Sony had an extremely successful system in the Playstation 2, possible the single most successful games system of all time with some 150 million units sold. Probably in no small part to the inclusion of a DVD movie player. However it was a system I completely avoided and have little or no experience of.
The reason goes back to the end of the Playstation 1 system. At the time I’d not long built my first PC from components with CD-Rom capabilities, a reasonable graphics chip and access to emulators. Following this I started work at a major PC superstore and another PC built from components was needed for LAN parties. Ultimately Microsoft’s debut console, the XBox, became the natural entry back in to console gaming from the PC.
Come 2005 the move from XBox to XBox 360, especially considering XBox Live, was a pretty natural one. With the Playstation 3 it was Sony who where late to the party. And when they did arrive, well to say it was a premium priced product would be an understatement.
A combination of factors, namely the choice of CPU, the inclusion of the new BluRay technology, and the need for inbuilt PS2 hardware to play older games, hit the wallet were it hurt most.
Jump cut to Christmas 2007 and the (freshly launched in the UK) PS3 is a somewhat more interesting proposition. The thing is it does have the cheapest, the best, and (probably) the only upgradeable BluRay movie player on the market. Now BluRay has killed off the rival HD DVD format and the transition from older DVD to higher quality full HD movies are underway…
Add to that a little bit of serendipity. Possibly the most interesting party game in a while, Rock Band, is just being released in the US. Alas, for whatever reason, EA (the publishers) have decided to delay the UK release by a good year. So to play this game now, you need to lay out a good £150 importing a copy from the US.
Unfortunately the 360 won’t play imported discs, being region locked to the UK only. So that means…Playstation 3.