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My thoughts on the PS3 and Wii

edited November 2006 in Video Games
I got some hands-on time with both the PS3 and the Wii this weekend.

Here are some short thoughts:

Who in their right mind would risk getting shot to drop $600 on this thing? Yes, the graphics are impressive. But that's it. The games I played were tired PS2 clones. Nothing original. Nothing impressive. The only energy being spent is on making the games look good. That's great - but it's not $600 great. Not even close to $600 great - not to mention $20 more for each game.

One of the best quotes I heard this weekend was that Sony focuses on hardware while Microsoft focuses on software. This is apparently true, since the user-experience on the PS3 is terrible from a software perspective. The XBox 360, which has arguably comparable graphics, is much more friendly to the consumer. TV and movie downloads, a $200 HD-DVD player, X-Box Live - yeah... it's better. For the hardcore gamer - The XBox 360 is the clear winner. (IMHO)

I really wanted to like this. I really did. I do like it - but it doesn't do a whole lot for me. The bottom line is that, in most games, the Wiimote felt gimicky. There, I said it. Unleash the fanboys.

Take Excite Truck. What's the difference between tilting a Wiimote and using a standard controller? As far as I'm concerned - not much. Neither feels real and both methods work fine. I enjoyed Wii Sports since it was the game that seemed to take the most advantage of the Wiimote. Every other game I tried just didn't make me feel that the Wiimote was anything special. It works well - but it's got to have a reason, and not just be a gimicky way of controlling a game. Red Steel was downright frustrating. I hope that we will see future games that really take advantage of the controller - but we're not there yet. I did want to try Trauma Center - that looks like it has potential. Although, I find it hard to believe that the Wiimote is better than a computer equipped with a mouse in a game such as Trauma Center. (or any FPS for that matter) And therein lies the problem. The Wiimote comes in second place for a lot of things. (e.g.: a pointing device, a steering wheel, etc.) Game programmers need to keep that in mind.

The one advantage of the Wii is that I expect to see more games that appeal to myself (a person whose age starts with a "3"). That, rather than the controller, is why I will probably purchase one.

The graphics were better than I was expecting. For first-gen titles, I thought the graphics were quite good. They are certainly good enough that the lack of processing power shouldn't distract from gameplay.

I was also encouraged to see how the teenage set seems to be excited by the Wii. I spoke with several younger relatives, and it looks like the Wii has a good chance of success judging by their reaction. Most of those teenagers are spending their own hard-earned money. And trust me, Sony has priced themselves out of that market.

So there you have it. My scores:
XBox 360: B
PS 3: D
Wii: B with the potential for an "A" if Wiimote integration improves.

Keep in mind... I'm not a huge videogame fan. I enjoy them, but there's a lot more to my life. My perspective is that of a casually interested member of the gen-x generation. I'm not a fanboy - I'm just an average guy. But, Nintendo needs to appeal to people like me (28 +) in order to make the Wii a success.


  • I played with a PS3 on Saturday. The graphics are the best I've ever seen on a console and on an HDTV, it's essentially the same as a computer. The game I played, though, was clunky. X Play slammed most of the PS3 launch titles. I still think that in the long run, this system is going to come into its own.

    Computers are still my favorite gaming platform. Although lately I've been alternating between Oblivion on the PC, Advance Wars on the DS and Guitar Hero on the PS2. I'm also dumping a bunch of old PS2 games on Ebay to make room for new stuff.

    It's R&S's fault that I've come back to gaming and forsaken my responsibilities. :) Kilarney is reminding me that I may be the oldest person on this forum by a lot. Ah well.
  • Yeah, some games just make better use of the Wiimote than others. Madden is a good example of bad Wiimote usage. They came up with a complicated gesture scheme to replace button presses. The only thing in Madden that kind of uses the Wiimote is kicking, which is just an analog control in a single direction.

    Wii Bowling is clearly the best use of the Wiimote. It allows complicated and precise input to be accomplished with one arm motion and one digital button instead of an analog button, an analog stick and a digital button. It helps that that single arm motion is so perfectly calibrated that it almost perfectly mimics the real-world motion. If the Wiimote weighed as much as a bowling ball, it would be perfect. Even as it is now, I have no need to go to a real bowling alley ever again. That's good because bowling alleys smell and have scary people at them.

    I think the core problem with the Wii now is that many of the games out now, other than Wii Sports, are games in existing genres that have remapped buttons to Wiimote inputs. Take Zelda for example. It's a GameCube game, through and through. They remapped a few buttons to Wii control, such as the sword button, but all else is the same. However, all the aimed weapons like the bow and hook-shot are a lot better with Wii control.

    The Wii will really shine when games come out that are made for it instead of bent for it. Wii Play and Elebits are going to be the next two after Wii Sports.

    More on this in shows to come.
  • Well... There is the steering wheel thingy that comes with the 4x4 game...

    Maybe someone will develop a bowling ball mod for the wiimote?
  • edited November 2006
    Now that it is clear that the PS3 software sucks, do you think that this will be the end of the PS? I would not have thought so, until now.
    Here is why an era might be coming to an end:
    1) The PS3 software sucks. Anyone who cares about how well their machine works will choose the XBox.
    2) If the PS3 does not take off, Blue-Ray is dead.
    3) Sony is losing tons of money. They stand to lose well over $1 billion on the PS3 in the next 2 years.
    4) Microsoft has a substantial lead in development.
    5) Microsoft is making a profit on their consoles.
    6) Exclusive titles for the PS3 are going the way of the dinosaur.
    7) Sony effectively missed the holiday season.
    8) Sony priced themselves out of the market. A ton of people are not willing to spend $600 for a console and $70 per game - especially when the competition is significantly cheaper.
    9) The idea that any console is a "10 year" machine is complete and utter bunk.

    I just can't see Sony releasing a PS4 unless the PS3 does a major turnaround. I suspect they are hoping to improve the production of the PS3 so that it becomes cheaper to produce. (No doubt, the components will become cheaper over time.) However, Microsoft can always cut the price of the XBox 360 - and can weather that much better than Sony can.

    Here is how I see the future:
    1) XBox 360 dominates all the way.
    2) A sizeable, but comparatively small, core group plays the last console manufactured by Sony. Fewer and fewer good games are released, as manufacturers realize that the profits don't justify the risk.
    3) The Wii is a distant second. It is critical that the Wii find its own niche, and stop copying standard games. Having Red Steel as a major launch title was a huge mistake. The Wii has to bring in those who are alienated by traditional consoles. That's not an easy road to hoe. After the Holidays, I think the Wii needs to be priced at $199. That's a huge difference mentally. At that price point, a lot of people will buy the console on a whim. I put the Wii's chances of surpassing the PS3 at about 50-60 percent. It'll be a horse race.
    4) Nintendo sees the open door and releases a new console in 3-4 years that can chip away at Microsoft's dominance. I suspect that it will incorporate some of the Wii's features, but will be a hybrid between the Wii and a traditional console.

    The only wrinkle in this is that the Japanese refuse to embrace the Xbox 360. I don't know enough about that market to know if it can sustain the PS3.

    That's my take. Thank God I'm not a futurist, eh?
    Post edited by Kilarney on
  • *sobbing* You're already reviewing the Wii and I haven't even got mine yet *sob* *sob* *sob*
  • edited November 2006
    *sobbing* You're already reviewing the Wii and I haven't even got mine yet *sob* *sob* *sob*
    I hear ya, I hear ya...
    Post edited by Andrew on
  • edited November 2006
    I love the 360. I have a few friends who have them, and what Microsoft has done with the internet integration and the smooth UI is really astounding...Not to mention there are some excellent games for the 360. Although I'll root for Nintendo through thick and thin, I'd bet that the 360 "wins" this gen. And I will probably get one at some point. After a Wii.

    You wouldn't have guessed this at all how this gen would turn out based on the last one. Sony seemed to be on the ball, a clunky and slow Microsoft system was chomping at their heels, and our lil' purple lunchbox was trailing behind.
    Post edited by Sail on
  • edited November 2006
    *Yes, I'm back after a hiatus, as I would like to give this forum another shot with more intelligent posts.

    Regarding the topic: I would agree that Sony's oddball attempts to leapfrog MS's technology has placed the future of SCEI and the Sony Corp. empire in jeopardy, but there are several factors involved which could help Sony succeed long-term;

    1. Macro-economical trends have shown that U.S. males aged 25-34 who have medium-wage earning will invest in "trendy" products no matter what the price tag is, especially if the product's label can be associated with it's proven history. Despite PS-X's wearing of the laser/motor mechanisms (which required the console to be placed sideways or upside-down), the eventual sale of over 110,000,000 was because of the game library and savvy marketing strategies which the competition circa 1995-1999 (Nintendo, Sega, 3DO) could not compete. PS2's sales are also an extension of PS-X's techniques, however Microsoft had shown that they were capable of producing a marketable console despite their background as a software corporation. Nintendo adapted optical disk technology, which while better than cartridges was too little too late to stave off the more acceptable DVD format. For the past ten years, we spend our money on the "coolest" technology and worry about the consequences later.

    2. Final Fantasy trendsetting. The RPG industry was a sleeping giant despite the best games for Game Boy, NES SNES and the Lunar series on Sega CD, however that giant wouldn't be truly awakened until Final Fantasy VII for PlayStation. The most famous console + larger software proliferation + easier development tools (C programming language instead of assembler) + U.S. market = PS only JRPGs. The RPG industry hasn't been the same since, and Nintendo's slide from dominance plus slightly inferior competition has kept the genre (until this day) on the PS brand.

    3. The competition - Though Sony has had the toughest hardware for the past two generations, developers will still flock toward the manufacturer whose product will have long-term mass appeal. Just like the PS2, true proliferation at it's current price point won't reach true popularity for at least eighteen months. At point, Microsoft's pay to play model for XBox Live will seem ridiculous as consumers realize that they can play online for free (after paying for a separate headset and USB keyboard, like I had to for Final Fantasy XI and SOCOM) now matter how broken the interface. Nintendo is currently on the rebound with the introduction of Wii and the simplicity of the Wiimote, and while I can't find one at the moment and plan to purchase one at the first available opportunity I have to agree with Kilarney. After N64 and Gamecube I worry about long-term investments in Nintendo non-portable hardware, but after games like Tales of Symphonia, Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance which came out at the decline of Gamecube's popularity I guess Nintendo console owners should no longer worry and just stay the course. Sony, based on public opinion and it's twelve year history will have the larger long-term popularity and consumer base.

    We'll have to see whether or not the PS3 suffers shoddy workmanship (read: disk read errors) or whether or not Microsoft can sustain their head start (and there's concern that Microsoft's 2 million plus head start won't be enough in the U. S., see "Debate" column, Game Informer, Dec. 2006) and whether the pay-to-play versus "free but crappy" online gaming models between the two will fare. Also, the Wii can be sustainable as a next-gen console against two HD-enabled heavyweights, but will videophiles care, and will it be powerful enough to sway the market in it's favor?
    Post edited by jwallace on
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