If you talk to other people interested in videogaming, you're
sure to talk about the good and bad qualities of the current
crop of consoles on the market. Problem is, some people don't
have their facts straight or even worse are console fanboys
(people who support one company/console over others and
will make up falsehoods to sway people from purchasing anything
otherwise). We here at ILS have decided to give you a
rundown of facts and the most prevalent falsehoods.
Backwards Compatible - Sony's got this one going for
it. With a huge lineup of games (only equaled or surpassed
by the NES and SNES) for Sony's first console, making the
PS2 backwards compatible was an excellent idea. It allows
people who didn't buy the first console to still enjoy the
excellent games. While there is a small handful of games that
don't seem to work right (FF Anthology seems to have
problems for me) most work well.
DVD Function - The DVD function for the PS2 plays
DVDs and not much more. I'm not going to lie to you and say
it's comparable to top of the line DVD players. It isn't.
With the DVD remote and driver upgrade disc (which saves the
drivers to your memory card) the PS2's DVD capability is comparable
to a low-cost DVD player. If you're looking to just play DVDs,
it'll do fine. If you're looking for anything more, buy a
The PS2 is hard to develop for - While this is partially
true, it's also been blown out of proportions by many who
want to exploit this as a weakness. The challenge in developing
new games for the PS2 is that a lot of the options available
are open-ended, leaving game developers many choices on how
to build even the simplest features. Instead of having one
set way to build an visual effect in a game, there might be
multiple solutions to the same answer. Anyone who says this
is driving developers away is just being foolish.
The PS2 breaks down a lot - While this is partially
true, it's not to the degree that some people have been noting.
I've seen comments on posting boards that 75% of the initial
launch consoles were faulty. This is entirely fabricated.
The reason you see more people with problems rather than not
is that people don't start up conversations saying that their
console hasn't broken down. One of the more persistent problems
is that the console acts like a dust magnet. Cleaning it regularly
with compressed air and vacuuming the vents will help.
The PS3 is already in development for 2002/2003 -
Seeing as the processor chip won't start
production until 2004, don't count on it until 2005 at
the earliest. Also, only one company has been foolish enough
to drop a console (Sega) before it's time is up. Anyone who
tells you that Sony is rushing production of the PS3 because
the PS2 can't compete needs to see a doctor. Why would Sony
kill a console that's financially competing (LA
with the launch of two "superior" consoles.
The Good and The Bad for PS2 --------------------------
While the PS2 is technically an older and less powerful console,
it still enjoys a one-year head start on the competition and
a huge installed user base. Also, Sony has the luxury of already
rolling out a number of A+ titles (Metal
Gear Solid 2, Final Fantasy X, Grand
Theft Auto 3, etc.) which have aided in selling consoles.
Where Sony has stumbled is in their online plans. Instead
of releasing their hard-drive and online adapter in November
as planned, they've pushed back release until Spring of 2002.
Currently, the only game that's online is Tony
Hawk 3, which you have to get a third-party adapter to
Nintendo is so kiddy - No. Just because a handful
of their high-profile games also appeal to younger age groups
doesn't not make them kiddy. Mario and Zelda have been with
most gamers all of their gaming lives. If someone tells you
that the Gamecube is kiddy, remind them that the Resident
Evil series is now on the console, not to mention Star
Wars Rogue Squadron, Eternal Darkness and a few
other more mature titles. Just because the higher profile
titles involve familiar icons from our childhood doesn't make
the whole console's lineup "kiddy".
No DVD compatibility - Out of the three consoles,
the Gamecube is the only one that isn't DVD ready (with or
without remote). While there is a hybrid
console with DVD player made in cooperation with Panasonic,
it is for the Japanese market only. Don't expect it anywhere
The Good and The Bad for Gamecube --------------------------
The good news is that Gamecube has a lot of big name series
going it's way (Sonic, Resident Evil, Mario,
Zelda, Metroid), so it'll be able to shore up
a solid line-up by next year. While the console is $100 cheaper,
it doesn't have the DVD capabilities of the others. The only
real problem that Gamecube seems to have right now is the
small amount of games available, but for a console that's
just launched, that's not anything bad.
Microsoft is buying up developers - Yes, Microsoft
has made deals to get exclusive titles (Halo, The
Matrix) and other deals to get games that were originally
intended for other consoles (Shenmue 2, Munch's
Oddysey), but the plain fact is that Microsoft is doing
what everyone else is doing. Crying foul is doing nothing
but being hypocritical. Make sure you point that same finger
at Nintendo for courting the Resident Evil Series and
at Sony and Squaresoft for keeping Final Fantasy on
the PS2. Probably the biggest story in this is when Microsoft
the rights to The Matrix game (based on the movie). To
be honest, console exclusives may be the one thing that really
helps Microsoft bridge the gap in sales as a newcomer. Does
anyone else recall when Final Fantasy VII went to the Playstation,
giving the newcomer console the boost it needed?
DVD Compatibility - Much like the PS2, the Xbox can
play DVDs, but first, you have to buy the DVD remote to access
it. Unlike the PS2, the Xbox does not play DVDs straight out
of the box with the game controller. The trade-off is that
the DVD capability is a little bit better. But still, if you
want high-quality DVD playback, get a DVD player.
The Xbox and its controller are huge - I can't contest
the actual size of the Xbox. It is fairly large, but considering
that it has a built-in hard drive, this is forgivable. The
controller itself is big compared to others, but there will
be a smaller one available during the Japanese launch for
those people who don't like the larger controller.
The Good and The Bad for Xbox --------------------------
With a lot of power under the hood, the Xbox is going to be
able to churn out a lot of good-looking games. Their main
weakness is the lack of games for younger kids and a weak
RPG lineup. While Microsoft may believe that their market
is the older crowd, they would be fools to ignore younger
gamers. Also, the Xbox currently only supports broadband online
access (for a network that won't be up until late 2002/early
2003), thereby cutting out the people who only have normal
online access through phone lines.
I heard Square is going to develop for other consoles
- If you're talking about the Wonderswan handheld, yes.
If you're talking about the Xbox, Gamecube or Gameboy Advance,
time will tell. Recently, Sony
bought 19% of Square to help them recover from recent
losses. This doesn't mean that Square is Sony's own little
development house. Square has been interested in doing games
for the Gameboy Advance, but have yet to hammer out a deal
with Nintendo, who want Square to develop a series of original
exclusive titles for the Gamecube before they can even touch
the Gameboy Advance. Considering that, rumors about what consoles
Final Fantasy XI will debut on are still up in the
Can I get viruses in my console going online - Not
that we know of. I wish I could say no with confidence, but
since both the PS2 and Xbox will utilize hard drives, which
store information in memory, there is always the chance that
something might happen. The good news is that neither hard
drive has any direct effect to the console's operation and
ability to play games. Any virus contracted will not effect
the ability to play games. While there has been one
game that came with a virus when you put it in your PC,
anyone who tells you you'll get a virus on your console while
going online is messing with you.
The best buy you can find - A Dreamcast. You can get
it for less than $100, it has a huge library of games (some
of which haven't been ported to other console's yet) and even
the games go at a cheap price. If Sega hadn't pulled out of
the console business prematurely, this console might be giving
the other three a good run for their money, especially with
so many Sega developed games staying on their own hardware
instead of filling out the roster of the competition.
With all of this said, I hope you have a better idea of what
is going on in the world of gaming. While this is not the
definitive statement on everything, and things are apt to
change due to market and economic constraints, I think this
basic overview should help you decide what's fanboy rhetoric
and what is actual fact.