Console wars – Microsoft failing with the 360? & Killzone 3 public beta (PS3)

Xbox 360 – Had its time?

Theres long been a “console war”, long before the BSOD there were console wars which didn’t involve the name “Microsoft”.  We’ve had Sega/Nintendo, Nintendo/Sony…the list goes on and in the history of console gaming Microsoft has entered pretty late.

Over the Xmas period I noted that the PS3 was sold out everywhere I inquired.  Whilst this was no global indicator, it must mean something if vendors in Brent Cross Shopping center were selling out of PS3’s yet apparently having plenty of the 360.  Stock levels? Maybe.  Daft shop assistants? possibly. But whats interesting are the comments recently made by Paul Thurrott,  a senior technical analyst for Windows IT Pro:

In every other month of the last quarter of 2010, the PS3 handily outsold the Xbox 360. What this all adds up to is something I’ve been warning about for years: It is likely that when this console generation finally runs its course that the PS3 will have beaten the Xbox 360 to take second place. Right now, in fact, the PS3 is almost neck-and-neck with the 360 in total sales—48 million PS3s vs. 51 million for the 360—and it’s been in the market for a year less than the 360. What this says to me is that Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar investment, for all the hoopla, was simply good enough for last place, just as it was for the 360’s predecessor.

Source: Paul Thurrott – Windows IT Pro

Microsoft advocates that read this blogazine, please try to resist the urge of jumping in with claims of “anti-Microsoft FUD” or “Microsoft hate”, I am quoting Paul Thurrott and if this is correct, could it be that just as Microsoft is breaking even with 360, it is seeing its customer base slip and maybe migrating away?  I am dubious of any claimed 360 user figures since I myself have purchased more than one to replace a faulty 360 which was out of warranty.  I am not alone.  For me total 360 sales are no indicator of total users since if people are having to buy multiple machines as I did, then the figure will be inflated.

As one blogger wrote (which echoes my experience):

Thankfully, I know I’m not alone in my pain. Every single friend I have who owns and Xbox has watched theirs pass away at least once, some, more than three times. I had one friend who had his original 360 he had since the first month of its release. “Mine is strong and healthy” he said, “She’ll last forever.” I’ll never forget the sound of his voice when he called me four years later and said, “She’s RROD’ed…and it’s not…under warranty!” I told him everything was going to be OK. But it wasn’t……..

Source: Paul Tassi – Unreality Magazine

I have both consoles, so before anyone suggests I’m being anti 360, please check out my  comments on the public multiplayer beta of Killzone 3 ( a PS3 exclusive).  I do admit, I think the PS3 is a far better product for my family and whilst the 360 is now demoted to upstairs, I do keep on-top of whats on offer on its platform.

First opinion – Killzone 3 public beta

Available for free on the Playstation Network is the open multiplayer beta of Killzone 3.  The retail release is due 22nd February, so for those who can’t wait until then, you have a one map demo to be getting on with.  The download is 800mb so, its not going to be long until you are thick in the action.

First things first, I was not too impressed with Killzone 2. For me it was not “gorgeous” looking, nor was it a technical masterpiece.  As an exclusive title I find myself far more impressed at say Gears of War and for me it doesn’t showcase the PS3.  The other problem I had with Killzone 2 was that it played more like a puzzle game, where certain parts of the game require you to do things in a certain way to progess further, choosing your own tactics and say, staying back, taking out enemies slowly was not always an option since sometimes the enemies would merely re-spawn forever.  Whilst Killzone 2 gfx were good, the drab environment take away much of the appeal for me and I think Ive seen better examples of “drab but attractive”.

I never really gave Killzone 2 a run with multi-player since I bought it on platinum and had more modern titles to play which I enjoyed more.

On to Killzone 3 though and after a bit of play I find myself quite enjoying it.  I say “quite” because I still have a few issues on the franchise.

Graphically I just don’t find it impressive, forgetting the drab look which is the setting for the game, Ive seen far more impressive looking titles on PS3 and ones released many years prior.   The ocean effect is nice but really its hardly an example of technical mastery over the format.

With that in mind though the game is good fun, there’s some unique close combat, numerous classes to choose from and a good smooth frame rate kept throughout play.   There are also a nice selection of equipment extras and the marksman cloak is rather good.

OPM has already reviewed Killzone 3 giving it a 9, however seemingly to favor other fps titles released, which whilst is a higher score than I would give the franchise does echo my opinion of there being better titles out there. I hope fans of the series are appeased with this latest offering and whilst my PS3 is the family entertainment unit in the front room (the 360 has been demoted to upstairs) I think there are far better exclusive PS3 titles.

With what Ive seen of the Killzone franchise to date, I can’t help being disappointed in face of the 360 exclusives Halo and Gears of War.  Unless I see Killzone 3 on pre-owned for a very low price, I can’t see myself rushing out to buy it.  At the moment I’m very happy with short bursts of Medal of Honour and Battlefield 1943.  That being said though, there are only a few titles this year which I will be purchasing on release day, those being the new Final Fantasy MMORG and the sequel to Oblivion. – I may also consider Space Marine, but that will very much depend on any beta demo’s that are released prior to it hitting the shelves.

Going back to KZ3, the good news though is that the PSN is free, the demo is free, theres multiple classes (and rewards to be earned) – I’m sure you’ll have great fun. You have no excuse not to get this demo and try it for yourself!

I’m not a “hardcore gamer” so feel free to shoot me down in flames with my opinion on KZ.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com / TwitterIdenti.ca

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Best PS3 game is Gran Turismo 5😀

    As to numbers, I know several people who’ve had their XBox360 die out of warranty, and pay for a replacement because of games they had purchased. Since I doubt that Microsoft can tell whether a console is a new purchase, or a replacement, I think the numbers are suspect.

    I don’t know anyone who has had a Wii or a PS3 die.

  2. openbytes says:

    Hi!

    Yeah same here. I don’t own the Wii anymore (gave it to a relative) but I’ve had no trouble from my PS3 at all and I don’t know any other PS3 who had issues either. Maybe that was Sony’s mistake? Make a console that doesn’t RROD (or similar) on the scale of the 360?

    1. Sony’s mistake is that they are pissing off everyone. Seriously. Their attempt to lock down the PS3 in theory only applies to hackers, but it’s ruining their reputation with gamers too.

      In the case of the three console manufacturers, it’s hard to decide which one is worst, we appear to be dealing with a case of Tweedle Dumb, Tweedle Dumber, and Tweedle Dumbest, with a fair but of Sauron style evil (control freak) built in.

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