The current generation of game consoles is a market contested by three systems. Microsoft's Xbox 360, which was released in November 2005, Nintendo's Wii, due for release in November 2006, and the Sony PS3, also set to release in North America and Japan in November 06. This is a short guide for consumers interested in a comparison of the PS3 vs Xbox 360.
The two systems are remarkably similar in several ways. They both ship in two different lines - a Basic and a Premium version - and in both cases, the main difference between the two lines for each is the size of the hard drive. In the case of Xbox, the Core version does not have one, while the Premium system comes with a removable 20 GB hard drive. In the case of the PS3, the Basic edition has a 20 GB hard drive, and the Premium comes with a 60 GB drive. Given the similarities of the two lines for each system, from here on we shall just compare the premium version of both systems.
Microsoft's second console, the Xbox 360, is Internet-capable by standard 100 Mb ethernet port, has a relatively advanced on board Operating System (OS), features a triple-cored CPU for parallel processing, allowing a different processor to focus exclusively on different aspects of each game, has a powerful on-board graphics accelerator with an ATI GPU, has 5.1 surround sound support, DVD playback functionality, interfaces with an online matchmaking and multiplayer service, namely, Xbox Live, and with a software update, will support the HDTV progressive video resolution of 1920x1080 (AKA, 1080p). The system also has 3 USB 2.0 ports, which allow users to plug in additional peripherals, such as the Xbox Live Vision Camera, and wireless network adaptor. There is support for both wired and wireless controllers. Microsoft has also announced it will release an external Xbox HD-DVD drive for users who desire next-generation disk format support. The Xbox 360 ships with emulation software that allows users to play some original Xbox games on the new console. The results vary significantly, however, and a compatibility "profile" must first be released on a game-by-game basis via Xbox Live, before users can use old games. In some cases, the older games are able to take advantage of the significantly more powerful hardware available to them and will actually play better than on the original system. Others, however, do not lend themselves well to this feature, and run poorly, or in some cases, not at all, and thus, will not be supported by Microsoft on the 360.
The PS3 will also be Internet-capable via 1 Gb ethernet, and will offer many of the same features as Xbox Live Gold, using the tentatively named "PlayStation Network Platform" (PNP) service for multiplayer and matchmaking. Unlike Xbox Live Gold, however, Sony has announced that their service will not attract a subscription fee, but will instead be free to all users. It has a highly advanced "Cell" processor, which features eight independent "Synergistic Processing Elements" (SPE) for parallel computing. One of these is reserved for the OS, and another is redundant, making the console fault tolerant, should one of the units fail. The other six can be dynamically configured by each game to allow developers to optimise the console for the requirements of every individual game. The next-generation Blu-Ray Disk format is standard for all PS3 units, which also allows standard DVD and CD playback, as with the Xbox 360. The PS3 will support all standard HDTV resolutions, and the Premium version has HDMI output support. The PS3 has Wireless Bluetooth controllers, USB, Flash card and memory stick support, and 7.1 surround sound. Finally, Sony has said that nearly every PS1 and PS2 game will be natively compatible with the PS3, and has indicated that some Sega Genesis (AKA Sega Megadrive outside the US) games will also work out of the box. It will gradually make these games available for download directly to the on-board hard drive, for a fee payable via their PNP service.
When comparing the PS3 vs Xbox 360, it can be hard to make a choice. The PS3 is undoubtedly a more powerful machine, however, it costs much more than its competitor. It includes a host of features very similar to those offered by Microsoft, some of which are definitely implemented better. It is fair to expect generally superior performance from a PS3, so any choice boils down to the investment consumers are willing to make - or have already made, in the case of older games - for that experience.
To find out more info on the PS3 including worlwide release dates you can find a full in depth report at ThePS3Report.co.uk Andrew Lawrence is the developer of E-bookz Online a site that promotes mostly info products on all subjects.