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Monday, August 2, 2010

Five Things Sony’s PlayStation 3 Doesn’t Get Enough Credit For (But Should)

It only does everything...
Since its launch, the PlayStation 3 (PS3) has been accused of not being able to deliver many things, from quality games to making you breakfast in bed. And in that time, whether through upgrades or just general awareness, Sony has listened and delivered many-an-upgrade. But even despite its best efforts, some things that were delivered are still being unsung or just plain taken for granted. Below are five I thought worth mentioning (in no particular order)…

1. Custom Theme Creation
Self expression, it’s the buzzword of the millennium. Heard of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or YouTube? People want an outlet to define their style. Custom themes are an option right in line with that concept. Want a full cat theme with cat icons and a wallpaper exclaiming you are the queen (or king) of all cats? Well, you can have it. Or maybe half naked ladies on motorcycles that have sounds of a revving engine with each six-axis click is more your style. Create it! ONLY through the XMB (Cross Media Bar - basically the user interface) is this possible, yet I hear nary of whisper of this great feature. You want to see some excellent creative at work, check out http://www.ps3-themes.com.

2. PSP Interactivity
Since the GameBoy first hit the market, people have been wishing for ways to make an interactive experience through a handheld and a console. But even the mighty gaming behemoth Nintendo has yet to perfect a method for using the two together in perfect harmony. Having a device communicate on the level that the PSP communicates with the PS3 is absolutely and technologically mind blowing…you can access your PS3 from anywhere in the world from your PSP! Yet, if the buzz were to be believed, it would somehow be viewed as low-tech and yawn-worthy.

Last year, I hooked up my PSP to my PS3 and “infected” my copy of Resistance Retribution with my PS3 version of Resistance 2. I then proceeded to play my PSP version with my Six-axis controller, using both analog sticks and feeling the rumble of the game. It was truly a whole other experience from playing the handheld game without the interactivity. After that, I wanted every game to access my PSP in some form. Yet, again, the buzz was so muted on this you’d have no clue you could even make that experience happen were you not considered a “hardcore” gamer.

3. Game Variety
The PlayStation brand continues to diversify its game offerings even at the dawn of its inception. Sony tried its level best to create games that weren’t of a single genre. Whether these games succeeded or failed is debatable; however, that’s not the focus. Sony recognized that gaps need to be filled and then tried to fill them best they could; even still to this day there are franchises that are without competition as this experience is only happening on a PlayStation platform. Games like SingStar, Folklore, Warhawk, MotorStorm, Buzz Quiz TV, LittleBigPlanet, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Time Crisis, Ratchet & Clank, Afrika, Metal Gear Solid 4, inFamous, Heavy Rain and MAG. Some of these still are unrivaled by any competitor with genres that span even outside of the typical realm of genres.

4. Folding@Home
This one may not be as unsung as its other cousins here; however, it definitely has lost its PR luster. The PS3 is arguably the ONLY console on the market that is up to snuff to handle the task of folding@home due to its tremendous ability for advanced computations. Sony has even built in more functionality around folding to entice people to continue to participate. Sadly, even Sony themselves seem to want to sweep this one under the rug. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the pure power of the PS3 may be the only reason you’ll see it on this platform only in this generation of consoles.

5. Standard Accessories/Upgrades
Lost your USB charging cord to your controller? No problem, borrow one from your PC. Trying to communicate online with others? Use that Bluetooth headset from your phone. Want to text chat but hate doing one letter at a time on an onscreen keyboard? Plug a standard keyboard into your PS3 and use that instead. Heck, plug a mouse in too, it will work! What about replacing that small hard drive with one triple in size? Proprietary drives would cost a mint, but you can just use any standard laptop hard drive and pop it in to the PS3 as an upgrade or replacement. Controllers are rechargeable (no batteries required) and accessories are compatible. NO console on the market can hold a candle to this fact. You’re either buying batteries or additional storage devices or you’re roped into expensive proprietary parts. People want the least expensive possible but end up spending much more on accessories and upgrades that come standard with the PS3. A bit of research would certainly dispel any unknowns and save some money and hassle in the future.

Previous generations of the PlayStation could not boast these features (aside from game diversity); many of these same features the gaming community clamored for. And to appease the crowd, this generation Sony listened and set out to accommodate the gamers’ needs. Unfortunately, the real issue was the gamers who wanted these features just weren’t willing to pay for them. Since the price cut and remodel, the PS3 is faring much better than its initial offering and surely many more people are enjoying Sony’s feature rich system.

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