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Sunday, December 7, 2008

PS2 vs PS3: How does the PS2 hold up two years after the Playstation 3 launch?

It has been, a little, more than two years since Sony launched its next gen console, Playstation 3 (PS3). It was not a easy launch. It had more than its share of problems such as shortages, hardware problems, and even deaths. It was a very expensive console at launch day (around 600 euros), way costlier than its main competitors, namely XBOX360 and Nintendo Wii. To this day PS3 has sold around 17 million units placing it behind XBOX360 and Nintendo Wii with 22 million and 35 million units sold respectively. None of these consoles though, is even close to reach the 140+ million units PS2 has sold worldwide. This is no small feat to achieve. Someone might say that PS2 has been in the market for 8 years and the rest of the consoles 3 years (XBOX360) or less. At this point though, in its life-cycle, PS2 had sold one third of what it has sold until now.

Arguably, next gen consoles have a lot more competition than PS2 had when it came out, when it was the undisputed king of electronic home entertainment. My opinion is, that PS2 still remains the undisputed king in console games and it is a far better choice to buy a PS2 now than a PS3. Someone might call me a heretic, a fan boy or even and idiot. All I can say is read on...

These days you can buy a PS2 bundled with two controllers and two PS2 flagship games for just 120 euros. For the same amount you can buy 2 PS3 controllers to play on your imaginary PS3 and imaginary kick-ass game. To buy a PS3 you will have to spend around 400 euros bundled with 1 controller and 1 game. In addition if someone wanted to see the difference in graphics between the two consoles he would have to buy an HDTV as well which would push the total price to, at least, 5 times the price of the PS2.

Game Library:
Game library is the single most important factor when buying a console. Games are the reason someone would buy one, right? Even if a console is light years ahead technologically, it is no good if it has very few good titles to show for. PS2 has been on the market for 8 years. It has largest game library of any console ever. Some of the best games of all time have a PS2 port or were created just for it. All genres have many representatives on the system. You can find excellent RPGs, plaformers, first person shooters, adventures, action games..you name it. There are literally thousand games for you to choose from. On the other hand, PS3 titles number in dozens and not in thousands. During the last two years some very good titles were released but these cannot number more than 10 or 15. Of course in the following years new titles will come out but this is not now, it is the future. In addition, recently (the last couple of years) released PS2 titles are superior in graphics (God of War 2 anyone?) than early PS3 titles. This will change, of course, in the following years, as the programmers will get used to writing for the PS3 and will be able to take advantage the console's full power. The same thing happened with PS2 that the programmers are now able to squeeze-out every ounce of processing power from it. There is still no Final Fantasy for the PS3, no God of War, the Pro evolution Soccer version for the PS2 is better than its equivalent for the PS3, there is is still no Tekken for the PS3 and most titles for the PS3 seem to be First person shooters. Need I say more?

Game price:
In order to buy a PS3 title, one has to shell out more than 50 euros, or some times even 60 or 70. I wanna buy myself Tom Clancy's End War, but there is no way in Hell I am going to give 70 euros for a single game. As simple as that. On the other hand, one, for the same amount, can buy three or four top notch PS2 titles such as Grand Turismo 4, God of War 2, Final Fantasy 12 or Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Multimedia capabilities:
Ok, PS3 is far superior to the PS2 on that, being able to play all kinds of videos including Blue Ray Disc, use it for web Browsing or play our MP3. Lets not forget though, that PS2 is capable for DVD playback, CD playback and can connect to the Internet for multiplayer gaming. There are not many Blue Ray movies out there (more will come in the future) and web browsing is better done with a PC than with a console. I have to admit though, that PS3 is an excellent Home entertainment system. Having a spare PC you can stream all your videos, such as, series or movies to PS3 and enjoy them from your couch.

PS3 is the most technologically advanced console today but it is still expensive and with not many games to show for. This is sure to change in the future though. On the other hand PS2 is cheap with the most complete game library of any console ever. PS2 games are cheap compared to PS3 and can you play your DVD collection or rental titles on it. If you own no console and you do not have a lot of money to spend, this is a no brainer. If you do not own any console and you are all about gameplay, not caring a lot about High definition graphics, then it is still a no brainer. If however, you own an HDTV and you want to invest for the future, a PS3 is a good choice. Note though, that for an additional 10 euros you can buy the PS2 Component cable that manages to output 480p signal so you could enjoy crystal clear PS2 graphics on your HDTV. With more than 140 mllion PS2 units sold, developer houses still develop games for it. PS2 is far from dead and earns its place rightfully in your living room. The PS3 can wait until it earns the crown.

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