Which console is the better choice, Playstation 3 or Xbox 360?

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Answered by: Sajeev, An Expert in the Computer Action Games - General Category
With every console generation, consumers constantly ask a single question: which console should I buy? During the early 1990s, the answer was obviously Nintendo, with the company's name synonymous with video games the same way Xerox was for photocopiers. Now with more companies and bigger consoles on the market, the decision befuddles the average consumer with web services, graphical capabilities, storage space, nearly everything but the games themselves.

Currently, the question consumers ask me is,”Playstation or Xbox?” Put this question on any video game message board and one will receive a flurry of responses, usually biased toward one or the other. The aim of this article is to provide an unbiased viewpoint towards the services of both consoles to give the consumer a clearer picture of what each console entails.

During the Nintendo 64 and Playstation era, the purchase of a console came down to what games one wanted to play. Nintendo had all the classic names people already knew, such as Mario and Zelda that made the company world famous. With its popular characters, established name, and recognizable cartridges, the Nintendo 64 was a huge hit among gamers.

Playstation, on the other hand, had none of these for it was Sony's first foray into the console market, but established an identity quickly with its universally copied dual shock controller, disk storage, and unique titles such as Metal Gear Solid which changed how people looked at video games with its mature storytelling. In essence, the console war came down to the games themselves.

Today with Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, a much different picture is being painted with many games being released on both platforms often due to the ever growing development cost to make them. Call of Duty, possibly the biggest entertainment franchise of all time, is regularly available to gamers regardless of their console of choice. Only a handful of exclusive titles exist, with Halo, Fable, and Gears of War spearheading Xbox while Playstation has Uncharted, Killzone, and Infamous. In other words, despite relatively few exclusives, the game market for both consoles is nearly identical.

Where the two consoles differ greatly is in their services and technology. The Playstation is arguably one of the most powerful machines on the market with its Cell processor containing up to nine separate CPU cores. What this means is that developers can use all those individual units of processing power to create games with unparalleled graphics and special effects. The problem is programming a game to take advantage of all that power opposed to the three core CPU found in the Xbox 360. Sometimes the extra power hurts game performance with the Playstation 3 version of the action game Bayonetta containing slowdown and other problems not found in the Xbox 360 version.

Unlike Xbox, however, the Playstation 3 contains a blu ray player, a must for movie enthusiasts. In fact some people buy the Playstation 3 for its blu ray player alone for it is consistently rated as one of the top players on the market, and can improve itself regularly through online updates. While $600 may have been too much for consumers when the console was first released, its current price point of $300, especially when compared to the Xbox 360 price of $250, is almost a steal.

Part of the appeal of many video games today is online play, the ability to tap into a network of other gamers just as eager to play as you. Both consoles offer an online service, but their philosophies behind it differ greatly. Microsoft for instance charges $60 for twelve months of Xbox Live, their online service. What one gets for that $60 besides the ability to play online is access to a multitude of content from videos to music to exclusive items and games. A bargain as many Xbox 360 owners see it.

Playstation 3 on the other hand has online service for free with a better online service owners can pay for if they wish. However, the Playstation online store is a confusing mess, using a cluttered menu system opposed to the intuitive tabs of the Xbox 360 store. With the recent hacks of Playstation Network, Sony's online service, one must wonder if their online service is truly capable of securing and safeguarding their client's information. The Playstation 3 also lacks many of the basic services Xbox Live provides such as background downloads where people can download items even while their console is off.

The video game console war has become less about the video game, and more about the console itself. The Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 both have their ups and downs, but in the end it really comes down to what the consumer wants. The Xbox 360 undoubtedly has a better online service, but the combination of a blu ray player and, in my opinion, better exclusive titles make the Playstation 3 hard to beat.

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