Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The major way that the Play Station 3 distinguishes itself is with its ability to display incredibly realistic graphics. These graphics resemble reality to the extent that people who are watching others play the games have to remind themselves that they're watching a video game and not video with real people in real settings.
One thing that both detracts slightly from the Play Station 3, perhaps the Xbox 360 to a lesser extent, is that they're both embroiled in a high definition DVD format war. Sony, in addition to making the Play Station 3, is the creator of the Blu-ray high definition DVD format. Microsoft, which makes the Xbox 360, is an aggressive backer of the HD-DVD high definition DVD format that was created by Toshiba. As a result of this, both companies are trying to take advantage of the following of their video game systems in order to give an edge to the format that they have an interest in. For example, the Play Station 3 has a Blu-ray disc drive in it that allows the video game platform to also serve as a player for high definition movies on Blu-ray disc. The Xbox 360 has a similar feature in the form of an add on HD-DVD drive that will allow it to play high def movies from HD-DVD discs. Both companies are also supplying movie titles on discs in High Def for anyone who buys one of these systems.
While this is a good strategy in many ways for both companies- introducing the disc formats to people who would be buying these video game systems anyway- Sony seems to be suffering from several strategic mistakes. The first was failing to provide an HDMI cable and a Blu-ray remote control in the same box as the Play Station 3. The system was touted as being HD ready (which it isn't without the HDMI cable) and the Blu-ray remote is necessary to play movies off of Blu-ray disc. Not only is this inconvenient, but it also adds about seventy five dollars to the cost of the unit. The other problem is arguably not a mistake, but it's been suggested that Play Station fans don't care about the PS3's Blu-ray capabilities and are upset about the fact that including the Blu-ray drive jacks up the cost of the unit. These errors are a shame because in many ways, Blu-ray is the superior format.
Despite the fact that both of these products are in the middle of a format war, they'll serve as much loved holiday gifts.