Why don't I just hit a nerd nest with a stick?
The reasons for choosing a particular console can range from logical to completely subjective. The hoary Internet is practically the wellspring of irrational subjectiveness. To simply state your preference for one console or another can be grounds for others to call your sexuality, intelligence, heritage, and right to life into question. So it is with great trepidation that I posit this query: As the current generation hits middle age, is the PS3 finally beginning to pull away in the great console race?
I purchased my Xbox 360 in December of 2005, and haven't looked back since. It has been a wonderful console that has brought me untold hours of enjoyment, and it continues to do so to this day. I purchased my PS3 in the Summer of 2007. Despite an early dearth of games, I have heartily enjoyed it as well.
The two consoles tend to play to the strengths of their makers. The 360 has a robust online component and is relatively easy to program for due to its similarity to PC architecture. It is also the AK-47 of networked consoles. Hook a 360 into a network and it will find things you didn't even realize were there. Short of setting the router on fire you're going to be able to find and play with others, online and off.
The PS3 is an elegant, multi-featured system that truly embodies poor Trip Hawkins's decade-too-early dream. A set top box that does absolutely everything: games, Blu-ray, Internet, wireless networking (most models), photos, and music. You name it and if the PS3 doesn't do it, Sony is probably has plans to include it in the next system update. Sony's hardware expertise has produced a beautiful, versatile machine.
Unfortunately with the 360 you don't really have to set the router on fire to get it to fail, since the early 360 models will save you the trouble by setting themselves on fire (I'm on my third one). The PS3 won't do multi-switched LAN for love or money, and it's taken Sony's own studios three years to figure out how to actually *use* all the damned power they put in the thing.
Which brings us to today. There has been a subtle shift over the last year in terms of graphics on the competing systems. The 360's three-to-four years of dominance have given way to the PS3's sudden leap forward. Multi-platform games still look much the same by and large, but one has to wonder if that might change if other developers manage to duplicate the graphical prowess of Uncharted 2 and God of War 3.
A similar situation unfolded with the original Xbox and the PS2. The Xbox was always superior in terms of graphics due to being released later, but its smaller installed base compared to the PS2 meant that most multi-platform games were developed with Sony's system in mind rendering the Xbox's more advanced hardware moot.
This time both consoles are somewhat close in terms of installed base, and as time goes on the PS3 seems to have more room to grow in terms of what can be done with it.
The PS3 also has something else up its sleeve: better exclusive games. Yes, yes, the 360 will always have Halo, but other than Forza 3 I can't think of another Microsoft exclusive title in the last year that truly dazzled me.
Sony can be hit-or-miss with original titles (MAG, White Knight Chronicles) or eternally delayed. (Duke Nukem Forever…excuse me Gran Turismo 5). However, Uncharted 2, God of War 3, Killzone 2, Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Valkyria Chronicles, Infamous, and Demon's Souls make a pretty solid argument for Sony even if multi-platform titles continue to be similar on both systems.
This could all be for naught if Natal is the game-changer Microsoft hopes it will be. Personally I'm wary of motion control without force feedback. But one thing is for sure: As we move into the next few years I'm glad that I'm fortunate enough to own both.