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Console Comparisons

I've gotten a lot of looks at the PS3 this week ... When Xbox launched in 2001, a year after the PS2, there was a definite differentiation between the graphics. As far as the PS3 visuals i'm seeing now, while they are great next-generation visuals, they are about on par with the Xbox 360. The games I've seen on both platforms look pretty much identical.

There's no big leap between Xbox and PS3 -- other than the $200 higher price point. The real differntiator is going to be what exclusive content each one can get on the game side, as opposed to how much better anything's going to look on one console or the other.

I'm going to spend more time with the Nintendo Wii. I'm most impressed with the innovative gameplay -- the graphics aren't on the level of Xbox 360 or PS3, but Nintendo has the strong franchises like Mario, Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong and those kind of characters that should attract a much wider audience -- at least at first -- than the others, because of the high price points ... especially if the Wii is around $200 like the rumor mill is saying.

By Bob Greiner  |  May 11, 2006; 4:50 PM ET  | Category:  E3: Off Screen
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Jonh or Bob, thanks for the constant updates, all the sites are taking over 3 hours to update. One question though, can a keyboard and mouse be attached to the PS3's USBs. Personal opinion add; no rumble feature, was a bg mistake, hopefully, some companies will make alternate controllers with that feature. Thanks a lot, hope you give an answer. Please bro

Posted by: BBG7 | May 11, 2006 5:16 PM

I'm really looking forward to the Nintendo Wii (hate the name). Before E3, it was the games that had me thinking ... hmmm ... maybe Nintendo would have a good platform ... and after the coverage, I'm definitely getting one.

I'll hold off on the Sony PS3 until the price drops for the full-featured version, when I can get it cheaper, probably about the time I'm forced to buy HDTV (2007?)

Posted by: Will in Seattle | May 11, 2006 5:31 PM

I'm really dissapointed with the recent PS3 reviews. I had high hopes for this new system. Sony had me almost convinced this new console would ween me off of my PC. Looks like it will be some time before those "real life" graphics are really real. At this point I'm not interested in the 360 or the PS3. I play most games on PC, but with the Wii I could get my wife to play sometimes too. I'm really excited about the Nintendo.

Posted by: Mark | May 11, 2006 5:35 PM

The PS3 offers substantially better graphics than the 360 if you have the equipment to take advantage of it. The PS3 includes a blu-ray DVD player which allows for HD viewing of DVDs, while the 360 allows only regular DVDs to be played (Microsoft is releasing an external HD-DVD player later this year but it will cost extra). In addition, the PS3's cel processor performs double the amount of operations per second as the 360's inferior processor. What it all adds up to is that 3 years from now, the PS3 will be state of the art playing the latest standard of DVDs while the Xbox 360 will have become obsolete and Microsoft will be rolling out its next gen console. The extra $200 you're paying for the PS3 is a bargain given you're getting a high definition DVD player which at today's prices will run you $400+ alone. The Wii is fun -- I waited the time in line to try it out -- I'll most likely get a Wii too since its solid fun gameplay at incredible value. The PS3 has the best technical specs but at a price, the Wii has the best bang for the buck, and the 360 is for the folks last year who were too impatient to wait for the better consoles and will find themselves losing out next year when the best games are on the PS3 and Nintendo.

Posted by: Chris | May 11, 2006 5:49 PM

Dont know that you will see a difference until the games are optimized. The graphics need to be developed for the platform, if you are seeing games that are just "moved over" to PS3 then they are just demonstrating the ability to run on the platform. It will take someone to activily exploit the platform's capabilities to highlight the differences

Posted by: David | May 11, 2006 5:53 PM

> In addition, the PS3's cel processor performs double the amount of operations per second as the 360's inferior processor.

This isn't true, at all. Under certain optimal conditions you MIGHT see that kind of performance, but typical use won't. The architectural differences between the two systems almost make them apples and oranges. 3 dual core 3GHz PowerPC processors don't directly compare to the Cell processor, mostly because the Cell works in an extremely parrallel fashion.

The PS3 is also extremely difficult to program for relative to the 360. Carmack himself admits this.

Under normal operating circumstances, the PS3 and 360 should be nearly similar. I think we'll see the PS3 with an advantage in some cases, while the 360 wins elsewhere.

In buying a PS3, you're mostly buying the Blu-Ray drive. Manufacturing costs are astronomical for these drives, and it is the real reason this console is expensive. The PS3 hardware is nothing to scoff at, at all, but it's not the end all and be all of console gaming. Some of the games designed around the PS3's hardware look no better than some 1st gen 360 offerings.

Bottom line? They'll both be fun. If you're dying for a Blu-Ray player, shell out for the PS3. You'll see most of the same games ported, nearly graphically identical, to the 360.

Posted by: Justin Lindh | May 11, 2006 6:10 PM

Most game publishers have stated that they will need larger dvd storage space for the next generation of games. So in reality the 360 will almost be comparable priced to the PS3 after you pay for the hd dvd driver.

Posted by: Sara | May 11, 2006 6:24 PM

The people who lose out in a format war are the ones sit on the sidlines watching others enjoy the 360, while they talk about how great the PS3 will be whenever it shows up. I have been playing in the next generation for six months. How about you? The difference is not just in the processing power (Gamecube has about double the power of a PS2, for example), but about having fun. I am excited about Wii and PS3 too. I will own all three systems eventually. I love Halo - gotta have the 360. I love God of War - gotta have the PS3. I love Mario, so I will have them all. The people who are loyal to only one or two systems will always lose out on many great games (they will save many dollars though). People who sing the praises of how great that one system is when you can't even buy it yet seems pretty silly to me. I love games. You talk trash, I will play the games.

Posted by: Chris2 | May 11, 2006 6:24 PM

> Most game publishers have stated that they will need larger dvd storage space for the next generation of games. So in reality the 360 will almost be comparable priced to the PS3 after you pay for the hd dvd driver.

Oh really? Where did you hear this? Sources?

The fact is that hardly any developers have requested more space than DVD9, if any. The 360's HD-DVD drive WILL NOT PLAY GAMES. It's for reading movies only. This means that the 360 will only use DVD9, which I'm okay with. High processing power means we can gain more by compression without a noticeable difference. In other words, a graphical texture occupying 10 Megabytes on an Xbox 1 could potentially occupy 1 Megabyte on a 360.

The point is, DVD9 is still huge and nobody is using it to its full potential today. I'm sure most, if not all, Blu-Ray games will be under the DVD9 barrier anyway.

Posted by: Justin Lindh | May 11, 2006 6:59 PM

I look forward to relaxing and relieving stress.. So you have a hard day at work, you pop in a tennis game and grab the remote. You swing the control the same way you would with a tennis racket. As you move the controller the racket moves on your screen. You hear a loud tap from the built in speaker and your controller rubbles as you tap the ball in the air. Then you slam the virtual ball towards the widescreen TV, the controller rubbles again and you hear the slam.

I am definitely buying a wii and I think that wii all will. At first I thought the name was terrible and I laughed hard. Now, I think it's awesome. How could it not be? It's a wii! ;)

I tip my hat to Nintendo.

Posted by: Wii all the way | May 11, 2006 7:18 PM

As a 3rd party developer, most the games we make will be the same graphically on the 360 and the PS3. It won't be cost effective to graphically tweek the games for only one specific platform unless Sony or Microsoft kick up exclusivity money, which they rarely do. If either machine can dominate the market then you may see unique attention.

It's important to look at the history of game machines. Powerful graphics platform have a lot of the machine machups so far. SNES lost to Genesis, Xbox lost to PS2, Dreamcast, 3DO were all graphically superior at their times, they lost too.

In the end good games on your machine win the war, not good graphics.

PS3 has a hard road. You're looking at $720+ for the machine, a single game and tax on it. Unless you buy the Tard configuration ($500), which wouldn't be smart if you ever want to watch 1080p.

Posted by: Game Developer | May 11, 2006 8:22 PM

I know I will definitely get a wii but I still have lingering doubts about PS3 and XBOX. The PS3 is so darned expansive and was no impressed by its showing at this years E3 so far. As for the Xbox i'm worried it wont be furure proof, will it be able to handle the complex physics that an PS3 or a computer with a physics car can?

Posted by: kyle_tech | May 11, 2006 9:09 PM

I am not sure why people are complaining about the PS3's price. When the XBOX 360 came out, people were willing to pay upwards of $1500 for it on ebay. Also concidering the technology offered (Blu-Ray, Wi-Fi, etc.) $500 is a bargain. New HD-DVD players coming out are $600. However, even with all of Sony's muscle the silent winner will be the Wii. In fact the only reason why Sony is the leader now is because Nintendo astranged the developers. This time around I don't believe it will be the case. Let us also not fail to mention that the Wii is completely revolutionary. Of course only time will tell who wins, but Wii will see in the end.

Posted by: Sivad | May 11, 2006 10:17 PM

Let's put it like this: The Wii will be able to handle the Havok physics engine (look on for proof), which requires an EXTRREME amount of processor power. If the Wii, or even the present GC can handle it, just how much more processor power is actually needed? The only thing the Cell Processor will be good for is complex enemy AI... which will not be easy to program for, on a system that is already widely known to be difficult to work with.

In the end, get the system with the most games you want to play for it.

Honestly, the Wii has more launch titles that I am interested in than games I'd like to see on both stronger consoles combined. But I'm sure I'll own all three before we have to shell out for the $1,000 PS4...

Posted by: Andy | May 11, 2006 10:18 PM

On second thought, Sony could EASILY save themselves in the long run by releasing a third type of PS3, removing the Blu-ray drive and HDD completely. This would drive the price down to about the same as the 360's core package.

However, they will not do this. We are still in a format war for High-Def media. Sony lost when it was Beta-max vs. VHS, but they did not have the opportunity to force the technology into people's homes. They have that opportunity now. By forcing Blu-ray on consumers, they will sooner or later buy Blu-ray movies, proving to movie producers that their's is the way to go.

Once that happens, MAYBE we'll seen a cheaper alternative, to PUNISH people who didn't adopt early.


Posted by: Andy | May 11, 2006 10:37 PM

The differences are so minimal between the PS3 and the 360 they aren't even worth talking about. There is a fault in the design architecturer that causes a bottleneck in data flow on the ps3. Period. They will end up being the same. If you want BluRay the PS3 is an outstanding buy. Personally I have no interest in that new copy protection scheme. I love ripping all my DVD's to my hard drive and sending them over my network to the 360's hooked up to HD projectors. Sure the picture is simply 480p but there will never be a disc to scratch or a new format to buy. My wedding videos put to music for my wife and her friends to watch when their over sent from a Media Center PC to either 360 - now that's value. Now I think I can get my wife to play a few games with me with that Wii controller. And, I can get a 360 which works with all my network content and a Wii for as much as a PS3 that's pretty cool, and I'm not the kind of guy that worries about money. Just time. If you buy into the need to repurchase every DVD you already own just so you can watch it in 1080p you need a few new hobbies other than video games and movies. It's a big world out there so be careful in your purchase decisions. Think BetaMax and UMD.

Posted by: SmilingAssassin | May 12, 2006 12:05 AM

Sony is making a big blunder here.They thought they had such a loyal fan base with over 100 million ps2 sold over the last five years, that they could force blu ray down our throats so they could win the next dvd format war and reap the royalties.But there is really no need for blu ray yet, I have a 51" hdtv with a $100.00 upconverting dvd player that looks great with normal dvd's.So I will not be subsidising blu ray buy buying a ps3 I think I will go with the Wii60 combo of a wii and 360 for the same price as the ps3.

Posted by: scott | May 12, 2006 12:30 AM

Better yet - buy an Xbox 360 and put it in the cupboard - then go out and use the money you might spend on games - living.

The real bonus of this strategy is the Xbox 360 only make Microsoft money if you buy games for it.

So - you've caused Microsoft to loose money - and you get to have a life :)

Everyones a winner ;)

Posted by: R0bster | May 12, 2006 8:50 AM

PS3 really has some innovative stuff going for it, and although the programming may be a bit more complex than the 360, it won't take developers long to find a way to make some really impressive leaps in graphics and interaction. Add to that the ability to attach items, and HD DVD and, POW! Number 2 on my shop list!

Number 1 is definitely a Wii! Bang for the buck this console looks to have the quickest "fun" factor. And love the proposed price. Time will tell if the inability to play in the hi-intensity graphic arena will capsize them. till then this looks like a winner.


Posted by: Doc | May 12, 2006 9:21 AM

Here we go again...Console Wars III (or is it IV?)...

To me, the big news is, Sony could have "won" but appears to have turned off everybody by the pricing, and lack of perceived difference between the XBox 360.

The next biggest news is, nobody is laughing at the "Wii" anymore. People are now laughing with it, and talking about how exciting the games are, and the controller. (It looks to me like Nintendo stole the show, actually...after the Tuesday news conference, all you heard was, "The graphics aren't 'next-generation'." After the demos, all you heard was, "Wow." Seems playing is believing).

And, Microsoft is still in the game. Cool! More choice for consumers!

Posted by: Ijo | May 12, 2006 11:17 AM

> Most game publishers have stated that they will need larger dvd storage space for the next generation of games. So in reality the 360 will almost be comparable priced to the PS3 after you pay for the hd dvd driver.

Chris, do you work for Sony? DVD's have had plenty of room for every game I've worked on. Usually we put 2 or 3 copies of artwork on the disk to speed up the seeks, and as far as I can tell, the preliminary Blu-Rays have terrible seek performance.

Posted by: Gil Colgate | May 12, 2006 1:02 PM

I'm extremely excited about this new generation of consoles, because it means I'll be able to pick up the previous generation consoles and games for a tiny fraction of the prices that suckers... woops, I mean "hard core gamers" paid when they first came out. Thanks guys, now go on, go buy those PS3's, XBOX 360's and Wii's!

Posted by: Funda oppenheimer | May 12, 2006 1:16 PM

From all the coverage I seen so far, I am more excited about Nintendo and Microsoft than Sony. Not because PS3 won't have great games, but because the thing is DAMN expensive (system + controllers + games + TAX). I dont own a HDTV, nor I will soon. I'm all about having out-of-the-box fun playing games with friends/family, and Nintendo does it really well. Plus the Wii will have some sort of connection to the DS and I am getting a DS Lite June 11th.

Posted by: Roth | May 12, 2006 1:24 PM

It all sounds pretty exciting. Maybe in a few years the consoles will be on par with modern day computers.

Go play some Battlefield 2 on the PC for a few hours and then come back and tell me that the 360, PS3 or Wii are even in the same universe. It's all about the gameplay, and I find consoles way too damn restricting.

Posted by: mheisig | May 12, 2006 1:27 PM

Remember the Sega Saturn? Sega had massive momentum from their enormously successful Genesis. Sony, on the other hand, had a brand new, unproven platform with the original PlayStation.

Why did Sega not only lose, but get trounced so badly they never recovered, eventually having to abandon the console market altogether? Because developers never warmed to the Saturn as a result of it being difficult to program for.

What an irony, then, that Sony, with the PlayStation 3, is making the same mistake that its onetime rival did and which made Sony the now dominant player.

Posted by: Lion | May 12, 2006 1:37 PM

The bottom line is, the PS3 is not available this holiday season, for mose in the US. I don't know how many Wii's will be available--probably more than the PS3 but still sold out.

For most in the US, if you want a next gen system, without fear of long lines, and hostile crowds, only the 360 is feasible.

The ps3 and wii are really part of the summer of 2007's battle. Microsoft is sitting pretty now, they probably won't even drop the price this year.

Posted by: games-a-foot | May 13, 2006 1:23 AM

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