3 in the same way that 2006 was the year Xbox took to grow to its current status. This brings me to the current article.

As of Q1 2007, content is not here, we accept this. We'll know we'll have to wait until 2008 before the exclusive big guns such as "MGS4, GT5, and Killzone start rolling in. So while we're twiddling our thumbs, or playing Xbox 360, I came up with a list of issues that I really would like to see changed to enhance the overall PS3 next generation experience. These are issues where we shouldn't have to wait a year before they are addressed thanks to the firmware update feature. Here we go, in no particular order:

10 PS3 UPDATES I WOULD LIKE TO SEE:

1) Connecting the USB cable for every update. I hate this. I'm in couch potato mode, just got back from the gym, ran a half marathon, and now have to get up, install the USB cable which only stretches 2ft or so, and plant my face in front of the screen to run an update. Not ergonomical in the least, but even more annoying that I had to get up in the first place (maybe i'm just lazy, and should be playing the Wii to burn an extra 5 calories from frivolous hand motions).

2) Once everything is connected, I have to wait 15-25mins on a 6MB/s connection to download the update. In addition, while I'm downloading the update, I can't do anything else. In fact when you're downloading any content from the PSN, time actually stops until the download is complete.


3) Now that the update is downloaded, the device that lists number 230 something on the supercomputer list wants to know if I would like to install the update. No, I just did all that for a laugh, and had 15mins to kill! It then doublechecks that we're on the same page with the legalities, makes me verify that I understand where its coming from, and after another 5mins of installing, we reboot and finally I can go back to the couch.

4) The PSN or Playstation Network performs great for the few online games running at the moment. No slowdown at all in my experience, and that's with 40 people simultaneously pulling triggers and throwing grades from couches all over the globe. The Playstation Store however, looks like a 1990's webpage. Very amateur. Xbox live has a great feel and is synonymous with the 360 console. The only thing the Playstation Store is synonymous with is a 9 yr old's HTML project. It really "looks" like it was thrown together. Come to think of it, perhaps it was, and we can hope for a revamp Soon!


5) After getting over the look of the PS Store. I'm looking for something to do here. And there isn't much. In the 4 months I've owned the PS3 a few trailers, a couple demo's and a fair bit of PSP downloads have been available. Content is rarely updated. This is no excuse for a company that OWNS A MOVIE STUDIO! Where's the Spiderman 3 exclusive clips for PS3 owners? A lot ot TV shows and movies have their post-production and sound work done at Sony Studios in Culver City. At least give us a sign that these departments are communicating and negotiating content for everyone that shelved out $700 (I will however, forever stand by my argument that the price is still a bargain).

6) I've already talked about this, but it still doesn't change the fact that there aren't more than maybe 2 titles I would recommend for purchase. Resistance, Motorstorm and the Gran Turismo HD demo are all a must, but one solid blockbuster title would keep us happy for, hmmmm, a year? After faking the funk with pre-rendered footage of Killzone in 2005, we find out that none of it was in-game play and we haven't heard a word since.

7) The Blu-Ray player is currently the primary function of my PS3. It truly is amazing. If your HDTV isn't displaying a picture short of amazing, you need a new TV, because this thing is flawless, save for one thing. The Six-Axis controller operates the Blu-Ray movie playback functions and while it's not bad, it's another addition to the other ugly "remotes" sitting on the coffee table. You can pay a respectable $25 for the actual remote, but neither are compatible with your Universal Remote as it uses Bluetooth to communicate and not Infra-red.

8) After settling for one of the few titles worth owning, I go online, everything is running smooth, and then the Bluetooth headset I "paired" with the PS3 is cutting in and out. All the online play through PSN is like this. Sod it. I'll get the Xbox version of GRAW 2 and every other dual-format game until Sony can sort this out.

9) Rumored but not confirmed, I would like my DVD's to be upscaled to HD. If this rumor turns out to be true, this will be a great addition to the PS3's capabilities. For those of you that don't know what HD Upscaling is, it's a way of HD hardware to take regular DVD's and really squeeze the best quality out of it by enhancing the picture somewhat. It will never make DVD's look like HD, as you can't drastically improve the video source a whole lot better than it already is. Some DVD's have excellent transfers and surprise the hell out of me even though 90% of what I watch is in HD.
10) The dispute between Sony and Immersion Corp over the use of the rumble feature in the Psone and PS2 resulted in it's omission from the PS3 controller. Sony had claimed that rumble was a thing of the past and its' omission was a "strategic decision." We later find out that the dispute between Sony and the rumble technologies patent holder (Immersion Corp) was the real reason. Immersion have already taken another stab at Sony by stating that they can add the rumble feature for cheap. This statement came as a response to Sony claiming that adding rumble to the Six Axis motion sensor controller would be too expensive. Hmm, starting to see a pattern here.

We can't ignore the consistent false promises and misdirection that Sony has delivered. Claiming that "Killzone" was in-game graphics was the first sign. The price point was first stated to be sub $400. Two sets of delays. Full backwards compatibility for PSone and Ps2 games was promised. Sony have already self proclaimed themselved the victor over HD-DVD. The list goes on, and the common denominator here is that we've been subject to marketing and corporate politics. Perhaps if they didn't over do it and rush to over-promise, they wouldn't appear to under deliver.

Im not Sony bashing. I'm actually a huge fan as Sony were instrumental in the development of High Definition. They've always been a premiere choice in home theatre and have accomplished marvels with the Playstation brand. But, as of right now they have their work cut out for them. In addition, I must stress that I am completey against taking sides as this is the exact opposite reason I have this blog. All I do is state the facts and discuss them. There's nothing like a blatant bias, it only displays ignorance, and there's a whole lot of that going around at the moment.
But getting back on track, 2007 will be the year Sony takes to get the PS3 where it needs to be, and I believe that by Q2 2008, Ps3 will make a lot of impatient and judgmental gamers eat their words. Just not right now.


Update: Of course, the very next day after writing this post, Sony released this which could possibly make up for all the current short-comings and keep us entertained for quite some time. All of a sudden, Xbox live looks very old-school!

6 Comments:

Slaminatl said...

Spot on with your comments mate. I can't wait till 1:30pm when Harrison makes his keynote.

TriniMan said...

Thanks for the comment Slaminati! Yeah, I'm eager to find out about this "always on" issue he's marketing. Feel free to stop by and comment anytime, and thanks for the support!

Anonymous said...

im one of those guys who thinks sony screwed them selves over this time around and yes i believe that in the long run sony will win this rounds console wars. but i am a firm believer that sony can no longer sit on there butts like before becouse there loosing there edge and there competition are hitting the marks dead on first time around and that is killing sony. i myself may buy a ps3 but its not gonna be tell near late of 2008 tell i buy one tell then ill keep my eyes and ears open for some good news from sony

TriniMan said...

Thanks for the visit and the comment. You're absolutely right. If Sony are living off past glory and achievements then being complacent will be the beginning of the end for them. I don't think this will be the case as they're still in their 1st year growth phase, but it always makes for great conversation. Let's also not forget that Xbox 360 and live had their fair share of issues upon release. Thankfully, Mickeysoft addressed most of them and gained consumer confidence.

Jared said...

Another great article. Anyways, I don't think that Sony is being complacent at all, I believe that there are a lot of things that they have in the works that will drastically evolve the ps3 once they are ready. I believe the change to a more rounded console will be more rapid than people think

Jin_Bambino said...

Have to disagree on the Resistance recommendation...sitting in an airport...waiting to go to the Afghan. this dude whipped out Rsistance in the USO we played in Germany, Turkey and Kyrgyzstan...I found myself wanting to stop but I didn't want to leave the guy to play by himself...