First of all I am not a fanboy. I own all three consoles and although there is a lot more that could be discussed concerning the pros and cons of each system, I just wanted to address the mistakes that seemed the most avoidable and unnecessary. This is nothing that hasn't already been said, I just feel these are some of the main issues that I hope all three companies fix in future consoles. These are also things that should have been addressed while developing this generation of consoles. I just hope the big wigs take notes on this type of consumer feedback.
We have all had our frustrations with game consoles whether it be an Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii. This goes for game developers, and the rest of us gamers alike. Each system does certain things well, while other aspects just don't make any sense.
The Wii didn't come high def this generation, but it kept cost low and I can consider that a good business move that payed off well for them. They had the innovation, and accessibility to bring in a whole new demographic that made getting a Wii cool for parents across America. They kept it cheap compared to the other consoles so that those who were scraping by could bring home interactive enjoyment without breaking the bank. It's also the only current gen console that can't play DVD's. Before anyone goes on a rant on how it's meant for gaming not movies, let's realize that we live in an age were people are desperately trying to simplify their home entertainment experience. They don't want to have to go buy new hardware for something as simple as playing a dvd. It should be as standard on gaming consoles these days, as headlights on a car. Would it really even be that costly for the company to implement this when I can go down to the store and buy a PS2 that plays DVDs for $99?
Sony is determined to be a powerhouse and to make the most complex heavy duty gaming console on the market. They did just that. Sony has created a machine that is sturdy and quiet and would probably make a decent weapon against home intruders. It is heavy and tough and I always have peace of mind that it will run smoothly without overheating or any thing of that nature. However, Sony gets the award for the most un-user friendly/ un-developer friendly console on the market. We have all heard what a difficult console the PlayStation is to develop for. Many cross platform games have suffered because of it. Perhaps that is why some games come out on Xbox first and then later on make their way to the PlayStation. Apart from mumbles I have heard from developers, I have had my own issues with the PlayStation. Particularly the settings menu. I am pretty tech savvy and for the most part I didn't have a problem setting up my PlayStation 3 the way I wanted it. However, for those technically challenged among us, the PlayStation's settings menu could be very daunting. It does give you options that you don't get on other consoles like 7.1 surround sound. However, setting it up is just awkward. I got a new receiver last night with HDMI ports on the back for my Xbox and Playstation. It seemed like forever before I could figure out why my games would play in Dolby Digital 5.1 but my Blu rays would play in stereo. I unchecked all the zillion audio options in the audio menu of my PlayStation trying to make Dolby Digital the only option but it still refused to give me surround sound when playing blu rays. At one time I even wondered if their was something wrong with my receiver. After much frustration and some intense forum searching I discovered my solution wasn't even in the PlayStation's audio setup menu! It was in the video settings menu! Well of course, I mean that's so obvious. Why would my audio problem be a setting in the audio menu? For those of you who have run into this same problem you have to go to video settings, scroll down to BD audio output format (their are two selections, one says HDMI at the end in parenthesis. Use this one if HDMI is what you are using to bring your audio into your reciever, and the other says Optical in case you are using an optical audio cable for audio.) These two selections have two settings to choose from. Choose bitstream, not linear PCM. You know, Xbox may not offer some of the audio features that Sony does, but at least when I choose Dolby digital from the audio menu, everything plays in Dolby Digital. Even my HD-DVDs. Yes I bought an HD-DVD player. I just couldn't resist after their amazing, and energetic marketing ads. :) Also, why is it that my Xbox can deliver audio through HDMI and and optical audio cable simultaneously and the amazing supposedly technically superior PlayStation can't? This helps me since I can run audio to my reciever through HDMI, and use the optical audio cable to run audio to my wireless 5.1 headphones. It's that kind of convenience that I wish sony was better at.
I love my Xbox. It is an ease to use and is less cumbersome than the PlayStation. Also their support for indie developers, and big time developers has been great. They really have made an effort to make developing on their console as painless as possible from a technical standpoint that is. You don't have to be tech savvy to setup and take advantage of all the features the Xbox has to offer. So for the most part, Microsoft has made great effort to to make their console pretty user friendly, which is nice. However, they maybe should have thought things through a little more while developing the console. I know they wanted to beat Sony to the market but it's not worth it if a large portion of your consoles are going to fail in the first year. I have gotten the RROD once, but I have an Elite now that seems to be working fine. However, I am never fully at peace with my Xbox. I will always have this slight paranoia that it could die at any moment. It would have been nice had Microsoft made a better effort testing their product before sending it out. Even if it would have cost them extra to spend more time doing QA testing, I am sure the cost of thorough testing couldn't have been much more than the billions that they ultimately had to pay to rectify the problem later. I also wish they could have made it as quiet as the PS3, but then again when your in the heat of battle in COD4 that's something you don't really notice.
All in all I have enjoyed my 3 consoles. I hope that all three companies listen closely to their fans and address some of the unnecessary issues that have caused their consumers frustrations. I do look forward to next generation. Considering the amazing advances in gaming this generation, it's hard to imagine what the future holds. Expect your mind to be blown! :)