How Did You Decide Upon Your Next-Gen Console Purchase?
Too often, analysts and journalists forget that with the sheer amount of information available these days, it can be difficult for a consumer to make a decision. I can distinctly recall working down at EB during the launch of the PS2 (yes, I'm that old; just shut up), and it became painfully clear that most consumers, even some who considered themselves gamers, were dazed and confused. "Just too many conflicting reports," or something to that affect, is a commonly heard comment. So, how did you decide upon your console purchase?
Bear in mind I'm only talking about this new generation, so if you've purchased a PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, or Wii, I want to know why. How did you arrive at the conclusion? None of these, even the relatively inexpensive Wii, is cheap enough to be considered an "impulse buy," so obviously, one would assume a great deal of thought went into your purchase decision. I am well aware of the fanboys who plunked down their money without doing any research whatsoever, but if they bothered with responsible research, they wouldn't be embarrassingly biased, now would they? Anywho, I suppose I'll start; I own a PS3 and a 360, and here's why-
The Xbox 360 Purchase
I had an Xbox, and although it turned out to be a far less reliable machine than my PS2 (and I had far fewer games for it), I figured there would be a few gems on the 360 that I couldn't afford to pass up. I had the Xbox for the likes of Halo and Ninja Gaiden, early awesome stuff like Deathrow, and the fact that multiplatform titles were almost always best played on this console. I wasn't convinced the latter would happen in the new generation, given the rumors of the PS3's impending power, but I knew there would be a few 360 exclusives I absolutely had to play. I worried about the reliability, and although it's clear that the numbers have proven it to be the least reliable system in history, mine is still fine. The one I got in mid-2006 still works great; even better than the original Xbox (which constantly gave me DRE errors).
I don't go online much so Live was never a big draw for me, but the revamped S Controller - after the debacle of the original Xbox controller - made me satisfied with the gamepad I got with the 360. I didn't have a HDTV then so that didn't really factor in, and while the game selection was thin, it's always thin during the first year of a console's existence. So, I made the purchase, and although I'm playing on the machine a little less than I expected, the vindication is just about here. The two Gears games alone have already come close, but I do want more.
The PlayStation 3 Purchase
I got this on launch day as I did the PS2, but to be 100% honest, it was only for work-related purposes. I had just started full-time here at PSXE and I needed the thing to help the site. Really, if I didn't need it for that, I most certainly wouldn't have bought it for quite a while. $600 was crazy pricey, I didn't have a HDTV yet to enjoy the Blu-Ray option, and because I remembered the horrid reliability issues the PS2 faced during launch, I was nigh-on convinced the same thing would happen to the PS3. And besides Resistance: Fall of Man, there really weren't any games at launch that interested me. So I guess we have to bypass the actual purchase decision (because it wasn't really a "decision") and look at whether or not I'm happy with the system at this point in time. Well, the short answer is "yes."
Being a huge RPG fan during the PS1 and PS2 days, I figured I'd at least get the same from the PS3, but it hasn't turned out that way. I've actually gone to the 360 for my RPG fixes so far (Lost Odyssey was great, IMO). But the PS3 surprised me in more positive ways: first, the reliability has been perfect (I still have the original 60GB machine I got on launch day), Blu-Ray on my new HDTV is brilliant, due to the free Network I'm online more often, and I've watched in fascination as the software roles have apparently shifted this generation. Once we get Killzone 2, and now that Resistance 2 is already out, it's hard to say the PS3 isn't the king of FPSs this generation, whereas the Xbox most certainly was last generation. That's just one "for instance," but I remain happy with the exclusives we've already had (Warhawk, Heavenly Sword, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, LittleBigPlanet, Resistance 2, Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, etc.), and the upcoming exclusive list is bad-ass. I'm already salivating for GoWIII, KZ2, GT5, Uncharted 2, and FF Versus XIII.
I still think the Sony controller is the best one ever made, and having backwards compatibility on the console, which I really loved at first, is still a bonus. I just got a sleek silver PS2 so I don't really use it as much, but b/c on the PS3 is still worth mentioning. That, and I see PS3 versions of multiplat games becoming superior on the PS3 as developers start their development plans on Sony's machine. At the very least, the games will be mostly identical across both platforms whereas last generation, the PS2 version rarely equaled the Xbox version. So yeah, I really do love everything the PS3 has offered and will offer in the future.
As for the Wii, I won't ever consider purchasing a gadget that isn't really a game console. Now, what about you? How'd you end up with the system(s) you have this generation?
1/17/2009 Ben Dutka