Cancel that next gen console upgrade

Microsoft’s next generation gaming console, the XBox 360, has been available in Australia since its official launch last March 23 of this year. Ever since, I’ve started rethinking my position on the whole next generation console wars.

In case you don’t know it, there are three next generation gaming consoles fighting a three-way war for consumers’ pockets: Microsoft’s Box 360, Sony’s Playstation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii. The Box 360 is already out and sells for around $650 here, while the PS3 and WI will both come out some time in November. At the moment, the 360 has the advantage in that it came out first and it’s cheaper than the upcoming PS3. The PS3 is rumoured to cost $999 here when it comes out. The WI will be the cheapest of the three at a predicted launch cost of around $300.

I currently own a PS2 so my loyalties are slightly skewed toward Sony and the PS3. The PS3 is touted to have the best hardware from the bunch. The games coming out for the console at launch date seem to be very exciting and graphically superior to current 360 titles. There is also the added bonus that it is fully PS2 backward compatible, meaning all my existing PS2 games will be playable on the PS3 if I decide to buy it. The only problem I have with it is its hefty price of almost a thousand dollars.

Because of that, I started considering the Box 360. I should say that I’m also considering the WI but only because of what I’ve seen on the E3 reports featuring its unique controller and very cheap cost. But, I reasoned to myself that the Box has been known to be the must-have console for First Person Shooter aficionados so maybe it’s about time I make a switch.

I planned to buy the 360 during this year’s nationwide stocktake clearance sales that happens around June. Well, it’s June now. After much searching, I found that the 360 sells the cheapest at Myer for only $629. Not only that but most of its accessories and games are discounted. So, for a Premium Box 360 package, a charge and play kit, an extra wired controller, Call of Duty 2 and Dead or Alive 4, it will only come to just over $800 total. I say “only” because buying this set elsewhere will be dearer. In the end though, I have no intention of buying these at Myer. I only need their catalogue to show as proof of the price at EBGames, Dick Smith Powerhouse or Harvey Norman so they can beat it. Any of these three stores are okay as they usually accept returns for problem products.

I tried the Box 360 controller while playing the first person shooter game, Call of Duty 2, at a JB Hi-Fi demonstration Box 360 in shop and I love its responsiveness. The 360 controller seemed to be better for FPS games than the PS2’s (and by extension, the PS3’s because they share the same controller form factor). More and more I’m getting myself convinced that the 360 is the console for me.

I even got to the point where I had my old PS2 listed on eBay for $100. At EBGames, you can buy the 360 for effectively $150 off if I trade-in my old console plus 7 games. So if I can sell my PS2 on eBay for at least $150 without games, then I’ll come out ahead. I can then trade-in my 7 games at EBGames and use the credit to buy 360 games.

I didn’t want to include the EyeToy PS2 accessory that Raquel gave to me for my birthday with the PS2 package I was selling on eBay. After looking around the Web, I found the drivers I needed to get it to work on my PC as a webcam. It works great. So, even without a PS2 I can still make use of my EyeToy.

However, in the past couple of days, I got to thinking again. I looked at gaming sites on the Web and compared the games for the next gen consoles and even the PS2 ones. The PS2 seems to have lots of great games in its line-up and the PS3 looks like it’s going to get awesome games when it comes out. Also, the FPS game Unreal Tournament 2007 will be coming out for PS3 and since I’m an Unreal Tournament fan, that’s something I’m definitely looking forward to.

And so, I decided to back out on my buying an Box 360 this week. I also canceled my listing on eBay for my PS2. I decided to just wait for the PS3 release in November before committing to any next gen gaming console. By then, I can properly compare the consoles.

I’m also afraid that when the PS3 comes out, I might like it better than the Box 360 and thereby regret my Box 360 purchase. But if it turns out that I actually like the Box 360 better anyway, then it’s still good as it will probably sell for less than $600 by then to compete with the cheap WI. And who knows? I might end up actually buying the WI instead.

Published in: on June 1, 2006 at 1:04 am  Leave a Comment