Games People Play

No game system ever sold because it had a hard drive, fast processor and a ton of RAM. Well, maybe an Alien Ware PC gaming rig, but let's stay in the realm of console systems. The games are what matters. People bought millions of copies of Super Mario Bros. because it was a great game, not because of what was under the hood of the NES.

Both Sony and Microsoft have some big development names in their corner and the line of allegiance is getting a little blurred. For example Take 2 Interactive, the parent company of Rockstar has recently went on record saying that they are adopting a "wait and see" attitude upon deciding whether to make the next gen version of Grand Theft Auto a PS3 exclusive. The GTA license is a huge factor and whomever gets it, goes the spoils.

"People bought millions of copies of Super Mario Bros. because it was a great game, not because of what was under the hood of the NES."

PlayStation 3

Only recently has Sony managed to deliver a few bonafide hits on the PS2 that could turn into killer apps if given the proper development time and not rushed in a panic to capitalize on having some big name recognition come the PS3 launch next Spring. God of War and Killzone managed to generate some good buzz, with the former receiving overwhelming accolades from gamers and game journalists. Killzone 2 for the PS3 is already generating killer buzz, but until we have confirmation on what's rendered and what's real ingame action, that will have to remain to be seen. Of course there is always the tried and true Gran Turismo franchise but there is no chance in hell that we'll see the next installment launch simultaneously with the system.

For the most part Sony will have no choice but to count on third party developers to deliver the hits, and that is a problem especially if there isn't system exclusivity, which means said game could appear on the Xbox 360 at the same time.

EA's sports titles are always a good bet but since they'll be available on both systems it will come down to preference and online strategy.

A strong relationship with an exclusive Japanese developer is always good and Sony seems to have that with Konami. If Kojima Productions can produce a groundbreaking, genre-rattling new installment of Metal Gear Solid 4 at launch, Sony PS3's will fly off the shelves. But it's worth noting that with each subsequent release since Metal Gear Solid, the games have met endured some serious criticism, so it will remain to be seen whether Snake has bite the next time around.

Xbox 360

Microsoft is hoping beyond hope that their investment in Rare is going to pay off. One day. They managed to unleash Grabbed By The Ghoulies on Xbox, seemingly overnight, and that didn't do much of anything except make people wonder why they weren't just spending their time completing games they promised years ago. Perfect Dark Zero was intended to be their killer app but unfortunately, the once rabid hype surrounding the title has waned considerably after a less than stellar showing at E3. That leaves Rare's other title, Kameo: Elements of Power which has been in development over three systems already and we're pretty darn sure that won't be available at launch either.

"...the boobs might look bigger and better, but how about some innovation?"

Project Gotham Racing 3 is a big title but not as big as Halo 3 will be for Microsoft, especially if Bungie actually delivers the game they promised, unlike last time. Contrary to Bill Gates blowing smoke when he said "When the PS3 launches they'll walk right into Halo 3", there is a better than good chance that won't be happening in this reality.

Microsoft could sure use that Grand Theft Auto franchise, especially if Rockstar takes it online this time around. But it's interesting to note that the games mentioned thus far are primarily North American developed titles. Gone are the days when a system had to rely on Japanese support to be successful, which is extremely important to note this time around, but Microsoft has one of the best in their corner, Tecmo's Team Ninja - Dead or Alive, Ninja Gaiden etc. Unfortunately unless Team Ninja really goes the extra mile and takes the DOA series to the next level, gamers might not be all that enamoured. Sure the boobs might look bigger and better, but how about some innovation?

Gamers in both camps will have to endure the usual array of upgraded titles that gained a following on the current gen of systems, but too many of these titles will result in a "been there, done that" scenario and too many "untried" franchises might not capture the attention of the casual gamer. It's a delicate balancing act.

Of course there will be a whack of software available for both systems. The Splinter Cells, Burnouts, Spider-Mans and EA sports titles of the gaming world which will come down to personal preference and possibly even controller preference. It's hard to say at this point whether one system will look better than the other in terms of comparing ported software as was so often the case this generation with PS2 versus Xbox versions.

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by Vaughn