Now I know that you’ve likely read hundreds of articles on the PS3, why people love it, why people hate it. I’m going to try and take a fairly neutral ground here and point out why the PS3’s release as it was is genius and also why its an utter failure. I’m going to try and be wholly untraditional in this analysis.
1) the freaking name! The PS3 should not have been called the PS3, but say something like the SuperStation, for several reasons. First: as evidence by the huge reaction on the net, people do not like spending 600 a game console. From sony’s point of view, this isn’t a big issue because the PS3 is a heck of a lot more than a game console — its a home theater system. If marketed as such, as your home Blu-Ray (Next generation HD Movie) experience, all in 1 box, for less than the cost of any other blu ray player / home theater console it becomes much easier to market this 600 of hardware.
2) While this could also been seen as a positive, the fact that sony insists on using strange architectures in their consoles makes it hard for developers to create games in the short run. (Although, with what 300,000 titles for the emotion engine in the ps2, im not sure this argument holds any weight in the long run). However, some better launch titles for the ps3 woulda been nice, and probably facilitated by a more ‘normal’ core architecture.
Before I get to the real genius of the ps3, I’de just like to mention how ridiculously powerful the machine is, and how impressive the machine is, simply for its hardware. This alone means the PS3 should have a very quality lifespan. If we compare what launch-titles look like on the ps2, with the quality of a recently released PS2 title the difference is astounding. If we look at the already outstanding quality of ps3 games (graphically), it’ll be nice to look forward to a more mature game.
So, the real reason the PS3 is such a good move by Sony, and that its 1-year lag behind the Xbox 360 is completely justifyable and why sony couldn’t care less that they arn’t selling more consoles than the wii or 360? Blu-Ray. They couldn’t release it last year with 360 because it wasn’t yet economically feasible (as if it were now) — but HD wasn’t in full swing yet. HD is slowly beginning to gain momentum, now, so sony’s release of the ps3 this last winter was good timing. But, by establishing such a huge install base of Blu-Ray capable players sony has almost guaranteed blu-ray’s acceptance in the main stream. The biggest challenge in moving to dvd from VHS probably having to go out and buy the new dvd-player. If 3 million ps3s are sold in the USA within the next year or so, then thats already 1% of the entire country with a blu-ray capable machine.
As proof of my point, since january 1st of 2007 blu-ray’s numbers have been remarkable. Nearly doubling HD-DVD over certain time periods. I’m confident in my conclusion that this definitively would not be the case without the PS3. The fact that it’ll be another couple years before HD-DVD / Blu-Ray players are within ‘reasonable’ prices (2-300), and that the ps3’s price has nowhere to go but down, means that the number of blu-ray capable machines being sold will far outstrip that of HD-DVD unless some HD-DVD player becomes outragously popular — and manages to outsell the ps3.
As a brief disclaimer: I own zero next gen consoles (no wii, 360 or ps3). I would not call myself a fanboy of any of the above. I personally would like to see blu-ray win simply on the basis of superior capacity per layer. I have been both impressed, and also severely disappointed by Sony in the past, and am by no means predisposed to go easy on them.