4/7/11

Why I traded my Xbox 360 for a PS3

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Introduction
This article will outline my personal reasons for making the big switch. I am not writing it to explore why one console objectively is better than another. Both systems have their benefits and faults. Rather, the following paragraphs are an investigation why the PS3 is better suited than the 360 to my lifestyle and gaming preferences. It is my hope that this article might be useful to anybody who is considering making the same choice that I did or anybody who might be trying to decide which console to initially purchase. Admittedly, this article contains a bias toward the PS3, which should be obvious since that is the console that I ultimately chose.

What about the Wii?
I did not consider trading my 360 for a Wii because of one very important reason: I already had one. However, to anybody who is unsure of whether or not to purchase a Wii, I would recommend purchasing a Wii + one other gaming system. Even if you are an avid Nintendo fan, I would still recommend also getting another system. The Wii was my initial purchase for this console generation. I felt disconnected from the bulk of the gaming community for the two years that it was my only console. The Wii offers little in online play, has no achievement/trophy/reward system, and, with a few exceptions, has inferior ports of multiplatform games. The motion controls for the Wii are an (often aggravating) innovation and their accessibility makes the system ideal for people who don’t normally play games. But most hardcore and even many casual gamers will sigh as they read about the generous amount of exciting titles being released weekly for the PS3 and Xbox 360 while they wait for months for Nintendo to release its next gem. Trust me. I’ve been there. As a final note I do want to point out that, for the classic gaming enthusiast, the Wii Virtual console does have some excellent games to download. Nintendo favorites like Zelda 64 and Super Mario Bros 3 can be found there, as well as rarer games like Secret of Mana and River City Ransom. The virtual console also allows gamers to download games from other older systems like the Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, and even the Neo Geo. There is good stuff here for the retro gamer.

The Breakdown
The decision to switch systems should not be taken lightly. I realized that making such a choice carried with it a lot of potential loss: my games, achievements, online friends, downloadable games and add-on content, and the added financial cost. To weigh my options, I researched the two consoles in various categories and their respective subcategories. They are the headers in which this article will be broken.
Hardware
I never would have traded my 360 if not for the release of the PS3 Slim and the concurrent price drop. When the original PS3 was released, I thought that it was a behemoth monster: massive, clumsy, and unattractive. The PS3 Slim is an improvement, but is by no means a small system, being only slightly smaller in width and height than the 360. The PS3 Slim requires a stand to safely stand it up vertically, which costs about $20.00. I just have mine sitting horizontally. It is a surprisingly quiet machine, especially when compared to the rather loud 360, and even runs more quietly than the Wii. Of course, the most important issue of hardware is the famous failure rate of the 360. Basically, if you own a 360, its failure is practically inevitable. Listen: if you buy one, then you shouldn’t be surprised if and when (and I do mean when) it breaks. Microsoft does offer a free 3 year warranty for when your 360 does break, and shipping it to them for repair is quite painless. Ultimately it cost me about 6 dollars in shipping to fix mine. The repair takes about 2-3 weeks, and you get a free month of Xbox Live for your troubles. The process was fairly painless, and I have to commend the ease with which Microsoft honored its warranty. No hassle. No fuss. However, this still does not satisfy the dissatisfaction that I felt from purchasing faulty hardware. It also caused me to worry that my 360 might break again I have heard that a small number of PS3’s may fail also, but I have much more confidence in the PS3 than I did in the 360.

What about Blu-ray?
Blu-ray was another significant factor in my decision to get a PS3. Simply put, Blu-ray is awesome. The picture quality of a film on Blu-ray is phenomenal. Additionally, many films have added special features that are only available on Blu-ray format. Some of the special features require internet connectivity, and so can only be run by a Blu-ray player. But sometimes special features that could easily have been on a DVD are absent except for on the Blu-ray release. For example Trick R Treat’s Blu-ray has added commentary and special features such as deleted scenes and a short documentary about the history of Halloween. These features are conspicuously absent from the DVD. Bottom line: Blu-ray is replacing DVD. I wanted a Blu-ray Player. The PS3 can play Blu-rays, DVD’s and Demon’s Souls. Sold.

Controllers
Initially, when considering whether I should make the trade, the differences between the PS3 and 360’s controllers were an issue. I love the 360 controller. It just seemed to fit perfectly with FPS style games. The analog sticks have excellent placement, and the trigger button feels natural when using it to fire a weapon or use an attack. But then I rented Street Fighter 4 and was introduced to the 360 controller’s D-pad, which is probably the worst on the market. So it can be said that the 360 controller has its ups and downs.
Having now made the switch, I can easily say that the PS3 controller handles as well as the 360’s. I have had no problems playing any of my favorite FPS or fighting games. The PS3’s dual joysticks are comfortable and easy to use. The D-pad is much better than the one on Microsoft’s machine. Also, unlike the 360, which requires 2 AA batteries, the PS3 controller does not require any. When its charge depletes, simply plug it into the console and it will recharge in a couple of hours. It should be mentioned that the USB cord that connects the controller to the system is quite short. However has never been an issue for me personally. Ultimately, I do not miss the 360 controller like I thought I would.

System Menu
The advantage goes to Microsoft’s 360, whose menu is more streamlined and intuitive than that of the PS3. Without going into to much detail, I will simply state that the 360’s is easier to navigate. It is better organized and it loads faster. It took me a bit of searching through the PS3’s menu to locate how much system memory was left, for example. However, it should be noted that, no matter how complex, any interface can be learned until it becomes like second nature. In game, however, is where the 360 interface shines. During a game pressing the “home” button on the controller brings up a more streamlined version of the menu that loads quickly and allows players to easily and quickly check achievements and the status of online friends. Additionally, allowing players to voice chat regardless of what game is being played or DVD watched is an excellent feature that I still don’t see implemented on the PS3. Comparatively, pressing the “home” button on the PS3’s controller brings up the entire system menu, which can feel clunky. The PS3’s menu, though inferior to the 360’s in speed and ease of use, has a sleeker design that makes it feel less toy-ish. Finally, the 360’s menu has much more advertising, some of which play video and audio while you navigate.

Games
Of course, the games are ultimately the deciding factor in choosing a system. Even after weighing the traits of both of the systems, my personal preference for the PS3’s library is what made me make the trade.

Exclusives
I owned a 360 for almost exactly one year, and that year was 2009. Even though that year of gaming was awesome for me, it was also filled with its share of disappointments. Because I got my 360 so far into the console’s lifespan, I was able to pick up a plethora of great games for cheap. Even though I was impressed with the power of the system, many of the 360’s exclusive titles disappointed me. The first one I played was Perfect Dark, which was so boring that I didn’t even finish the single player. The awkward control setup in Dead Rising was a deal-breaker for me. Mass effect was okay, but the load times killed the experience for me. I didn’t bother with Fable 2. Halo 3 was fun, but it felt stale. Prey: meh. Left for Dead was great, but was too short even with the multiplayer. I did not like Gears of War. It just wasn’t for me. I could go on but what it basically came to was that I found myself spending most of my time on games that were out for both platforms, like Fallout 3 and Street Fighter 4. It is unfortunate that I never picked up Lost Odyssey while I owned my 360, as it seems like a game that I would have liked.
Conversely, since I’ve gotten my PS3, I’ve almost exclusively played the exclusives. The Slim that I bought came with God of War Collection and Little Big Planet. Already I was happier with both of those games than I previously was with my entire collection of 360 exclusives. Over the next few months I picked up Uncharted 2, Demon’s Souls, and Valkyria Chronicles. The Ratchet and Clank series offers an action platform experience that is unmatched on the 360. Metal Gear Solid 4 was pretty good when you were actually playing the game. And I still haven’t even tried Killzone 2 or both Resistance games. Ultimately, I feel that the PS3’s exclusives are better suited to my tastes.

Multiplatform
Now, there is an issue of multiplatform gaming that must be addressed on both systems. Some games on either system might play or look better than the other. The most famous case of this might be the PS3’s lackluster port of Bayonetta. Some games may have additional content that is not available on the other system, like playing as the Joker on the PS3 version of Batman Arkham Asylum. Either way, I do not believe that the performances of multiplatform games should have any effect on which system to choose. Sure, I can spend hours nitpicking about the textures and frame rate differences in the PS3 and 360 versions of Fallout 3, but ultimately it does not matter. I’m still going to get the game no matter what system I own. Now, if you own both the PS3 and the 360, these differences will matter to you as you can choose your platform. As for me, who does not want to own both systems, I say “who cares?” Okay, so installing games on the PS3 is a hassle, but once I’m actually playing the game, I’m not thinking of the install anymore.

Downloadable Games
The differences in the games here are quite extreme. The Xbox Live Arcade has some excellent titles, including Duke Nukem, Doom, Castle Crashers, Shadow Complex and many great games from RARE’s N64 years like the Banjo series and Perfect Dark. There are also some original Xbox games to download, but I was never too interested in them, though will mention that the game Stubbs the Zombie has an excellent soundtrack. There is also an impressive amount of Indie games on the 360’s service. My favorite indie game, I Maid a Gam3 W1th Zomb1es in 1t, provided me with many hours of entertainment for cheap. However, the PSN Network Store offers more of what I like because of the original PS1 games that are available for download. Final Fantasy 7, 8, Tactics, Grandia, and Wild Arms were some of my favorite games that I wouldn’t mind replaying. Plus, they are very reasonably priced considering that those actual game discs sell for up to 50 dollars. My girlfriend is happy playing her downloaded versions of Sypro and Crash Bandicoot. Everybody wins.

Online Capabilities
These days, most consumers are not comfortable shelling out over 60 bucks a game unless there is some serious replay value (does anybody else remember paying $60-$70 dollars for SNES games back in the day?), which is now usually relegated to the online portion of the game. Of course, there is the issue of price, since the PS3’s network is free, and the 360 requires a subscription fee of around $50 per year. Frankly, the fee is not that bad. Beyond that, there is the also issue of hardware. The PS3 Slim has a built-in wireless modem, whereas the 360 requires a cable, unless you want to shell out an extra $100 for an attachable wireless modem. When I had my 360, I used the wireless modem and it was fast and totally dependable.

I would also like to draw attention to how online capabilities are differently used by each system. It is worth mentioning again that 360 allows for players to chat online via headset regardless of whether they are playing the same game or not. This feature is, for lack of a better word, awesome, especially since there is almost nobody worth talking to online in any game that you might be actually playing. The PS3, however, implements its online capabilities in more creative ways. The most obvious examples of this are found in games like Demon’s Souls and Little Big Planet. The PS3 also has Playstation Home, which is a small virtual world in which your avatar can interact with others via keyboard or (if certain conditions are met) voice chat. Playstation Home has not garnered my attention for more an about an hour, but I guess that there are some that will find value in it. Both systems (and also the Wii) are compatible with Netflix. I do not think that the online aspect of either system should be a deciding factor in which one you buy. Just make sure to look into what kinds of games you would rather play. As far as I can tell, there is little difference in performance for both systems when it comes to my favorite multiplatform multiplayer games. However, I often hear from gamers that the 360 is THE system for online gaming. Why? I don’t really know. Having owned both systems, I can say that both are adequate for online gaming, with different strengths.

Lifestyle
Ultimately, I decided to go with the Playstation 3 for various reasons. Of course, as mentioned above, I simply like the PS3 exclusives more than the 360’s. But there are other reasons that have affected my decision. My girlfriend, for example, views the Xbox 360 as a “gamer” system, did not like the 360 controller, and would not play games on it with me. She would only play games on the Wii. However, now that I have a PS3, we play many more games together. She went from only playing Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Bros to playing Fallout 3 and Borderlands. I think that her willingness to play these games on a PS3 rather than a 360 comes from how the PS3 is marketed. Even though the games are the same, she thinks that the Playstation 3 has a more “mature” feel to it. Whether she is right or wrong is irreverent to me. I’m just happy that we’re playing Super Street Fighter 4 together.

Conclusion
Ultimately, I greatly prefer owning a PS3 Slim than a 360. Blu-rays rule, I prefer Demon’s Souls, Uncharted 2, and Little Big Planet to Halo, Gears of War, and Left for Dead (i.e.: I prefer the PS3 exclusives to the 360’s), I don’t see a winning difference in online gameplay for multiplatform games in either system, and finally, the PS3 has sparked my girlfriend’s interest in games that don’t include Mario or Yoshi.
Will all readers who read this article and make the same comparisons come to the same conclusion? I doubt it. But either way, I hope that this article proves useful to anybody who is thinking of trading their 360 for a PS3.

4 comments:

  1. How did you feel about the PSN being down for about a month and the welcome back program?

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  2. It didn't affect me that much. I don't play a lot of online games. I did miss the Playstation Store, but I saved some money that month so no big deal. I remember a lot of gamers were extremely upset at how Sony handled the breach, and I'm not here to attack or defend them. Really, I didn't care. I guess some people take video games way too seriously. I love to play them, but I view them as games and the people who make them as business men and women. I don't feel like they owe anything to me or I to them. In that sense, I feel like they treated their customers fairly with the Welcome Back Program. I didn't own any of the games that they offered and love the ones I downloaded. The free month of PS+ is cool. I like the service. And Sony offered free identity theft protection to their customers for a year. It's a good deal. As far as those who use this hack attack to fan the flames of fanboyism, I don't really care about that either. I don't own a PS3 because I love Sony, or because I am loyal to them. I own a PS3 because their product meets the needs that I have for this current console generation. Thanks for reading my blog!

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  3. What do you think of the PS3's outrageous file sizes for games compared to the Xbox 360?

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  4. Can i trade in my 360 for a ps3 with no additional value?

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