Monday, June 24

Gloves Up – The Battle of the New Generation Game Consoles

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With Christmas fast approaching, the battle of the game consoles has come to a head. Which console will come out on top as this Christmas’ biggest seller? Will it be the breathtakingly powerful Sony PS3, Microsoft’s feature packed Xbox 360 or will the innovative Nintendo Wii make a comeback and prove a worthy competitor against the two big-shot consoles of the last few years? I for one will not be placing any bets on who might come out tops this Christmas as each of these unique consoles is worthy of taking the honours. Whose corner are you in? Which console are you going to purchase for yourself or your kids this Christmas?

Let’s take a closer look at the competitors and then decide who we think will take the heavyweight gaming console champions belt this Christmas!

Sony PS3

Sony built the PlayStation 3 with a definite eye on the future – and it has a high price tag because of it. Can it maintain its lead in the gaming arena with this console?

  • Cost: R4,599 – R5,133 (On PriceCheck)
  • Processor: Cell Processor PowerPC-base Core @3.2GHz
  • Graphics: RSX @ 550MHz
  • Memory: 256MB XDR Main RAM @3.2GHz, 256MB GDDR3 VRAM @700MHz
  • Hard Drive: 60GB 2.5″ Serial ATA
  • Inputs: USB Front x 4, Rear x 2 (USB2.0), Memory Stick standard/Duo, PRO x 1, SD standard/mini x 1, CompactFlash(Type I, II) x 1
  • Wireless: Bluetooth 2.0 (EDR), IEEE 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi
  • Outputs: HDMI out x 1, AV multi out x 1, Digital out (optical) x 1
  • Screen sizes: 480p, 480i, 576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
  • Controllers: SIXAXIS Wireless controller
  • Disc Media: Blu-Ray, DVD, CD
  • Accessories: Blu-Ray Disc Remote Control, SIXAXIS Wireless, Component AV Cable , S-VIDEO Cable
  • 80+ games available by the end of 2007
  • Backwards compatibility: Yes with PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games.

Microsoft Xbox 360

With a strong line-up of games and almost a year’s head start on its competitors, the 360 was in a top position to seriously challenge the PlayStation brand.

  • Cost: R5,689 – R7,113 (On PriceCheck)
  • Available in four bundles: Xbox 360 Core System , Xbox 360 Premium System, Xbox 360 Elite and to coincide with the Halo 3 launch the Special Edition Halo 3 console
  • Processor: IBM PowerPC-based CPU with three symmetrical 3.2GHz processors
  • Graphics: 500MHz custom ATI Graphics Processor with 10MB of embedded DRAM
  • Memory: 512MB GDDR3 RAM and 700MHz DDR
  • Hard Drive: None included in Core system. 20GB with Premium and Halo 3 systems, and 120GB with the Elite system.
  • Inputs: USB 2.0 (Game controller port) x 2, Memory Unit Slots x 2, Wi-Fi adaptor slot, Ethernet RJ-45 (Ethernet cable with Premium, Elite, and Halo 3 systems)
  • Outputs: S-VIDEO AV on Core system, Component HD AV on Premium and Elite systems, HDMI out for Elite system
  • Screen sizes: 480p, 480i, 576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
  • Controllers: Wired x 1 on Core system, Wireless x 1 on Premium, Elite, and Halo 3 systems
  • Disc media: DVD, CD
  • Accessories: Universal Media Remote, Wireless controller, Wireless Networking Adapter , Headset, Hard Drive 20GB
  • Xbox Live! Silver membership
  • 300 games available by the end of 2007
  • Backwards compatibility: Limited Xbox backwards compatibility.

Nintendo Wii

The Nintendo Wii boasts the ability to play GameCube titles along with a wide range of NES, SNES and N64 games via the Virtual Console download service. Is that going be enough to make it competitive against the powerful PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360?

  • Cost: R3,198 – R4,000 (On PriceCheck)
  • Processor: PowerPC Broadway CPU
  • Graphics: ATI Hollywood GPU
  • Memory: 88MB main memory, 24MB 1T-SRAM integrated to graphics, 64MB GDDR3 SDRAM, 3MB embedded GPU texture memory and frame buffer
  • Storage: 512MB built-in flash memory
  • Inputs: USB 2.0 expansion ports x 2, GameCube controller port x 4, GameCube memory card slot x 2, SD memory card slot x 1, and built-in support for Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Sensor bar input
  • Outputs: Multi-output for component, composite, or S-VIDEO
  • Screen sizes: 480p, 480i, 576i
  • Controllers: Wireless remote, Nunchuk
  • Disc Media: DVD
  • Accessories: Wii Remote, Nunchuk, Wii Classic Controller, Joytech Sports Pack
  • 100+ games available by the end of 2007
  • Backwards compatibility: Yes with GameCube. NES, SNES and Nintendo 64 are available to purchase and download through the Nintendo’s Virtual Console service.

Looking at the above specs it’s tough to decide which of these consoles is best. The truth is they all have their own pros and cons and in the end, it depends what you’re looking for in a machine.

There’s not much difference much between the Xbox 360 and the PS3. Although the PS3 looks impressive on paper, the Xbox seems to perform better. The Xbox is also cheaper than the PS3 which is always going to be a huge factor. These are both excellent gaming consoles I think that those who’ve already owned one of these machine’s predecessors will most likely stick to what they know and buy the upgraded version.

Now, with the high powered machines out the way, let’s talk about the latest console to hit the market – the Intendo Wii. What this console lacks in power, performance and features, it more than makes up for with originality and innovation. The Wii’s motion sensitive remote controller allows you to play games such as tennis, golf and baseball as if you actually had the racket, club or bat in your hand. The beauty of this console is that it manages to target all audiences – from your hardcore gamers to your casual gamers; this console is fun for the whole family. The Wii’s price tag is also the lowest of the three consoles and I think this will prove to be the knock-out punch in a closely fought fight between the consoles.



Above: Friends enjoying Baseball on the Intendo Wii

If I had the funds and the time, I would buy all three of these machines as they all offer something unique. However, I am not Bill Gates, nor do I know him, so unfortunately I will have to choose only one console this Christmas.

The Intendo Wii gets my vote, simply because it is the cheapest of the consoles and is an absolute blast to play (and because I can use the constant swinging of the remote as a substitute for a gym workout).

This is just my opinion of course and the decision is ultimately yours. One thing is for sure, the future of gaming is looking bright and I am sure that more and more thumbs will be “working out’ in 2008.

Happy gaming and Merry Christmas!

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