The Sony PlayStation 3, on paper at least, should be able to give the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii’s shins and knees a firm and deeply unpleasant kicking. Unfortunately the Xbox 360′s monumental back catalogue of games and the Wii’s inimitable, innovative style have taken the gloss off the PS3′s mantle as “the world’s most powerful games console”.
That’s not to say that the PS3 doesn’t handle games well, because it does. Games look awesome thanks to the Cell and RSX processors. It’s just that the PS3 is capable of more than just spitting out next-gen games: the built-in Blu-ray, HDMI output and 1080p resolution mean that the Def is about as Hi as it gets, delivering rapier-sharp images in your games and films. As a movie player it rivals dedicated Blu-ray machines for speed, clarity and sheer eye-popping gawp-o-vision realism. Unfortunately, it’s that Blu-ray machine that’s the central justification for the PS3′s wallet-botheringly large price tag (£440 for a 160GB console).
On top of games and flawless Blu-ray playback, the PS3 handles multimedia with aplomb, while its built-in Wi-Fi means you can wirelessly grab digital movies, photos and music from your PS3 and stream it to your PSP whether you’re lying prone in bed or hiding quietly from bailiffs in a cupboard. And while we’re talking about keeping it quiet, the PS3′s near-silent fan makes the Xbox 360′s sound like Brian Blessed humming through a megaphone.
All that’s great if you consider this a multimedia machine. But if you’re looking at it as a games console, well, that’s a different matter. While the PS3 has improved in that respect since its inception, introducing AAA games such as Killzone 2 and Little Big Planet, it still can’t compete with the Xbox 360′s immense back catalogue. Similarly its online service, the PlayStation Network, is still lagging behind Xbox Live in terms of content and overall community.
Having said all that, the PlayStation 3 is still an immense console. The Wii may have gobbled up the pocket money market and the Xbox may be the hardcore gamer’s choice, but the PS3 is a powerful, flexible behemoth of a console. If only it could get the games to match…