arstechnica.com takes a fresh look at the PS3
From Ars Technica,
They say it got smart: a 2008 review of the PS3
The revolution will not be televised, it will be downloaded an update at a time
Back in the crazy days before the current generation of gaming consoles, the console you bought at retail was the console you had for the life of the hardware. My SNES acts exactly the same now as it did when it was first released, and outside of the addition of Xbox Live, the first Xbox system remained largely unchanged throughout the hardware's life cycle. Those days are long over, and now which version of Sony's PlayStation 3 that you bought is only one part of the equation: welcome to the firmware wars.
The firmware has received update after update. The Blu-ray capability has become much stronger, and it may in fact be the most affordable and fully-featured high definition disc player on the market. The price has come down to a much more palatable $400 for the 40GB model, and the game selection continues to improve, with strong multiplatform support and a wide selection of exclusive games
Sony has already launched the software update that allows the PS3 to play discs that use the 2.0 profile, called "BD Live," and at the moment the PS3 is one of the few players that will be able to play these discs. What does BD Live get you? Picture in picture, online features like trivia games, and other goodies like downloadable ring tones. The price of standalone players that are fully compliant with the 2.0 spec will most likely be above the $400 asking price of the PS3. Furthermore, buying Sony's console instead of a standalone player also gives you an added insurance policy: with its media processing muscle, hard drive, and Ethernet port, the PS3 is one of the only completely future-proof Blu-ray players on the market. No matter how the spec changes, the PS3 will be able to play it.
The Blu-ray and DivX situation has left Sony with the upper hand over Microsoft in the race to turn consoles into networked home media players. In short, Sony's gaming system is one of the most robust and affordable pieces of home theater hardware on the market: it's the best Blu-ray player, it has a relatively low price, it's fully Divx compatible, and it allows video streaming from your network. Furthermore, regular DVDs look amazing after being upscaled, and the system now takes advantage of all your high-end audio equipment. If you take away the gaming features completely, the hardware is still worth more than $400 for home theater enthusiasts; in a surreal twist, you could argue that Blu-ray is the Trojan horse bringing PS3 gaming to the masses, not the other way around.
* The best Blu-ray player on the market
* Rock solid hardware with a minimal defect rate
* Excellent media functions across the board
* Dual Shock 3 is a great controller, with many options for creative developers
* Online store has no upper limit on size of games
* Storage is a snap to upgrade
* Excellent convergence with the PlayStation Portable
* An ever-increasing library of exclusives
* Home could make great strides in online gaming
* Home has seen too many delays
* Online play still doesn't measure up to Xbox
* Backwards compatibility seems to be going the way of the dodo in newer models
* Focus on media could take away from gaming aspects of the system
* Don't think that numerical scores are coming back, but since we're re-rating the hardware, I thought we'd take them out for one last hurrah, since these days the PS3 gets a...
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Going from a 6 at release to a 9 today just shows how much the PS3 has improved & it continues to evolve with each firmware update.
Don't think Joe 6 Pack hasn't noticed, my 70 year old Dad just asked for a PS3 for Fathers day, this is huge as the only thing he knows about this stuff is what he sees at my house & from the old gear I give them when I upgrade.
I've already picked him a 40G up & am downloading game demos now & I'll be setting up a WiFi at their house.