Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sony Playstation 3--Is it worth it?

Last week I added a Sony Playstation 3 to my gaming console setup.

The Playstation 3 has been somewhat difficult to get ahold of. As you might recall from news reports last fall, after years of waiting for this new gaming platform, people lined up outside retailers for days to get their hands on one. Now, supply has exceeded demand and PS3s are becoming more widely available--as long as you're willing to pay the $600 asking price. Ouch!

So--the big question PS3 worth it? That depends on what you are looking for. The system comes with a Blu-ray DVD player (one of the two competing next-gen formats) and compared to some standalone Blu-ray DVD players, this device is about ½ the price--with a gaming system thrown in for good measure. (Of course, Blu-ray devices are still priced at early-adopter levels, and XBox owners can add an HD-DVD player to their machines for a relatively cheap $200.)

Comparing it to my Xbox 360, I do not see a lot of additional features to justify the hefty price tag. But there are some.
One significant one is that it can integrate with your PSP. The mini-USB cable, included in the box, can be used to connect your PSP to your PS3.

The PS3 feels heavy and solid. The SIXAXIS controller, on the other hand, feels very light, as it has no motors. After about a week of playing, however, the weight of the controller is not an issue. The controllers are charged over USB and you cannot replace the battery. I would like to see a way of changing batteries for the controllers purely from an environmental perspective (a lot of these controllers will go in landfills when their battery dies).

One of the biggest glitches is that some games get down-sampled to 480p if you do not have a HDTV that accepts a 720p signal (whereas the Xbox 360 would just upscale it to 1080i.) Sony cannot fix that.

Ultimately, the value of a PS3 will depend on what you are looking for--but most people, including me, think that this console is overpriced.
Sony might agree. According to Sony VP Takao Yuhara "[Sony] may look at the price as part of our strategy to expand the market when the timing is right,” Sony wants to break even in its game division by March 2008.


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