Consoleation: It only does disappointment

Since becoming a PlayStation 3-only owner, after my Xbox 360 tanked on me last month, it's become apparent how much that at least some PS3 versions of multiplatform games are sub-standard. Frame rates falter, some visual effects don't look quite right, and a smattering of other issues put these games a notch below their Xbox 360 counterparts. There are notorious examples of PS3 sub-standard offerings, such as the ill-fated version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. There's growing chatter that Call of Duty: Black Ops II has notable issues with crashing and with online connectivity.

All of these things leave me to question whether buying into whatever follow-up console that Sony decides to offer when the next generation arrives. As a consumer, Sony has managed to damage my trust and confidence several times over the course of this console generation. The Trophy system never compared to what Microsoft initiated with its Achievement system, and felt more forced than useful. Forced installs of on-disc software continue to force me to decide what to delete in order to make room for new things. Monthly (or more) firmware updates and surprise patches mean that there's often a waiting minigame to be played before getting to enjoy the real game you want to play. The PSN hack of 2011 and its associated outage still cast a specter over the online experience. On top of all that, many multiplatform offerings are clearly "second class" versions of games that run better on the Xbox 360.

I had chosen to dump the PS3 back in February of 2009, when I got my Xbox 360. I didn't feel that there were enough reasons to own both consoles. Aside from Metal Gear Solid 4, the exclusive offerings weren't strong enough for me and I was more interested in what the 360 had to offer. There were more arcade games, for example, on the 360. I liked the idea of Gamerscore and being able to track Achievements for all games, rather than the select few that supported Trophies for the PS3 at the time. Games like BioShock and Dead Space ran better on the 360, too.

But in 2010, I got a new PS3 as a birthday gift from family. There was newfound momentum with exclusives like God of War III and improving versions of MLB: The Show. After a year away from the PS3, I was happy to give it another chance and see how Sony would fare given that sales had bounced back somewhat after a mid-year price cut in 2009. It was nice that I got my previously-bought digital games back, too. I used the PS3 primarily as a console for exclusives, leaving multiplatform games to the Xbox 360. That worked for awhile, until my 360 began failing early this year. I began getting more multiplatform games for the PS3, and I tried to get used to the difference in quality.

I haven't been able to do it.

There are exceptions to the lower quality rule, thankfully. Zen Pinball 2 is on par with (or even slightly better than) Pinball FX2 on the Xbox 360. Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage and Dynasty Warriors 7 both run better on the PS3 than the Xbox 360. Many downloadable titles run pretty much the same on both platforms. Unfortunately, retail releases—notably the AAA ones—suffer in performance and quality, and the excuses aren't acceptable to me.

Obviously it's too late to expect changes now, but if you ask me which of the next-generation consoles that I would buy, it would have to be whatever Microsoft offers. That's kind of a shame, considering how much of a supporter and fan that I was of PlayStation platforms for 10 years. Both the original PlayStation and the PlayStation 2 are great platforms. I've amassed hundreds of games for both as part of my current collection. The PlayStation 3, on the other hand, has been more disappointment than it has been great. I've been underwhelmed by it, and that leads to my consumer vote of no confidence when Sony finally announces that its new platform is ready.

I'm sure that others will disagree with this sentiment, considering it too harsh or making judgments before we really know what Sony will offer. Some will offer the same excuses that I've heard for years, about how the PlayStation 3 is harder to program for or that developers aren't putting enough of an effort in to make the multiplatform versions comparable. I'm not speaking for an entire community. I'm speaking for myself, as one person. Sony has lost me, as a valued customer, unless it can prove unequivocally that the next generation will be different… because they have underperformed in all phases during this generation to the point that the PlayStation 3 is a "second class" platform that could never realistically compete with either the Wii or the Xbox 360.

See Peter's response to reader comments in a follow-up article called Re: It only does disappointment.


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12 Comments on "Consoleation: It only does disappointment"

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Anonymous
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Anonymous
3 years 9 months ago

what!?? ye gods from whence came this wave of common-sense, well-reasoned and polite comments/responses!?? incredible, absolutely incredible… this is both pleasantly surprising and slightly disappointing at the same time. i came in here to obviously read the article but also to enjoy the fanboy war that i was sure would ensue in the aftermath of such an inflammable topic. well done peter skerritt, well done.

K.Bell
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K.Bell
3 years 9 months ago

It’s not really the ps3 that’s at fault. It’s the lazy or incompentent developers who simply want to make a quick buck. Either way, PC gameing is the way to go. I used to be mainly a console player, but since the gtx580 came out, console games are unplayable in comparison.

MangaAddict
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MangaAddict
3 years 9 months ago
You keep saying that Sony has let you down, but why are you blaming Sony? The First party titles from Sony are usually excellent and run flawlessly, the only problem is Third Party and that’s not Sony’s fault. Devs make the decision to use the 360 as the base platform and then port it over to the PS3. Sure the 360 is easier to develop for, but many First party and several Third party dev have proven that the PS3’s architecture is capable of more raw horsepower and better quality games (bluray assisted), but Third party devs don’t want to… Read more »
Ultrx
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Ultrx
3 years 9 months ago
Ok i read this because you took the time to write it… in short, buy a PC, even better, build one so you can have it at the comfort of your living room, connect either a 360 or ps3 wiresless controller. [Sentence removed due to CoC violation – Moderator] Consoles, at least from a PC gamer’s perspective, is like a gameboy, you buy it because you want to play specific games. Judgin the way you are seems more of a rant than an actual educated fact. It is super tiring to see articles like this, can hardly ever read a… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
3 years 9 months ago
Sorry, but you’re just grasping for straws to hate on Sony if you’re trying to compare achievements to trophies. Both are pointless and have no effect on whether or not people buy a game. And while a handful of games may perform better on the 360 than the PS3, it doesn’t really matter because those games perform best on PC. I got Skyrim for the PC, because it was designed for the PC. I got Dead Space 2 for the PS3, because it was designed for consoles and it also has exclusive content on the PS3 version. In the end,… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
3 years 9 months ago
All I can suggest is to keep an open mind. I agree with much of what you’ve said. The playstation brand has repeatedly been a source of disappointment this generation. All of the hyperbole regarding PS3’s complexity and power fell flat in the face or inferior cross platform ports. It appeared parity was never truly attainable for whatever reason…close, but 360 is the clear winner in this regard. With all of its foibles PS3 did succeed in presenting the larger library of platform exclusives. That is its only saving grace this generation. The quality and breadth of exclusive titles has… Read more »
Sideras
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Sideras
3 years 9 months ago
First of all if the games a sub-par it’s because the developers suck at optimizing/porting the game. If you look at the exclusive titles such as Uncharted and God of War 3 they run really well and without issues. We’ve all heard developers whine about how hard developing for the PS3 is. The devkit was, afaik sent out way too late and as a result there was nothing to be done about the feedback that came from third-party devs, typical shit with Japanese companies. With the PS4 however, from what I’ve heard atleast the devkits are out in good time… Read more »
strech
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strech
3 years 9 months ago
I can’t disagree with any of the individual points you’ve made, yet when I bought my first of those two consoles this year I bought a PS3, and I’m much more likely to buy a PS4 (eventually) than a 360. The first of the reasons for this is admittedly a taste in game thing – PS3 has more exclusives I was interested in than 360. And I have a gaming PC, so the multiplatform issue isn’t as big for me. The second is I think Sony has improved from the start of the generation and they’ve learned most of the… Read more »
Flo
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Flo
3 years 9 months ago
Some counter-arguments, since I love my PS3 so much. From my experience, while it’s true that some multiplatform games run better on the 360, it’s only a very small number which I’d consider outright bad on PS3 (from my personal collection, that’s only Enslaved). To me, that flaw is outweighed a hundredfold by a slew of amazing exclusives. This of course depends on one’s taste in games. As for the Trophies vs. Achievements argument – I don’t see the difference. Both are intrusive, potentially immersion-breaking notifications. Both are useless and no reason to play a game. Another thing I don’t… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
3 years 9 months ago

This reminds me of what happened with the Dreamcast because Saturn was such a let down.u

Alex
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Alex
3 years 9 months ago
I think what you’re saying about the PlayStation 3 is fair. However, it’s not necessarily the case that these same mistakes will be repeated with the PlayStation 4. I can see three main reasons that multiplatform games are better on the XBox: 1. It’s based on PC architecture, which makes it more familiar to developers 2. It has a bigger install base, so it gets more attention 3. It has a better online system – because this was a huge focus for Microsoft from day 1. I think Sony has learned its lessons about the importance of online gaming. When… Read more »
randomrob
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randomrob
3 years 9 months ago

Sony has become so caught up in competing with Microsoft that they’ve stopped playing to their strengths… getting behind 3rd party developers with cool & unusual niche titles. It’s like they’re just trying to be a ‘me too’ console. After FFXIII and the silly way they handled the hack, I sold my PS3. Not renewing the copyright for ‘the Last Guardian’ is the last straw for me.

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