My birthday is coming up, and although I don't need a game console or will be able to purchase a new one in time (since they'll all hit Europe around Xmas or much, much later), the issue of "toys" has come up, so I've been wading through the masses of PS3 and Wii "news" and shaky amateur videos from all the usual sites in order to seek some sort of enlightenment.
Mind you, the PSP is more than enough for my average gaming needs. So the main reason for getting yet another console would be, er... "consolidation", i.e., getting rid of both the Xbox and the PlayStation 2 under the TV.
- Nobody had an updated video of either the Wii or the PS3's internet browsing abilities (some even went to the length of mumbling "oh, yeah, we don't have network yet, but we do have this pre-release vid..." and tacked on older footage showing the browser). What's the point of posting a video about a network-enabled console if you don't connect the damn thing and test the browser's compatibility with, say, the world's most popular sites?
- There hasn't been any real evidence of backwards compatibility. There is an awful lot of useless "console setup" videos that painstakingly (and rather boringly) go through every little minor configuration option (who bloody cares about the intricacies of audio setup, or eyebrow types for "Miis"?), but nobody bothered to pick out a few random "older" titles and slotted them in (I'd like to see if the PS3 will take, for instance, the PS2's Quake III Arena and the PS1's OddWorld).
- There's a lot of pointless video showing photo albums. Can any console access my gigantic photo archive over the network (using a decent protocol like SMB and not proprietary junk), or are they just limited to slotting in memory cards and "sharing" photos through their own (seemingly proprietary and pretty damn pointless) "internet" services? Can I post to Flickr? E-mail a photo to my parents? And why not?
- What about video and music streaming? I know I can use the Xbox360 (spit) with a Mac, and I know my way around UPNP and Microsoft's proprietary (yes, proprietary, no matter how much they claim it's "open") Media Center protocols, so I can at least try to hack my own pseudo-server. Will I ever be able to do anything of the sort with a PS3? (never mind the Wii)
- And, finally, what about proper remote controls for media? Surely I'm not expected to twiddle a controller to play a DVD (or control MP3 playback)?
These five things are why it's hard for me to take the "next gen consoles" seriously. If a game console is to become a "converged device" (and $DIVINITY knows I've had to endure enough talk of convergence), it ought to adhere to basic open standards, play your media properly and talk to what you already have on your LAN, not just its' manufacturer's own things.
I won't buy any console that won't have a web browser, pay more than lip service to backwards compatibility or talk to my existing gear, which pretty much rules out all of them right now.
(And please, don't tell me that any of these is exclusively targeted to people who don't have any other media devices or machines... They all have enough connectivity, and all that I've mentioned is perfectly reasonable to implement.)