PS Three Sixty

I got the PS3 last night. My overall impression is that Sony should stick to hardware, and Microsoft should stick to software. It’s really too bad that the companies did not end up as partners.

The out of box experience is great. It’s just one box and two wires. No retarded power brick. No connectors the size of a washing machine. No kludgy external wireless doohickey. You plug it into the wall and into your TV and you turn it on. When you turn it on it doesn’t sound like an airplane taking off. As a pure hardware experience, the PS3 is great.

The software is more of a mixed bag. I like the minimalism of the base interface. On the other hand, I really don’t like the on screen “forms” with their little text fields and buttons that you have to push the cursor to using the d-pad. The gamepad has 4 buttons on it, let me use them in your forms UI. This is a fairly minor annoyance and is more than made up for by the fact that the machine doesn’t have a DVD-drive in it that sounds like a washing machine. Did I mention that the machine is pretty quiet?

On the other hand, the Playstation Network is like the little brother that Xbox Live kicks into a ditch every day. Microsoft gives you one account that works everywhere on the network. Microsoft also gives you multiple entry points into the network via your web browser, rather than limiting you to the console interface.

Sony gives you a PS3 network ID that has nothing to do with any other presence you might have with the company and which only works through the PS3 interface. There is no web presence except for some useless documentation. In fact, the main “login” interface at the Sony web site is for the Playstation Underground, which has nothing to do with the Playstation Network.

It’s fairly clear to me that the software groups at Sony are completely self- contained and they all sort of hate each other.

What the two machines do have in common is that both of them have many fewer games to play than the PS2. Luckily, my PS3 has the nice emulation hardware in it, so it plays the PS2 games very well. Although it does get a bit noisy in doing so. I guess emulation is hard work even with the hardware support. Of course even going full blast the machine barely made more noise than my central AC.

Finally, Resistance is a nice shooter. Nothing super special or new, but it is well produced and enjoyable. Also, unlike Gears of War, the neighbors can’t hear the DVD drive running when I play Resistance. The machine stays nice and quiet. To me, this counts for a lot.