From PlayStation to Xbox – a traitor journalist writes
The day I start working on an Xbox magazine, Sony sends me this image. What are they trying to say?
So, today’s my first day on X360, a specialist Xbox magazine, after a three-year stint on PLAY, a specialist PlayStation magazine, having been on 360, another specialist Xbox magazine, for a year before that. I figure my arriving here fresh from the heart of PlayStation land gives me a unique perspective on Xbox land, so my first post on this blog is going to be some thoughts on what ‘they’ think of ‘you’. Something like that anyway.
The thing I personally missed most about the 360 while I was on PLAY was the controller. For me the very first PlayStation joypad was the best controller ever back in 1995, but Sony’s insistence on crudely adapting its original design instead of properly reworking it to move with the times has meant it’s gradually got worse and worse. The Dualshock does at least have decent face buttons and a D-pad that works properly, but the sticks and triggers are awful. I honestly get bad cramp in my hands from playing racing games with that thing.
The 360 also has superior online services to the PS3, although whether it’s £40 a year ‘s worth of better is debatable. Still, I pay my £40 a year without complaint and I appreciate that it’s easier to play games with my friends, that there’s a bigger selection of downloadable games, that Live accounts have more detail and more options and that download speeds are faster. Seriously, it can take hours just to update a PS3 game.
So, what will I miss about the PS3? Well, personally I have to say that I think the PS3 has had a better, more diverse range of exclusive titles over the last couple of years. I think Killzone 2 is better than any Halo game, although Resistance isn’t, not by a long way. InFamous was inferior to Crackdown, but InFamous 2 is promising to display exactly the kind of bold ambition and innovation that Crackdown 2 categorically did not. Gears Of War and Forza are both great but they’re just another shooting game and another driving game where the PS3 has Uncharted 2 – a shooting game with so much more to offer – and Gran Turismo 5 really is about to rain beautiful, glistening, shiny, realistic rain all over Forza’s parade. Then the PS3 has the likes of God Of War III, LittleBigPlanet and Heavy Rain. The 360 just doesn’t have its own equivalents to those. I suppose there’s Fable but sorry, I just don’t like Fable.
I still mostly play multi-platform games and prefer the 360 for those, but when it comes to platform exclusives, the PS3 does get the chance to exercise its more powerful hardware and to exercise Sony’s more adventurous approach to publishing.
Finally, I’m not really into motion-controlled games, but I can see why Move has done well, and can’t really see how Kinect can realistically compete right now. Still, it’s a worthwhile endeavour on Microsoft’s part, even if it does just end up a costly learning experience, because the most decisive battle of the console war will be fought on a casual battlefield.
So yeah, I’m excited to be back on a 360 mag because the 360 is a great pure gaming machine, but I’ve learned from ‘the other side’ that there’s a lot to be said for a platform holder that’s willing to take creative risks. Sometimes Sony’s risks don’t pay off and it gets a lot of stick for it, but sometimes those risks result in great games and huge leaps forward for gamingkind. As Sony’s CEO Howard Stringer often likes to say, and I’m paraphrasing, you don’t stay ahead of the game by standing still. Now that I’m an Xbox boy, I’d like to see a little more of that kind of attitude from Microsoft.
By the way, the guy from Sony was only kidding around. We’re still friends.