XBOX 360 vs PS3 – Who won the war of the last generation?

Introduction

Before we laugh in to the meat of this roundup I want to state that this blog post is my personal opinion and based upon owning a 360 and PS3 from their release and having played a majority of the major titles. I am also not covering the WII in any way or form in this post, it may have been part of the war technically but I didn’t own one and my point of few is one that the WII being massively less powerful and geared towards family and a different control mechanism is not in the same league for us ‘hardcore’ gamers. One other thing as a lazy man some facts are being pulled from Wikipedia which can be inaccurate being a Wiki.

The XBOX 360 came out late 2005 a whole year before the PS3 so although below I am going to do a comparison below on the hardware obviously the PS3 was better but here it is anyhow.

XBOX 360

PS3

CPU 3.2 GHz PowerPC Tri-Core Xenon 3.2 GHz Cell Broadband Engine with 1 PPE & 6 SPEs
Memory 512 MB of GDDR3 RAM clocked at 700 MHz 256 MB system and 256 MB video
GPU 500 MHz ATI Xenos 550 MHz NVIDIA/SCEI RSX ‘Reality Synthesizer’
Media DVD/HD-DVD Blu-ray

 

So mostly the specs are pretty similar and most high end games have had a side by side comparison and usually there is very little in the way of difference.

Software

The first point I am going to mention is the dashboard which is obviously the first thing you see and mainly interact with, there has been a good few XBOX 360 dashboard updates so I’m focusing on the final re-design that’s been on the 360 for some time now.

360 Dashboard

The 360 dashboard sites with the more standard Microsoft layout following the title based view which has now been incorporated with Windows 8 and surface. This see’s main tabs across the top of the screen for the different sections and blocks across each layout highlighting the different features, updates. Personally I have grown to like this few a lot, we have the following tabs

  • Home – This has quick access to run the game in the DVD drive, it also has links to latest demos, movies and features. I’ve often seen a game that has interested me and gone through to get the demo or see the trailer. I’ve always found this a pleasing screen and it’s nice to see the updates.
  • Social – This screen shows all of your friends as their avatars and allows you to see who’s online, what people are playing.
  • Games – This screen show all the game information you need. It has promotional block for new games and demos, access to the entire library of downloadable games, demos and of course access to your games. The layout and organisation is easy to use and simple to navigate
  • Tv & Movies –In the same vein of the Games tab promos are shown as well as access to the full library and access to your TV. This also allows access to DLNA devices for playing media over network, this has always been flawed with its lack of codec support or direct access of SMB shares.
  • Music – Again this is a hug of music with promos, access to music etc. It would be nice to have this more tailored to your tastes as I always get promos for things I’d never listen to.
  • Apps – Access to all the 3rd party apps that you’ve downloaded and the ability to get more. Examples are IE, YouTube etc.

Most of the areas and access can all be got at through the Kinect’s voice control functions which means and easy ability to navigate should you have one. Personally I think the 360 dashboard is feature rich, has lots of information, slick and easy to use. Also by pressing the guide button you can get access to quick settings, play the current game in the DVD drive and also play music.

Also as of note it’s clear with the dashboard redesigns and the regular updates that Microsoft have put lots and lots of work in to this which deserves some recognition.

PS3

The PS3 dashboard is very much more minimal in its design and has barely updated much in the years it has been out.

  • Photos – This give access to a large photo gallery from photos add or synced from devices. I’ve never needed to use this as I don’t see the worth of putting photos on a console.
  • Music – Access to your music and also any of the music apps that you have installed. You can also access DLNA content from here.
  • Video – Access to downloaded films, TV, video app, your Blu-ray film and also DLNA content. For me the major win in this area was the Blu-ray and the addition of 3D support, I’ve used this heavily. Again this has always been flawed with its lack of codec support or direct access of SMB shares.
  • Games – Access to your downloaded games, Blu-ray game, demos etc.
  • Browser – Access to the web browser, sometimes handy but for most rarely used.
  • PSN Account – Allows access to friends and the market place. The friends view is basic and the store is bland and uninspiring. Every time I’ve used this I’ve had no urge to browse or look around as it doesn’t stand out.

Winner

For me it’s clear the 360 is the winner, it’s massively more feature rich and far more vibrant. There’s more content, better organized and it makes me want to look around and view things. The PS3 is bland, simple and all I ever want to do is reach by initial goal, it fails on trying to get me to interact with it more

Games (Single Player/Co-op)

Personally I think the view on which console has the better games is really down to personal game preferences but to sum the best of the exclusive game franchises in my view.

XBOX 360

PS3

Gears of war The Last of Us
Halo God of War
Fable Killzone
Lost Odyssey GT
Project Gotham Racing Uncharted

 

There are other PS3 exclusives I could name, probably easier that the 360 which is where I think the PS3 pushes out as the quality of their exclusives is generally better. However being a Halo and Gears fan boy I can happy plays these games over and over whereas I rarely touch the PS3 games casually. The other thing to note for games is the amazing increasing focus and support of the indie games development scene which has got better and better. Also the XNA game studio is very powerful and for people like me who use Visual Studio every day a joy to work with.

Winner

The PS3 wins here because of the quality of the games, also the work done by Naughty Dog has been very very good, although congratulation has to be given to 343 Industries for taking over Halo and keeping it brilliant. Personally though I’d note Gears of War 3 as being the best drop in and play game I’ve ever played as I love playing Horde with my housemates.

Online Gaming

XBOX LIVE is a paid for service which cost about £40 a year to get a gold account whereas the PS3 is a free service. Personally I think this is clearly evident in the quality of the online gaming experience, the Xbox 360 has always in my experience been far better to play on with better access, lobbies, chat and easier to use. You pay for the quality of Live and for the service level of all the servers it uses. Also as a note I always pick a game that has XBOX 360 or PS3 choice up on the 360 due to the usually superior DLC content. PSN also offered you free games but nowadays the Gold level membership gives you the top games of previous year free as well. Also to note, the speeds of PSN for updates have been very poor and for me this was evident in the massive amount of patches needed for GT5 which took hours of downloading to get it working.

Winner

My option is the 360 wins for its better service, quality and experience.

Controllers

This again I think just comes down to preference with the standard controllers, both are well designed and both have shock control. I do like the usage on games such as Killzone of the PS3 controllers motion sensing although not enough games utilize it . However the Kinect is far better than the move with all of the extra control you can perform.

Winner

Xbox 360

Optical Drive

The XBOX 360 came with DVD drive built in and an optional HD-DVD drive whereas the PS3 has Blu-ray. The fact the HD-DVD drive was an extra paid for add-on, the lack of support from the industry and the fact that the games came on DVD was a real downer for the XBOX 360. The PS3 has the next check optical technology built in and put the games directly on it.

Winner

PS3 chose the correct future proof path and where XBOX 360 has struggled with its small DVD discs, the PS3 has thrived.

Reliability

I’m noting this because of the RROD which was a problem on the 360 for a long time. I myself have had 2 RROD problems whereas my PS3 has been working perfectly since the day I got it.

Winner

PS3….obviously!

Other

Other notes to make that I can think of

  • Xbox SmartGlass – This is a cool app that allows interacting with the XBOX 360 dashboard and there is no PS3 version.
  • TV Support – The TV support and XBOX 360 integration is very good (better if you live in the USA)
  • Sales – Both have sold about 80 million but really to me it’s not about sales at all.

Conclusion

There are good points and bad points across the board. The PS3 has the best game selection of exclusives but the 360 has the better experience, LIVE service and better controlling mechanisms. The PS3 outright best the 360 with the choice of optical drive but XBOX LIVE is fast enough to download who games without the massive speed lag that PSN has.

Winner

XBOX 360, it’s clear to me that the 360 is the winner. I’ve had both consoles for such a long time and the PS3 just gets used for exclusives and for playing Blu-ray films, I way to engage with the Xbox 360, see the new content and personally I’d always choose a game on XBOX 360 for the DLC and because my friends are more likely to have it.

About ScottReed

I am an ASP.NET C# developer working in the south of England current for the south's top digital agency Redweb. I have worked for financial companies, CMS vendors, charities and web agencies tacking a variety of challenges. As part of my jobs and freelance I have done lots of work for high profile companies, big brands and government bodies and worked on some exciting large award winning builds. I love development and enjoy architectural design of software. ScottGu is my .NET hero and the Guru of all thing M$oft