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The Lost Weekend And The New Playstation

Video GamesThe wife and kid are traveling, so I geeked out this weekend and spent much of Sunday gaming online. I hooked the Xbox up on the big TV, ran the sound through the home theater, plopped down in the recliner and plowed through a day of mayhem, destruction and chaos. It was fun, but the whole time I was playing, I kept thinking of how much better it would be with an HDTV and an Xbox 360.

I was still coming down from that rampage high when I heard the news about the Playstation 3. After months of online chatter about Sony’s plans, they had finally released details. Given the sticker shock and awe, I was disappointed.

[T]he PS3 will come in two flavors: a tricked out system for US$599 and one with fewer features for US$499 (Europeans will pay €599 and €499). Ouch.

The more expensive system will include a 2.5″ 60GB hard drive, 4 USB 2.0 ports, a memory card reader, built-in 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0, support for HD displays up to 1080i and 1080p, one HDMI output, AV output, and digital optical output. That’s a nice bundle.

In contrast the cheaper system has a 20GB hard drive, loses the memory card reader, the WiFi support, and here’s the biggie, the HDMI output. So if you’re planning to rely on the PS3 to play Blu-ray movies, you may not have the experience you hoped for due to the lack of a protected output path on the lower-end model. Right now, the only two studios that have made a decision on the use of the Image Constraint Token on the next-gen optical formats have decided against using it for now. That may change, and there is no guarantee that all the movies you try watching on the cheaper PS3 won’t be downsampled.

In other words, the extra $100 is well worth it, but that puts the actual price tag for a decent system at $600. That’s a bit steep.

Sure, the controllers are cool, can detect the motion of the unit, and have no cord, but they lose the vibration, which I have grown used to. Game play would be completely different if I didn’t feel like I was fighting guerillas with a funky dildo.

I’m also not sure about the motion detection in the controller. I’ve watched amateur gamers play and they often flop around like fish – dodging imaginary bullets like some spastic-Matrix Neo. If the controller reacted to that, the character they direct would spend most of the day on their ass looking at sky.

Serious gamers may want to take this one home, but for me, the casual gamer, it’s too expensive, and not worth the commitment.

Written by Michael Turk