The war is on for video game dominance this holiday season. Will the new and innovative Nintendo Wii, or the powerful Sony Playstation 3 juggernaut come out on top? Read on for my review, and see who is crowned the winner.
1) Price. One of the biggest differences between the Wii and Playstation 3 is the massive price gap. While the Wii has launched with a reasonable $249.99 suggested retail, the Playstation 3’s “normal” version is double that, at $499, and the “deluxe” version with a few extra goodies is $599. While the Playstation 3 does have the hardware edge to warrant a higher price tag, the Wii will definitely push out many more units with the lower initial investment.
2) Hardware. The Wii’s hardware doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade from the GameCube. The graphics are nice, but uninspiring, and certainly behind even the year-old Xbox 360. Whether or not this will hurt Nintendo in the long run remains to be seen.
The Playstation 3, on the other hand, boasts by far the best under-the-hood goodies of any of the next-gen consoles, even edging out the Xbox 360. Add in the support for Blu-Ray discs, 1080p HD video (the Wii only supports 480p) and 7.1 surround sound, and the PS3’s price tag seems a little more reasonable.
What does this mean to you? Right now, not much. PS3 games are on par with the Xbox 360, and while they both graphically have the edge over the Wii, Nintendo’s first-party games such as Zelda and Mario will keep them in the game. Down the road, though, Playstation 3’s capabilities are going to show off game features impossible to the Wii and difficult for the Xbox 360.
Winner: Playstation 3
3) Extras. The Wii comes with a Nintendo-made sports bundle, Wii Sports, which plays mostly like a demo of what the controller is capable of. These games aren’t very in-depth, but they are enough to keep a new owner occupied until they spend their after-Christmas cash on a new game. Playstation 3 comes with no game unless bundled by a retailer, although if you buy the $600 version, you get a wireless controller and a Blu-Ray disc with the “Talladega Nights” movie included.
4) Online capability. Both Playstation 3 and Wii offer game downloads for a small price via their respective networks. The games offered to Playstation 3 owners are currently limited, but more are promised by the end of 2006. Wii is already sported over two dozen “classic” titled from their Nintendo and Super Nintendo libraries, and the enormous potential selection of titles from Nintendo gives them the edge. While Playstation 3’s system can offer up games, most of these games are formatted to play on a disc, which takes up a lot of storage space, whereas the older Nintendo and Super Nintendo games are cartridge-format, using up less space and making for a much more viable “virtual” sell.
5) Launch titles. By number alone, the Wii has outdone the Playstation 3 yet again by launching 31 games to the PS3’s 19. Most of the games are anything but spectacular, as most launch titles are. It takes time for game developers to make proper use of a console’s new capabilities. One notable exception, however, is The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. This game is simply amazing, and you’ll be seeing it win many “Game of the Year” awards from magazines; you heard it here first! Playstation 3’s best offering thus far is Resistance: Fall of Man, an entertaining first-person shooter that shows off the best reason to pick a Playstation 3: the graphics.
6) Other things to note.
Both systems have provided backward-capability to play games from previous consoles. The Playstation 3 can play almost every PS1 and PS2 game, while the Wii can play GameCube games.
Nintendo has very little experience in online gaming, while Sony has had a good amount of success connecting players to one another through PS2 games such as SOCOM: US Navy Seals and Battlefield 1942. While they can’t match the sophistication of Xbox Live, Sony definitely is poised to deliver a better interactive experience.
Playstation 3’s Blu-ray discs are capable of holding 50 gigabytes of data, while the Wii’s DVD-format holds 4.7 gigabytes. Combining this with the Playstation 3’s dominating hardware advantage, you can expect to see huge improvements in the Playstation 3 game quality as more titles are added.
Winner: Playstation 3
The Overall Winner
My overall pick goes to the Wii, but hesitantly. Right now the Wii is the hottest thing out there, with its innovative controller and adding a totally new element to gameplay: motion. The launch titles offer more selection, and the amazing new Zelda, while the PS3 just looks like a more expensive Xbox 360. However, given time, the Playstation 3 is going to outshine and outperform both as it matures and its game selection becomes more expansive.