Those minor gripes notwithstanding, the PS3 delivers excellent engineering and performance. What's impressive about the PS3, in fact, is that with all this power under the hood, the system runs as quietly as it does. After running for several hours straight, we found that we could still place a hand over the back of the unit and not get scorched -- the system runs pretty warm, but not blazingly hot. Meanwhile, the Xbox 360 cooling fan and DVD drive are far noisier, often to the point of distraction. Also, the PS3 hasn't had any widespread reliability problems, unlike the 'red ring of death' problem that continues to plague the 360.
The PS3 clearly measures up to the Xbox 360 in terms of its graphics prowess, but there are few games available that are good enough to declare them a 'system-seller'. While the argument can be made that Metal Gear Solid 4 is worth buying a PS3 for, other exclusive titles such as LittleBigPlanet, Ratchet & Clank and Uncharted have finally given PlayStation 3 owners something to cheer about.
Simply put: Sony needs to deliver still more compelling exclusives, as well as multiplatform titles that look and play better on the PS3. A price cut and the end of the hi-def format war have increased sales, so the number of games should increase to meet demand.
At first, the PS3 came with backward support for a wide range of PS2 games (with the 60GB model), utilising the 'Emotion Engine' chip to provide hardware support. Updates stripped the console of this chip to reduce costs and in its place added a software-emulation solution for PS2 playback. This wasn't ideal, but has gradually improved with periodic software updates. All along Sony has stated that it wanted to eventually shift to developing content exclusively for the PS3, and with the total omission of PS2 support in the new 2008 PS3 models, this is the first indication of that focus.
So, is the PS3 worth the money Sony's asking? Yes, we think it is. The advantages the Xbox 360 had in terms of its exclusive games and superb online service are being caught up by Sony, with games such as LittleBigPlanet and the Home service coming soon. On top of that, it remains the best built, best looking and most reliable of the two. And it's still the best value Blu-ray player on the market. With a bigger hard drive, you're getting slightly more for your £300 than before, and while there's little here to warrant an upgrade from the 40GB version, this is the perfect time to buy your first PS3.
Edited by John P. Falcone
Additional editing by Nick Hide