It's no secret the PS3 is the most powerful system of the three, and while this has translated to some of the best-looking games of this generation coming exclusively to the PS3, the added complexity has also made it more difficult for studios to develop games for the platform. We'll never see anything as gorgeous as Uncharted come to the Wii or Xbox 360, but the added cost and resources required to make games that are noticeably better than what's possible on Microsoft's console isn't easy on developers. This tends to mean that unless they're a first-party studio (Naughty Dog, Quantic Dreams, Insomniac, etc.) a studio won't really be able to take full advantage of the PS3's more "exotic" hardware.
When it comes to being user-friendly, the PS2 was hard to beat. As DVDs gained momentum, replacing VHS, the PS2 was at the forefront of the trend. This made the PS2 a fantastic DVD player, and that's something that's continued with the PS3. If I want to play a movie, I throw it in my PS3, and the same goes for Blu-rays (though that really goes without saying).
Sony's always been one to push new technology, even after losing the Betamax vs. VHS format war way back in the 70's. When the Blu-ray vs. HD DVD war began, Sony went all in with the PS3 and it eventually paid off, at least for the most part. Blu-ray won, but still today it hasn't been able to pick up much momentum as digital continues to become a likely contender for the primary format of the next generation. For now, the PS3's Blu-ray capabilities give it a definite head up over the competition, and, at the very least, I'm not afraid that watching movies on it is going to shorten its life span, as I am with the Xbox 360.
Online functionality wasn't big when the PS2 was young, but it's become very important with this generation. Sony and Microsoft have really pushed their consoles as all-in-one entertainment systems for the home. Whether you want to play games alone or with friends online, watch Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Zune, whatever—giving console owners as many potential uses for their PS3 or Xbox 360, and to a lesser extent, the Wii, this has become a focus for the Big Three. It'd be unfair to compare the features of the PS2 to those of the PS3, because it'd clearly be the PS3 that would come out on top.
Overall, Sony's managed to bring gamers two incredible entertainment systems. You can do more with the PS3, and the exclusives are better than they've ever been, but the library is significantly smaller than what's available for the PS2. You'd think because of the way gamers favor it that the PS2 would be the clear victor, but it's actually really close. The two consoles have similar controllers and excellent hardware, but while Nintendo does whatever it is they're trying to do and Microsoft focuses more and more on the functionality (apps, social, etc.) over games, Sony has continued to keep the gamer above everything else.
It's no question that I spent more time with and enjoyed my PS2 over any other console I've ever owned. If my house had caught fire, I'd have run out with my PS2 in one hand and my Gameboy in the other. It's for this reason that I'd have to pick the PS2 as the winner. Whether or not Sony will be able to make a glorious comeback with their next console is something we won't know until next year. But I can wait.
Date: August 9, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central. This week's is also purely a work of fiction*