I knew I’d get a lot of complaints over yesterday’s post on “The Six Ways Each ‘Next-Gen’ Console Fails“. Even though I love to critique everything, there are still things I like too though. Here are seven ways that I think each of the current “next-gen” consoles succeed. This is just my take on it, what do you guys think? What do you like the most?
- Xbox Live: Does anything really need to be said about this? Cross-game chat, invites, picture/text/video messaging, unified friends list, single sign-on account, etc. It is the pinnacle of a complete online gaming experience that is easy to use.
- Xbox Live Arcade and XNA: Microsoft have really created an awesome solution for bringing down the barriers to game development. I love the classics like Street Fighter II and the new originals like Geometry Wars.
- HD Out Of The Box: It is great how the Xbox 360 (with the exception of the arcade model) comes with cables to play HD right out of the box. No dealing with some Best Buy employee trying to sell you on the $2000 Monster HDMI cable for “better digital frequency response modulation support implementation colors”.
- Fast Disc Drive: Every good PS3 game requires an install now, but the 360’s drive is plenty fast to just drop in and play. I don’t prefer having to switch discs (which hasn’t happened on the 360 for me yet) for a game, but I don’t know how that is any worse than having to wait through an install before every act on Metal Gear Solid 4 for the PS3.
- Wireless Controllers: It is easy to take this for granted now that every system has them, but it is really nice not to have to deal with a bunch of wires. Especially when you have four people playing on a console at once.
- Choice: Probably my favorite aspect of Microsoft’s approach to gaming is having options. I could buy an Arcade model and latter add HD cables or a hard drive and have the Pro level experience. I can rent/buy content from various online sources (Amazon Unbox, CinemaNow, and soon Netflix) other than Xbox Live. I can install games if I want too (soon) or I can just drop in the disc and play.
- Multimedia: You can play and control your music (even from an attached iPod) even while you are in a game. It supports a lot of formats (H.264, DivX, Windows Media, MPEG-2, MP3, and AAC). Xbox Live has HD movie and TV content. The Media Center Extender functionality is awesome. I can be watching a TV show and accept an invite to play Halo 3 and it will switch right to the game (Halo 3 is usually in my drive :). It has a built-in IR “eye” for my Harmony too.
- Quiet: There is no doubt about it, the PS3 is the quietest “next-gen” console out. It is probably quieter than my first PS2 actually. Sony really hit one home on not being a audible nuisance.
- Downloadable games: Sony is really leading the way with full-size game downloads being simultaneously released on disc and online; only Steam does it better. Not only is it convenient to just download a game, but then you don’t need to switch discs to play a different one.
- Multimedia / Blu-ray: Like the 360 it has broad media format support and downloadable movie and TV content, but it also supports Blu-ray HD movies. In fact, it is still really the only Blu-ray player worth buying. Without the PS3 it is likely that Blu-ray would have lost the format war.
- Built-in wired AND wireless networking: It is nice to have both options. The wireless-G is great for most people, but I can still use a wireless-N bridge if I need too (I do on my 360 for HD streaming).
- Uses standard hard drives: It is really nice that you can purchase any 2.5” SATA hard drive to expand the storage of the PS3. Sony realizes that it should make money selling content (games, movies, TV, etc) not proprietary storage to hold it.
- Web Browser: This is something that I found a lot more useful than I was expecting. It is really a pretty good browser that even supports most Flash content and the controller is utilized really well for navigation.
- Wireless Controllers: Now that rumble is back in the form of the Dualshock 3 controller the PS3 has a proper wireless controller. The only thing I’d fix would be to include a bit longer recharging cable, but at least it uses standard USB connectors so I could always buy one.
Filed In: GamingAugust 28, 2008
- Different Kind Of Controller: While I personally don’t like how the Wii’s controllers work, it obviously appeals to a lot of other people, especially “non-gamers”. I know the Wii is the first console my sister ever wanted. Hopefully this will help break game design out of the repetitive use of the same control schemes we’ve seen for some time.
- Low Launch Price: You can’t under-estimate how much price has played into the success of the Wii. It definitely reaffirmed where the volume is in the market and I’m sure that will play into Microsoft’s and Sony’s future console plans; that is good for gamers.
- Included Game: The Wii is a major throwback to an era where a game was included with every system, and that game was a major driver for sales of the console. Wii Sports is still one of the best games for highlighting the Wii’s strengths while effectively managing its weaknesses. How many launch titles can usually pull that off?
- Wireless Controllers: It had to be mentioned for the Wii too right? Due to the use of Bluetooth for the Wii-mote, it has actually become quite useful for some really cool homebrew hacking of motion sensing software too.
- Mii’s: What a great way to personalize your gaming experience. they aren’t just an icon for your profile but are actually playable in your games. The Mii concept is so great that Microsoft is even copying it now with their avatars.
- Backwards Compatibility: The Wii is the only system that still completely supports the last-gen games. It even supports the old Gamecube controllers.
- Web Browser: The Wii-mote makes a great control device for using the web on a TV. Built-in Flash support is really great too. Although it isn’t included with the console, $5 is a very reasonable price.