PS3: For Both Casual And Hardcore Gamers?
With the console wars raging, it's easy to find a thousand different opinions assaulting the Internet, but one recently caught our eye: it centers on the idea that the PlayStation 3 is now the "Casual Gamer's Concept Of Choice." You can read the full article here, and we have something to add:
As you can see, the author lists six reasons why the PS3 is the best option for casual gamers. The loss of Nintendo's control over Wii developers, the PS3's inclusion of Blu-Ray and free online, "comparable choices for casual gamers on PSN," PlayStation Home is "far more than a gimmick," and of course, a crazy strong 2008 software lineup. Now, we certainly agree, but as we all know, software ultimately sells a piece of gaming hardware (even though more features are certainly available this generation). Furthermore, it all depends on how you define the "casual" gamer; is it someone who simply wants the practical and simple in regards to their hobby, or is it just someone who plays a few sports or music games with friends now and again? In focusing on the PS3 software, we'd like to point out something that may once again become evident in this new generation: a Sony console will be the prime target for hardcore gamers.
Last generation, the PS2 was essentially the only console that would offer niche titles like JRPGs, strat/RPGs, more obscure adventure and puzzle titles, etc. Only the hardcore would typically buy something like one of the Shin Megami Tensei titles, for instance. Now, in looking at the Xbox lineup, we saw plenty of FPS, sports and action, but "niche" titles weren't exactly common. Thus, in simply examining the software alone, the Xbox was the quintessential "casual" console. The PS2 has much of the same, of course, which is probably why the system appealed to more people (120 million+ ended up buying the thing). Bottom line? The games hardcore gamers would buy, we found most of them on the PS2. The GameCube had a few here and there, but the overall lack of software in general immediately dropped it out of the running, as far as we're concerned.
So perhaps we should be looking at the software lineups to determine which system is the ultimate "casual gamer's" console this generation. If we do, it's a bit closer, isn't it? But we still find that many potentially niche titles that only hardcore gamers will touch might be exclusive to the PS3. We will see more on the 360 and Wii, but when the smoke clears, we believe more of those great yet under-appreciated games will end up as PS3 exclusives. If this is the case, we'll agree that it has some no-brainer features that appeal to the casual gamer, but at the same time, it shouldn't be dismissed by the hardcore. That'd be a crucial mistake, in our estimation.
3/9/2008 Ben Dutka