While most consumers are still on the fence about which next generation console to invest their hard earned dollars, Microsoft and Sony are doing the usual chest-pumping marketing blitzes to steer all of the undecided last-gen owners into their respective camps. Undoubtedly, Sony has the edge in customer loyalty with PS2’s vastly outnumbering Xbox’s in households. However, it seems many PS2 owners are extremely hesitant to pull the trigger on a PS3 purchase, and they may have good reason to keep their nickels in their piggy banks. Will there ever be a good time to break the bank and spring for a shiny new PS3? Only time will tell. One thing is certain; the time to buy a Playstation 3 is not now. If you are a PS3 fanboy, there is no doubt you are already gnashing your teeth at this article. Take a deep breath and count to 10 because it’s about to get worse. Here are three reasons to hold off on that PS3 purchase and keep that piggy bank intact for the time being.
1. Format Wars: HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray
The battle between next-gen movie formats rivals that of the new console war, and it is intrinsically intertwined with the consoles themselves. We all know that Microsoft supports HD-DVD and PS3 includes Blu-Ray. Before the PS3 launch, Sony hyped the inclusion of Blu-Ray into the console, and after the price was announced, they pointed their finger at the Blu-Ray for the exorbitant price tag of the system. Unquestionably, Blu-Ray has been getting much more press lately with high profile deals such as exclusivity with Blockbuster Video. However, a quick look at the numbers reveals that Blu-Ray is hardly dominating the competition. Last quarter alone, HD-DVD players outsold Blu-Ray by a 2-to-1 margin. Currently, HD-DVD holds 61% of the current market share. These numbers expose a much less successful picture of the Blu-Ray format.
Most readers are too young to remember one of America’s classic format wars: VHS vs. Beta-Max. Kids, go ask your parents if they are happy they spent their money on a shiny new Beta-Max in the late 70’s. This argument is not a suggestion of what technology is better: Blu-Ray may sport more features than HD-DVD, but we all know that better technology is not always successful technology. The point is that it is too early to tell which format will be this generation’s Beta-Max. Dropping six Benjamins plus change for a movie player/video game machine that may turn into just a video game machine in a year doesn’t sound like a smart move. Here’s looking at you, laser disks!
2. Taking a Jet to the Supermarket
It should be against the law for the guy who owns this setup to buy a PS3.
Do you own a 65-inch high definition 1080p flat-screen LCD TV?
Did you pay for $100 monster cables to get amazing picture quality?
Me either. Not only does Sony assume all of their customers have state-of-the-art electronics, but they include (and charge for) these qualities in their hardware. Much like Blu-Ray, Sony incorporates (expensive) cutting edge technology that Joe Consumer doesn’t even know exists. The problem for the PS3 is that the system doesn’t give the customer a choice. A recent study by NPD Group (6,260 participants) found that only 50% of gamers knew their systems were capable of high definition graphics. In addition, only 40% of gamers even knew Blu-Ray was included with their PS3. Of that 40% only half of them popped in a Blu-Ray disc in the last 10 times they turned on the console. The question becomes can the average customer keep up with the tremendously complex technology of gaming consoles?
For now, unless you bought top-of-the-line multi-media electronics in the past three months, you are paying a lot of extra money for technology you can’t even use. If all you want to do is go to the supermarket down the street, the PS3 is making you take a jet to get there.
3. Games, Games, Games
It has long been accepted that consoles don’t sell games, games sell consoles. Consoles are expensive paper weights without games to play on them. Exclusive titles are not good for gamers, but they are tremendously important to the success of a console. Each console has its flagship titles that become the reasons most gamers buy the system. Nintendo has Mario and Zelda. Xbox has Halo, and Playstation 3 has Grand Theft Auto. Wait, scratch that. Playstation 3 has Metal Gear Solid…What? That could be coming out on Xbox? Ok, Playstation 3 has Final Fantasy at least… c’mon, you’ve got to be kidding me!
Ok, you get the point. Playstation has lost almost all of the exclusive titles that pushed consumers to buy the system. I know the fanboys just screamed out a few PS3 exclusives in protest. However, we are talking about console pushing titles. As good as Heavenly Sword may turn out to be, most likely it isn’t going to make PS3 sales explode. If gamers can play every game they could possibly want (minus you Mario and Link) on a console that costs $300 less, why in the world would they want to pay double price to play (sometimes worse versions, Madden, GTA) of the same games? The shiny black case is pretty, but it ain’t $300 pretty.
Wipe the foam from your mouths fanboys. This isn’t about which console “owns” the other. It IS about where to invest those hard earned dollars you made from flipping burgers. If you risked getting shot and trampled at launch for your PS3, your decision may pay off. I will be about 3 years behind you spending less for more features on a 2nd generation PS3. With a steep price tag, scarcity of quality exclusive titles, and support of an unstable format, the cons just outweigh the pros. The technology behind the Playstation 3 shows incredible potential, but the time to buy is NOT now.
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