Why Do Gamers Opt For PlayStation?
Let me give you a brief back-story before I elaborate: I have always, for the quarter-century that I have been gaming, been drawn to great video games. Brand loyalty seemed like an entirely counter-productive mentality; biased purchasing simply leads to missing out on the best games available. It's why I had both the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis. It's why I had both the PS2 and Xbox. It's why I would turn to the PC every now and then throughout all these years. But over the past decade, I've realized that despite my multi-console approach, I've continually returned to play most of my games on a PlayStation. But why?
It has nothing whatsoever to do with bias or loyalty or fanboyism or anything like that. I wanted an Xbox 'cuz I wanted to play Halo. I have my 360 now because I adore the Gears games. And although we all have our gaming preferences, I know for a fact that mine have changed over time so I can't very well say that PlayStation just "always has the games I want." All I want is good games to play. Back in the PS1 days, I was a RPG freak and the PS1 was - no debate allowed - the king of the RPG. Some of my most memorable experiences came from that machine, and the N64 was a colossal disappointment to me (especially after the glory that was the SNES). Then I got the PS2 and the Xbox. Multiplatform games were almost always better on the Xbox; I knew this, and I went about buying my games with this knowledge at hand. And still, I ended up with far more PS2 games...I wanted the RPGs, yes, but I also wanted the GTAs (which I did not want to wait for on the Xbox), Metal Gears and Gran Turismos. The Xbox was the more powerful machine, and I loved the likes of Ninja Gaiden.
But in the end, I spent most of my time on the PS2. It was the first time since the NES/SNES generations that I had sided with one company for two generations in a row. But now it's going to become three... At first, the 360 had better versions of multiplatform games (I think we all remember the piss-poor PS3 ports), there were more titles available, and we already had a few great games. Yep, there was a time when I had 5 360 games and 3 PS3 games. Now, I have 21 PS3 games and 8 360 games. ...what happened? I honestly just noticed this. Well, we can't attribute it to my love of RPGs because I don't even own a single RPG on the PS3, and although Sony's machine is far more reliable, we can't attribute the change to this, either (my 360 has yet to fail). But hey, MGS4...Hot Shots...Resistance 2...Uncharted...and yes, it seems that certain multiplat games are slightly better on the PS3, and this trend should continue. Looking into 2009, there's Killzone 2, God of War III, Heavy Rain, and hopefully Gran Turismo 5. I want 'em all.
In the end, it just seems inevitable that I'm going to end up spending more time on my PlayStation console. Different games, different power/capabilities, different prices...it has all switched about multiple times, and even so, the PlayStations end up with more of the games I want to play. Now, considering I really only want to play the best of the best, I suppose I could conclude that Sony's consoles always end up with the best software. Well, one can easily make that argument for the PS1 and PS2, can't they? Should it be any surprise that we'll make the same argument for the PS3 when all is said and done? Personal preferences are all over the map, but many a gamer ends up opting for PlayStation, and if you ignore everything but the games - the only thing that matters most - it's tough to make an argument against any PlayStation. I guess this is just the way things are.
P.S. The Wii isn't part of this debate because it's not a next-gen console. It's a gadget. Yeah, abuse me all you want Ninty fans...then point to top-notch software of 2008 and compare it to what the 360 and PS3 had. DONE.
1/2/2009 Ben Dutka