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Consoleation: It only does disappointment

Peter Skerritt's picture

Consoleation: It only does disappointment

Since becoming a PlayStation 3-only owner, after my Xbox 360 tanked on me last month, it's become apparent how much that at least some PS3 versions of multiplatform games are sub-standard. Frame rates falter, some visual effects don't look quite right, and a smattering of other issues put these games a notch below their Xbox 360 counterparts. There are notorious examples of PS3 sub-standard offerings, such as the ill-fated version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. There's growing chatter that Call of Duty: Black Ops II has notable issues with crashing and with online connectivity.

All of these things leave me to question whether buying into whatever follow-up console that Sony decides to offer when the next generation arrives. As a consumer, Sony has managed to damage my trust and confidence several times over the course of this console generation. The Trophy system never compared to what Microsoft initiated with its Achievement system, and felt more forced than useful. Forced installs of on-disc software continue to force me to decide what to delete in order to make room for new things. Monthly (or more) firmware updates and surprise patches mean that there's often a waiting minigame to be played before getting to enjoy the real game you want to play. The PSN hack of 2011 and its associated outage still cast a specter over the online experience. On top of all that, many multiplatform offerings are clearly "second class" versions of games that run better on the Xbox 360.

I had chosen to dump the PS3 back in February of 2009, when I got my Xbox 360. I didn't feel that there were enough reasons to own both consoles. Aside from Metal Gear Solid 4, the exclusive offerings weren't strong enough for me and I was more interested in what the 360 had to offer. There were more arcade games, for example, on the 360. I liked the idea of Gamerscore and being able to track Achievements for all games, rather than the select few that supported Trophies for the PS3 at the time. Games like BioShock and Dead Space ran better on the 360, too.

But in 2010, I got a new PS3 as a birthday gift from family. There was newfound momentum with exclusives like God of War III and improving versions of MLB: The Show. After a year away from the PS3, I was happy to give it another chance and see how Sony would fare given that sales had bounced back somewhat after a mid-year price cut in 2009. It was nice that I got my previously-bought digital games back, too. I used the PS3 primarily as a console for exclusives, leaving multiplatform games to the Xbox 360. That worked for awhile, until my 360 began failing early this year. I began getting more multiplatform games for the PS3, and I tried to get used to the difference in quality.

I haven't been able to do it.

There are exceptions to the lower quality rule, thankfully. Zen Pinball 2 is on par with (or even slightly better than) Pinball FX2 on the Xbox 360. Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage and Dynasty Warriors 7 both run better on the PS3 than the Xbox 360. Many downloadable titles run pretty much the same on both platforms. Unfortunately, retail releases—notably the AAA ones—suffer in performance and quality, and the excuses aren't acceptable to me.

Obviously it's too late to expect changes now, but if you ask me which of the next-generation consoles that I would buy, it would have to be whatever Microsoft offers. That's kind of a shame, considering how much of a supporter and fan that I was of PlayStation platforms for 10 years. Both the original PlayStation and the PlayStation 2 are great platforms. I've amassed hundreds of games for both as part of my current collection. The PlayStation 3, on the other hand, has been more disappointment than it has been great. I've been underwhelmed by it, and that leads to my consumer vote of no confidence when Sony finally announces that its new platform is ready.

I'm sure that others will disagree with this sentiment, considering it too harsh or making judgments before we really know what Sony will offer. Some will offer the same excuses that I've heard for years, about how the PlayStation 3 is harder to program for or that developers aren't putting enough of an effort in to make the multiplatform versions comparable. I'm not speaking for an entire community. I'm speaking for myself, as one person. Sony has lost me, as a valued customer, unless it can prove unequivocally that the next generation will be different… because they have underperformed in all phases during this generation to the point that the PlayStation 3 is a "second class" platform that could never realistically compete with either the Wii or the Xbox 360.

See Peter's response to reader comments in a follow-up article called Re: It only does disappointment.

Category Tags
Platform(s): PS3  
Articles: Editorials   Columns  
Topic(s): Business  

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Agree 100%

Sony has become so caught up in competing with Microsoft that they've stopped playing to their strengths... getting behind 3rd party developers with cool & unusual niche titles. It's like they're just trying to be a 'me too' console. After FFXIII and the silly way they handled the hack, I sold my PS3. Not renewing the copyright for 'the Last Guardian' is the last straw for me.

A caveat

I think what you're saying about the PlayStation 3 is fair. However, it's not necessarily the case that these same mistakes will be repeated with the PlayStation 4.

I can see three main reasons that multiplatform games are better on the XBox:

1. It's based on PC architecture, which makes it more familiar to developers

2. It has a bigger install base, so it gets more attention

3. It has a better online system - because this was a huge focus for Microsoft from day 1.

I think Sony has learned its lessons about the importance of online gaming. When the next round of consoles comes out, I expect its offering to be as good as Microsoft's - and there's a good chance of it remaining free.

They may well change their mind about basing their next console on proprietary, bleeding-edge hardware as well. Regardless, this is something we'll be well aware of beforehand so you can wait, see and take it into account.

Which leaves us saying... really, the best console to get is whichever looks like being the most popular [assuming, like the PS3 and 360, that they are similar consoles. I wouldn't include the Wii in this]. That's where sometimes it's worth just holding off from the initial launch, and seeing what the buzz is like.

So, my advice? Acknowledge Sony's mis-steps this generation - but then forgive them. Approach the next round with an open mind, because either camp could produce the next front-runner. And if you really can't pick - go with the mainstream. Money means time means better performance.

Sega

This reminds me of what happened with the Dreamcast because Saturn was such a let down.u

Some counter-arguments,

Some counter-arguments, since I love my PS3 so much.

From my experience, while it's true that some multiplatform games run better on the 360, it's only a very small number which I'd consider outright bad on PS3 (from my personal collection, that's only Enslaved). To me, that flaw is outweighed a hundredfold by a slew of amazing exclusives. This of course depends on one's taste in games.

As for the Trophies vs. Achievements argument - I don't see the difference. Both are intrusive, potentially immersion-breaking notifications. Both are useless and no reason to play a game.

Another thing I don't get is the hate for PSN. I mean... it works. I can buy games. I can play online. Firmware updates just don't bother me at all. Most importantly, it's free, as it should be.

Finally, the one thing I absolutely love about the PS3 is that there is only one single game which is region-protected. Shame on you, Atlus. Shame on you.

Your individual points aren't wrong, but Sony has changed

I can't disagree with any of the individual points you've made, yet when I bought my first of those two consoles this year I bought a PS3, and I'm much more likely to buy a PS4 (eventually) than a 360. The first of the reasons for this is admittedly a taste in game thing - PS3 has more exclusives I was interested in than 360. And I have a gaming PC, so the multiplatform issue isn't as big for me.

The second is I think Sony has improved from the start of the generation and they've learned most of the lessons they needed to. They started with unnecessarily complicated hardware, an online system grossly behind the times, and with a first year most memorable for PR disasters ($599! Giant Enemy Crab! Bounties for PS3s on store shelves! That awful fake rapper site!).

But they seem to have learned their lesson. It's too late to fix their hardware this time around, but they look to be ditching the cell for PS4 and going with a more conventional setup, although that's still at the rumor stage. I can't notice any particular difference between trophies and gamerscore/achievements (I have a few GFWL games that use them) at this point. The networking offerings (Playstation Network and Playstation Plus) seem to be well-received enough now. They may be behind with indie games due to XNA and their policies, but even Nintendo has done a turnaround on that one.

So while I can't really disagree with your points on this generation, I do think that next generation will be different for Sony. Although I'm still not likely to buy anywhere near launch anyway, just because there won't be enough games for me to bother yet.

First of all if the games a sub-par

First of all if the games a sub-par it's because the developers suck at optimizing/porting the game. If you look at the exclusive titles such as Uncharted and God of War 3 they run really well and without issues.

We've all heard developers whine about how hard developing for the PS3 is. The devkit was, afaik sent out way too late and as a result there was nothing to be done about the feedback that came from third-party devs, typical shit with Japanese companies.

With the PS4 however, from what I've heard atleast the devkits are out in good time etc. So they should be fairing much better the coming generation.

And as a sidenote the whole crap with Skyrim is entierly Bethesdas fault, I mean they can't even port the game to PC without fucking mouse lag, not to mention the myriad of bugs when the game released.

All I can suggest is to keep

All I can suggest is to keep an open mind. I agree with much of what you've said. The playstation brand has repeatedly been a source of disappointment this generation. All of the hyperbole regarding PS3's complexity and power fell flat in the face or inferior cross platform ports. It appeared parity was never truly attainable for whatever reason...close, but 360 is the clear winner in this regard. With all of its foibles PS3 did succeed in presenting the larger library of platform exclusives. That is its only saving grace this generation. The quality and breadth of exclusive titles has been impressive and spans the majority of the genres.

Looking forward you may want to consider this. Sony still holds the larger stable of first party studios and has the potential to offer the same variety and quality next gen. As a gamer I have found that the best position is to own as many consoles as available for the sake of exclusives. I own both a 360 and a PS3 and I have ignored all of the acrid debate surrounding platform superiority. I get to enjoy both and moving forward I will continue to do so. I believe both companies will have strong showings and you shouldn't close the door on either one quite yet.

Sorry, but you're just

Sorry, but you're just grasping for straws to hate on Sony if you're trying to compare achievements to trophies. Both are pointless and have no effect on whether or not people buy a game. And while a handful of games may perform better on the 360 than the PS3, it doesn't really matter because those games perform best on PC. I got Skyrim for the PC, because it was designed for the PC. I got Dead Space 2 for the PS3, because it was designed for consoles and it also has exclusive content on the PS3 version. In the end, the Xbox 360 is the me-too console. All it has is multiplats that are inferior to either the PS3 or the PC, but never superior to both. And Ninja Gaiden 2 is a prime example of how much better games look on the PS3 if they are designed separately for both consoles, instead of being ported.

And if you're a person who wants to come at me saying that you can't afford a gaming PC, you should know that it's like only $150 for a good graphics card. And it takes 5 minutes to install. That's much cheaper than buying a new Xbox and paying for online every year.

Ok i read this because you

Ok i read this because you took the time to write it... in short, buy a PC, even better, build one so you can have it at the comfort of your living room, connect either a 360 or ps3 wiresless controller. [Sentence removed due to CoC violation - Moderator]

Consoles, at least from a PC gamer's perspective, is like a gameboy, you buy it because you want to play specific games. Judgin the way you are seems more of a rant than an actual educated fact.

It is super tiring to see articles like this, can hardly ever read a good'ol days article when things were in fact appreciated, not judged 24/7 because the sky is not pink for you. We are not here for you, but because what things are offered from you.
Bout me > I own all systems even though i play on a PC. i turn my xbox for 3 -4 months a year to play either COD & Halo or just COD.
I play a ps3 because not even PC has the type of exclusives.
i play a Wii because no 1 has Zelda or mario.
It is great that you can afford all those gadgets, some kids only ever get one. You should try & enjoy things more.

Disagree

You keep saying that Sony has let you down, but why are you blaming Sony? The First party titles from Sony are usually excellent and run flawlessly, the only problem is Third Party and that's not Sony's fault. Devs make the decision to use the 360 as the base platform and then port it over to the PS3. Sure the 360 is easier to develop for, but many First party and several Third party dev have proven that the PS3's architecture is capable of more raw horsepower and better quality games (bluray assisted), but Third party devs don't want to spend the extra resources to create a better product (Activision). All Sony can be blamed for is bringing superior hardware to the market. You say Sony has changed, but Sony encourages devs to explore and create new genres in gaming. All MS doe sis encourage FPS's and Kinect. If you had to choose a console based solely on exclusives, which would you choose? MS has Kinect shovelware, Halo, GOW, Forza, Fable, that's all I can think of and Sony has Gran Turismo, Uncharted, Mod Nation, Infamous, Resistance, Heavy Rain, Little Big Planet, The Last of Us, etc. Sure you can argue Halo/Gears is better than everything there and I won't disagree, well I might, but you don't buy a console for one or two games, you buy it for years of enjoyment. All I'm trying to say is that Sony has been doing an excellent job and MS has been relying heavily on Third party and a handful of exclusives, so if you want to discredit a company, you missed the mark. Sony and the PS3 are amazing, Third party companies are the let down.....

It's not really the ps3

It's not really the ps3 that's at fault. It's the lazy or incompentent developers who simply want to make a quick buck. Either way, PC gameing is the way to go. I used to be mainly a console player, but since the gtx580 came out, console games are unplayable in comparison.

what!?? ye gods from whence

what!?? ye gods from whence came this wave of common-sense, well-reasoned and polite comments/responses!?? incredible, absolutely incredible... this is both pleasantly surprising and slightly disappointing at the same time. i came in here to obviously read the article but also to enjoy the fanboy war that i was sure would ensue in the aftermath of such an inflammable topic. well done peter skerritt, well done.

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