XBox 360 or PS3?

Dear Internet,

I’m planning on finally joining the 21st century and buying a new gaming console. Let me rephrase that: I want to buy a new not-almost-strictly-for-kids gaming console. (I have a Wii and, frankly, I’m not all that crazy about it.) I still have a PlayStation 2 which I absolutely adore, and for which there are still a ton of great games I’ve yet to play (Killzone, Black, Xenosaga, Shadow of the Colossus, Devil May Cry, Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus…), but I’d still like to move to something a bit more advanced. 

Recently, a friend gushed to me about how incredible a gaming experience the Mass Effect series was, and how I should totally play it. He sent me a few videos, and it wasn’t long before I totally fell in love with it. (Totally.) I wanted one right there and then. I almost picked up an XBox 360, too, just so I could play Mass Effect. (Also, because Amazon had the now-previous-generation XBox 360 on sale for $250 including Final Fantasy XIII.)

But then I started thinking: $300 isn’t exactly chump change. On top of that, premium titles usually run about $60. Would I buy a gaming system just so I could play one game? Actually, yeah. It’s why I originally bought my PlaysStation 2, so I could play Final Fantasy X (to this day, along with Final Fantasy VII, one of my all-time favorite games.) Still, Mass Effect isn’t in that category for me just yet. It’s enough to prompt me buying a new system, but not enough to make me commit to the XBox 360, when the PlayStation 3, which also serves as an excellent BluRay player, is out there for about the same price. (Alright, it’s $50 more. Big whoop.)

Anyway, the point of this story: I’m trying to decide between an XBox 360 and a PlayStation 3. I’ve made a list of pros and cons for each system, and if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to hear what you have to say about it.

Playstation 3 vs Microsoft XBox 360

  • Games: Arguably, this is the most important aspect, but I start with it because it prompted my search. The great part is that most premiere titles are made for both systems, so the subject of exclusive games doesn’t hold the weight it once used to. Still, there are enough exclusives out there to make it a factor to consider. In the XBox 360 camp the only titles that really call my attention are in the Fable series and the Mass Effect series. (I’ve never been much of a Halo fan, so the new game doesn’t hold much appeal for me.) PlayStation, on the other hand, has a number of exclusives I’m interested in playing: God of War 3, the LittleBigPlanet series, the Uncharted series, and the Metal Gear Solid series are among these. And as far as downloadable games go, the fact that I can download Final Fantasy VII onto the PS3 makes that all the sweeter. Most of the other titles I’m interested in (Red Dead Redemption, Batman: Arkham City, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Final Fantasy XIII, Madden 11, and even Mass Effect 2) are available for both systems, so this isn’t as big a deal as it once was. Still, I have to say it: Advantage: PS3, overwhelmingly.
  • Backwards Compatibility: The XBox 360 can play games from the original XBox. The PS3 is limited to just PS3 games. (The originals had PS2 compatibility, but this was redacted in later versions.) Therefore, the potential game library for the XBox 360 is MUCH larger and MUCH more affordable than the PS3’s game library. This is a pretty big selling point for me, since I don’t mind buying older (but not used) titles. (They’re cheaper and the money still goes to the developer.) Advantage: XBox 360, overwhelmingly.
  • Play pals: Networking in games is HUGE these days. HUUUUGE. It’s an important feature in modern games. As such, the fact that most of my friends have an XBox 360 rather than a PlayStation 3 means that I’m far more likely to use these features on the XBox than the PS3, since the systems can talk to other people using the same system. (Sad, but true.) Still, here’s the deal: I don’t see myself using this feature all that often. I may be proven wrong, however, once the opportunity presents itself, and it’s a very tempting opportunity. Advantage: XBox 360, overwhelmingly.
  • Motion Controls: Kinect is getting ALL the press these days, and for good reason: it looks awesome. In fact, it could potentially put my Wii completely out of business. Thing is, I’m not interested in it, especially since it’s a $150 peripheral, nor am I interested in the PlayStation’s Move controller. If I want to play a motion game, I’ll probably do something like go outside and play a sport. Or, you know, turn on my Wii. Advantage: Wii. (Hey, my list, my answers. Shaddup.)
  • Controllers: Since this IS the way I will be interfacing with the system, it’s an important consideration. I’m used to the PlayStation controllers. I’m not crazy about the XBox controllers, although I’m sure I could grow accustomed to them. Advantage: PS3.
  • Movies: I know, physical media is dead. Whatever, I still like owning my stuff on disks. Call me a Luddite, I don’t care. HD DVD lost. BluRay won. Sad, but true. (I was rooting for HD DVD.) Buying a PS3 saves me from having to buy a BluRay player, especially since it can be updated to the latest standard version. In short, the PS3 may be the world’s greatest BluRay player. XBox, on the other hand… uhm… well, I can buy used HD DVDs for cheap, right? Oh, that’s right NetFlix…which both of them have. (I stream movies using my Wii ALL. THE. TIME. So yeah, this is a really useful feature.) Advantage: PS3, but only barely: I plan to keep buying DVDs for a while, since I get most of mine used anyway, and from what I understand XBox’s NetFlix functionality doesn’t require a disk while PlayStation’s does. (I may be wrong here.)
  • Cost: XBox 360S is $299. (I can get the previous model for $250 which includes Final Fantasy XIII, but the tradeoff here is no Kinect connectivity and no native wireless networking.) For the same stats, PS3 is $350, although it also includes a BluRay player, which saves me $100, so $350 – $100 = $250. Practically speaking the XBox is cheaper. Potentially the PS3 is cheaper. Therefore, I’m calling it a tie. Advantage: None.
  • Upgradability: In either case, I can upgrade the hard drive. I don’t think there’s really much else I can upgrade so I’m calling it a tie here, too. Advantage: None.

So that’s my list up to now. I’m leaning heavily towards a PS3–mostly because of the games–but the XBox 360’s popularity among people who I’d likely play with weighs very, very heavily, despite my lack of familiarity with it. (In short, it’s a gamble.) There are other aspects I know about but haven’t mentioned here (XBox’s Windows Media compatibility), but these don’t matter to me so I didn’t mention them. Feel free to talk about them, though: I’m sure there are things I’m not taking into consideration.

Your turn, dear Internet. I seek the wisdom of your crowds. XBox 360 or PS3? (I would especially love to hear from people who’ve owned or currently own both.) While you think up your answers, if you don’t mind, my new copy of Shadow of the Colossus for the PS2 is here. Time to check it out.

23 thoughts on “XBox 360 or PS3?

  1. Actually, the PS3 can play any PS1 game, if that helps.

    But yeah – losing the PS2 compatibility sucks, and Sony’s new mode of “We’re remaking those games for the PS3” is almost as insulting.

  2. Regardless what happens, I plan on keeping my PS2 around. Also, provided the games are cheap enough, I don’t mind buying re-made games, unless I already own them, In which case, DAMN YOU, SONY!

  3. I personally enjoy my Xbox. The main reason I have it is to play with other people i know and alot of people i know have one. Like you said the collection of games is similar so it comes down to exclusives and the PS3 games were’nt really interesting enough for me to warrant getting one. There is the pay to play online for the 360 which you may not like but at 5dollars a month i don’t really consider it a big issue. Oh and don’t forget the Red ring of death I’ve had my xbox since the day it came out and have’nt had an issue with it but my understanding is Microsoft fixes it or gives you a new xbox for free.

    Sorry about the bad grammar but english was never a strong suit of mine.


  4. The slim’s no longer have PS2 compatibility? Suuuuuuper suck. It’s worth picking up an extra PS2 for “Just in case” back up, especially when the price drops even lower. Like when you could find stacks of Dreamcast systems for $20. Good times.

    Just from a cursory glance at your list of pros and cons… I’m leaning towards you getting a PS3.

    You can get a Slim for $299, and they have bundles all the time that come with a game or 2 for the same price. There’s likely to be some new ones announced with new titles very soon.

    I have both systems, and I love them both, but I definitely use them in different ways. I use my PS3 almost daily as a media center, and blu-ray player and to play PS3 exclusives. The sad state of affairs in my life these days is that I’ve witnessed myself go from hard core gamer from nearly birth, to merely a gaming enthusiast. I stay current with all relevant news and media, but I have a back catalog of games going almost 10 years that I’ve yet to get around to playing, but keep telling myself “one day.” I’ve since given up on that ambition and started selling them, because lots are cherry and still sealed, and I’ve an upcoming wedding to pay for. 😉 Also… these days freakin’ classic PS1 RPG’s that I’d been hanging onto for historical posterity are now seeing themselves ported to telephones and mobile devices… oh… the future.

    Regarding Mass Effect:

    More on Media Center Awesomeness:

    With the latter link, I stream TV, and movie rips. I’m working diligently to declutter my life, and realize I so very seldomly am aching to watch bonus features on films (if I do, I can always netflix the disc) so I’ve been ripping and selling my physical media, and otherwise supplementing media consumption with Netflix/Hulu, etc.

    Netflix on PS3 currently does require a disc to load the application, but that’s due to some exclusive licensing that XBOX signed with them. That’s set to run out in the next 6-8 months. At which point Netflix will see itself in-line with the PS3 XMB. Streaming Netflix… also awesome.

    I tend to purchase more cross platform games for the XBOX because of 2 primary reasons… Most are coded initially for the 360 and then ported to the PS3 resulting in the XBOX having the better version as far as visuals go. (The one recent title to buck the trend was FFXIII as the opposite was true in development.) And secondly, for the on-line factor.

    Now be that as it may… in spite of having a loaded friends list… I hardly ever match up with friends on-line. The only games I ever make concerted effort to schedule gaming with friends around the country are for Super Street Fighter 4 and Tekken 6. And even that I’m not so good about. I usually want to game in peace. So if you’re not already a hard core on-line gamer, it’s not that big of an issue. I’m also finding myself in an extra lame state where I really just don’t give a crap about first person shooters as much as I used to. So that’s not even a big selling point for me there.

    Back on the point of motion controls, even though it’s not a big deciding factor for you… this tech demo for Playstation’s Move system sold me these past few days:

    The first round of software is going to be typical, mostly lack luster/working out the kinks fare… but with that tech, the future looks pretty sweet once devs get the hang of coding for it.

    Side Note: a lot of Sony’s hype at this past E3 was centered around 3D gaming, and how they’re essentially ready to when you say when… but I think that was a lot of waste of press as it’s still so many years from being common place in the living room if it’s a fad that even sticks. Seeing as the cost of entry between a 3D capable display, and additional required accessories is in the $4-$5k range. And 3D console gaming is still unproven.

    So that’s the bulk of my wordy opinion as someone who owns both systems, and loves them both for the tasks in which I utilize them.

    Alsooooo: Back on the topic of double dipping on game titles… it’s one thing if it’s a remastering of the Spyro series… but if they do things like this:

    … I’ll probably buy them as many times as I need to.

  5. I have both, but I use the 360 a lot more. I like the UI for Netflix on 360 a lot better, my friends that play multiplayer games (read: Borderlands) have 360s, and when I was first in the market, the 360 had more games I was interested in (Gears of War).

  6. Wow. Lots of comments on this one. Thank you, dear Internet! (Also, all you commentators.)

    @Akili – You just added another notch to the XBox belt. In fact, thinking about it last night, I figured that many of my game purchasing decisions on the XBox would be dictated by what games my friends owned. Being the social person that I am, that’s something I’m realizing more and more I’d probably take advantage of, despite my lack of time. (Currently working 12-14 hr days.) And at $5/mo, I wouldn’t be complaining about anything. As for the RROD, I’m not all too troubled by it: no one I personally know says they’ve gotten it, and MS is pretty good about replacements. And don’t worry about grammar here: it’s a blog, you’re commenting. I promise I’ll keep my red editorial pen away from the screen.

    @Mike! – I love long, detailed responses. Thanks! The way you describe your usage is pretty much the way I anticipated using the systems, in either case. I’m rather obsessive when it comes to disks and completing collections, so having a disk with all the bonus features is still pretty huge for me. I still even buy actual, physical CDs! Although I do rip them then hide the things. And I can definitely see myself doing he same thing with movies if I had a media-dedicated system.

    Because of your experience, and what you’ve said here, I’ve actually started seriously considering getting BOTH systems. In fact, after my wife read your comment last night SHE was the one who suggested it to ME. (Gasp!) I would then, of course, wait for the bundles. (I’m planning my purchase around late November anyway–birthday–so that’s a perfect time.) Having both systems would mean that, yeah, I’d do the same: exclusives or games that I’d play offline would be PS3 while online games would be XBox titles.

    And yeah, I plan to grab an extra PS2 when the prices come down some more, as a “just in case.”

    @Bryce: That’s what I hear from a lot of people with both, that they end up using the XBox more and tend to like it better. That’s something to take into consideration.

    @Guy: VERY excellent point, and it got me thinking about exactly that: the next generation. Sony and Microsoft talk about a 10-year timeline, but lets look at their histories: PS3 came out in 2006/2007, PS2 in 1999/2000 and PS in 1994/1995. XBox 360 came out in 2005, but XBox came out in 2003 (they originally wanted it to come out in 2001). The article you link says the next console war may take place 2011/2012. Looking at this pattern, I’m actually thinking 2012/2013, but 2011/2012 is a VERY real possibility. Still, the fact remains that both of these systems are at the end of their top-dog lifecycles, so I may yet decide to eschew both and wait until the next iterations, or maybe go the other way around and when the new versions come out I’ll get the old for much less.

    @All – Again thank you for your responses. (I still haven’t made up my mind yet, but more comments are still welcome, for anyone who happens to have read this far down.) Some of the comments here (and in Twitter) have definitely made me think much harder about the XBox: more friends to play with.

  7. I own both. The Ps3 is the one that i play more of. I absolutely love my 360 don’t get me wrong but i have to pay for my online gaming. I have found that although 360 seems to have more titles more of their games are played by teenagers or children. I like that the ps3 comes with a wireless adapter which you won’t get with the earlier 360. PS3 is definitely my choice but i couldn’t imagine life without my 360 either.

  8. Hey, will:

    I’m in your same boat, and I ended up buying both, fist the XBox, then the PS3. I have to say, I like both equally, for similar reasons. They’re both great systems.

    I do like XBox Live far better than PSN, although I haven’t played with friends quite as often as I’d anticipated. (Mostly because of scheduling, although the fact that I don’t play many multiplayer games has a lot to do with it.) However, you can’t beat PSN’s price, especially when it comes to things I already pay for, like Netflix. (You need XBL Gold to use Netflix.)

    With the PlayStation, though, I have one helluva BluRay player. While I like buying BluRays instead of DVDs, the fact is that these days 90% of my TV watching in any form (movies or shows) is streamed from either Hulu or Netflix. Still, the feeling I get watching a 1080p BluRay on my big screen plasma is great.

  9. i own them both and i am deffinately more into my 360 i know you have to pay for online play but on playstation i play and the people cheat like no other and nothing happens to the cheaters and i just got burned out on the bs… and another thing 360 is windows compatible and you can sync your zune or ipod to it and you can get lots of old games on the dachboard including pacman galaga.. you know all the old time favorites

  10. Xbox 360 is definitly better,ps 3 is good but i dont like his games and his graphics are darker than xbox.Sorry for my english!

  11. i’ve got an idea- buy both so u can play with ur friends, and have great PS3 games. i recently bought the new 360 slim because ALL my friends have an xbox. i already had and still have my ps3 just cuz its got great games. spend the money on both. it’s worth it.

  12. ok u can play ps2 games on the ps3 4 port usb model. now on for the xbox 360 you can only play games on the regular xbox that says plays on xbox 360 i have both too the cd drive burns up and soon you will see the ring of death on it. now my ps3 has not done anything bad like it has never failed and my xbox and my xbox 360 had failed alot so i had to start a whole new game with all of my progress being lost.

  13. I say if u dont want to pay 50 bucks a year for online membershp then get ps3 but if u play stuff like black ops youll get map packs faster way b4 ps3 like 3 months time ps3 will get after and also xbox has bettter graphics in sports games such as 2k11 and im pretty sure the xbox 360 has more space. I think that 360 is more of a challenge wen ps3 isnt. I kinda proved it since i cant get a nuke on xbox but on the ps3 i got a nuke twice in a row. I much prefer a challenge instead of ez noobs wich makes the game boring. Also Ps3 can get hacked way easy since any one can get online since its free. So far my game pla on xbox we havent had system shut down like ps3 so i vote for xbox 360

  14. XBOX 360 Is better for online gaming , but trust me it breaks down alot . On the other hand PS3 is more relieble and who needs to play online anyway accept for weird random people who plays for days not only a few hours

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