Is The PS3 The Only Console That Can Continue To Advance?
Time flies. I can easily remember when all three current consoles launched, but it took today's article for the time gap to really hit home...it's just hard to believe the PlayStation 3 and Wii are in their fourth years while the Xbox 360 is in its fifth. But it got me to thinking: considering what we've seen as of late, is it safe to assume that Sony's machine is the only one remaining that has further potential? I.e., the only console that can continue to push the envelope and allow developers to do more with their ambitious visions?
The Wii may not factor into the conversation, as technically speaking, it has been essentially the same machine since the moment it released. It sells on the motion-sensing idea and a few top-notch exclusives here and there, but with PlayStation Move and Kinect launching later this year, and given the inherent limitations of the Wii, I doubt Nintendo has much left in the tank. They can still give us our Marios and Zeldas and Metroids and what-have-you, but in terms of "advancing," I think we're just about done. Now, as for the Xbox 360, the most impressive titles are games like Gears of War 2, Forza 3 and Alan Wake, but they sort of pale in comparison to the likes of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Heavy Rain, God of War III, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and Killzone 2, and in the future, we'll see LittleBigPlanet 2, Gran Turismo 5 and Killzone 3. The point is, while it's undeniable that later Xbox 360 games certainly outshine the launch titles, I'm not sure we're seeing examples of significant technical improvement in the past year or so.
In other words, once Gears 3 arrives, I think that's the best you'll see from the 360 (unless Halo: Reach really surprises me). While in the meantime, we can all sort of imagine Uncharted 3, and we have accumulating documented evidence from developers who say they can further optimize with the PS3; they can continue to delve into the machine and extract more potential and power. There was a time when many of those same developers were saying something similar in regards to the 360 but by now, it appears there isn't much left in that console. To reinforce this, more and more designers are using the PS3 as the lead dev platform for their projects and the more this happens, the more the 360 will start to show its age. Lastly, there's a continued belief amongst PS3 fans that in many ways, multiplatform development that includes a less powerful machine is holding the PS3 back.
But of course, the generation isn't over yet. The PS3 may have proven itself as the most capable console by a significant amount, but the gap may continue to widen over time. Look at the PS2 generation: what started with Summoner, Fantavision, Tekken Tag Tournament and X-Squad ended with God of War II, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Final Fantasy XII. So, looking down the road, what can we expect when the PS3 hits its peak...? And is it not safe to assume that the competition is already sitting at their respective peaks?
6/29/2010 12:26:53 PM Ben Dutka