Christmas PS3 Blues

By: Rob O'Neill

Patience is a virtue, and you're going to have to be pretty virtuous if you're one of the millions of UK PlayStation Fans awaiting the arrival of the PS3. As if it wasn't bad enough we had to rewrite our letters to Santa this year (because it now won't hit our shelves until March), we're also all going to be green with envy as the web fills up with the usual reviews, cheats, and walkthroughs etc from sites in the States where they will get their hands on the console from November 17th.

Personally, my patience (lost my virtue a long time ago) ran out already, and my craving for HD gaming led me to the XBOX 360. I suspect many others will do the same this Christmas and I don't blame you. To not release the most hyped console of all time for Christmas has got to be the craziest decision Sony has made (apart from the choice of software packed with their MP3 Walkman - but don't get me started on that one). It can't even be based on format because the PS3 will be region free, and you can play any PS3 game on it no matter what part of the world you bought it from.

If you do decide to cut your losses and go for the XBOX 360 you won't be disappointed, I certainly haven't been.

But you should be aware that in their hurry to steal the HD gaming market, Microsoft left a couple of jobs as 'work in progress'. Although the list is growing, the XBOX 360 still only plays a handful of original XBOX games. If you're starting afresh that?s fine, but if you've got a hefty back-catalogue of XBOX titles you were planning to play then that?s a real bummer. Backwards compatibility was a target that simply wasn't reached in time for release and early release was obviously of greater importance to Microsoft than it appears to be for Sony.

However, if you're a PlayStation purist, or simply do not fancy the XBOX 360 or the Nintendo Wii, then your virtue will be well rewarded. Although I find it difficult to understand some of Sony's business decisions, I can fully understand the hype surrounding the PS3. It will be without doubt the most powerful domestic games console available, boasting the 'Cell' processor, twelve times faster than processors found in top range PC's. The PS3 will also offer 'Blue-ray' technology which Sony are heavily promoting to take over from DVD, as well as offering free 'out of the box' online gaming (broadband connection required).

All of this extra 'oomph' inevitably comes at a cost, and you should expect to pay more for the prestige of owning such a machine. You'll also need to keep an eye on game prices too from November and compare them to its rivals, afterall there is no point owning the thing if you have to rob a bank every time you want something to play on it. On the plus side it will play any PS2 or PS1 titles you have tucked away.

Whatever you decide, have a happy Christmas, and keep on gaming !

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