Many developers have been going darker with the tones of stories lately. It's time we stop asking definitively if this is a good or bad thing and consider the artistic value at hand.
The PlayStation 3 Has Silently Won This Gen
If there is one type of post that has dominated websites and forums this gen, it is PS3 reassurance. There is no denying that Sony’s current heavyweight started off on the wrong hand. Almost from its inception the PS3 was hit with adversity due to cost, long dev cycles, and a brand new architecture that proved difficult to work with. However, there is also no denying how powerful and strong the console has become since launch.
Sitting in between the massive marketing giant that is Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and the damned impressive selling power of the Nintendo Wii, the Sony PlayStation 3 has crept up and taken sole possession of this gen’s console throne. Through a very strong collection of exclusive games, PlayStation Plus, and a wide range of media options and apps, the PS3 has asserted itself as the dominant purchase for those looking to finally get into this gaming cycle and also the home of some of this gen’s best games.
So how did Sony do it? How did they reverse what originally seemed as the beginning of the end? How did the PS3 endure in the midst of financial breakdown and marketing/sales adversity?
So many questions but it is actually simple to answer. The PlayStation 3 houses the best ways to have fun as a gamer. Just as the PS1 and PS2 focused on games and easy ways to have fun, the PS3 has (slowly) lived up to those expectations.
It has taken a few years but let’s look at how that statement above rings true.
The Wii has the most exclusive games. No way around that. However, most of them are either not reviewed/talked about nor cared about. I’m not a fan of the term but it rings true for the Wii’s software legacy: largely shovelware. In fact, doing a Google search for “shovelware” will come up with multiple Wii articles even though the term was coined and used in the early days of the PC. The 360 has a good number of exclusives but only a select few have hit a status high enough to put in talks, articles, award shows, etc.
That being said, the PlayStation 3 has done a great job at making sure the first- and second-party studios have produced high-quality titles that have set standards. Even third party studios have released some gems on Sony’s console this gen.
When you look at games such as Uncharted, God of War, Ratchet & Clank, PixelJunk, Heavy Rain, LittleBigPlanet, Resistance, Motorstorm, the Tales series, Metal Gear Solid, Killzone, and many others, it is hard to stack any other console against the PS3 in terms of exclusives. In the last three years Metacritic has rated the PS3’s reviews at 72% (2009), 70% (2010), and 69.5% (2011). Those scores are the highest of the three available consoles. Looking at Uncharted alone, the second game in the series is among the top ranked games of all time with a rating of 96.
The PlayStation Plus Effect
Sony has debuted the single best subscription service for gaming in PS+. In fact, Plus may be the single best addition to an available console in gaming history. What PS+ has done for the PSN service and the console as a whole is amazing. The same effect is also now being seen on the Vita. There is no denying the power of PS+.
Plus may give you discounts, early access, cloud services, and more but the best feature of PS+ is none other than Instant Game Collection.
Instant Game Collection allows brand new owners to have access to a ton of free games for the cost of a subscription. How many games to be exact? As of this writing, 14 full games are available for PS+ subscribers on the PS3 and 6 for the Vita. With titles such as inFamous 2, BioShock 2, LittleBigPlanet 2, Scott Pilgrim, and Quantum Conundrum you can expect to be busy as soon as you open the box of a PS3 or sign up for your first month of PS+. This doesn’t take into account that PS+ is adding more full games to the Instant Game Collection every month.
While Xbox Live gives you access to apps such as Netflix, Hulu, and the such as well as early demo access and multiplayer, PSN’s basic functions give all of those to you off the bat for free. When you sign up for PS+ you get discounts, cloud access, and Instant Game Collection.
How can anyone prefer another service when you get that much?
A Media Powerhouse
I already said that the 360 requires you to pay to access apps such as Netflix and others. The Wii does not but has a limited availability of apps. The PS3 carries many services, does not charge you, and has a much easier time playing various formats of music and video.
Just recently the PS3’s Netflix app has become the premier source of streaming for the service. That’s a huge stat for a gaming console given how many devices Netflix is available on.
Aside from Netflixs, you also have access to sports, comedy, anime, YouTube, Music Unlimited, and tons of streaming options. All for free with your console.
I also said that the PS3 has the easiest methods for playing tons of formats for your own downloaded files. Using the free PS3 Media Server program on your PC, you can stream your files to your PS3 easily and quick.
A Clear Choice
At the beginning of this article I said that PS3 reassurance posts have been some of the most common things seen on the internet since this console’s launch. It’s time to stop that. There’s no need for reassurance when the clear choice for best console overall this generation is the PlayStation 3.
If you step back and look at what Sony has done since 2006, it will look like a roller coaster. The ride is almost over and the line is getting ready to move to the next attraction. Luckily for Sony, they are ending the current ride with a bang and are looking to make their next attraction a smash hit right out of the gate. Considering everything the PS3 has went through, that would be a good thing.
Sony has a winner on its hands but it took a long and tough road to get it there. In the beginning, the PS3 was a source of jokes and, to be honest, was just about at joke-level status itself. Now, it is the premier gaming system. What a turn around.