Sony recently released a version of its popular PlayStation 3 video game console for people who don’t play a lot of video games. Sure, it comes with a controller and all, and it plays PS3 games, but it’s not for hardcore gamers. In an effort to compete with Microsoft’s 4-gigabyte Xbox 360 system at the same price of $ 199.99, Sony’s most recent incarnation of the super-slim PS3 model eschews a traditional hard drive in favor of 12 gigabytes of NAND memory (also known as flash memory).
Look, all the hardcore PS3 gamers are laughing right now. They know that if they want to play more than one or two games on this thing at a time, they will have to remove and reinstall games every time they change titles, or invest in a memory solution like an external hard drive or flash drive (both fully supported. if formatted to FAT32 on the nearest PC). They know all this because many PlayStation 3 games require you to install them in the internal memory of the console in order to play. While many games only require a few gigs, some of the newer triple-A gaming experiences, such as GTA V (8 concerts) and Splinter Cell blacklist (12 concerts!) It requires a lot more.
So, right now, you may be asking, “Well then, who should buy this?” The answer is “Virtually everyone except hardcore gamers.”
Let’s be honest, these days a PlayStation console is much more than a video game machine. First of all, they also play DVD and Blu-ray movies, a must-have for any movie lover’s living room. Yes, to get the benefit of improved image quality from your Blu-ray movies, you would have to upgrade the cable included with the system. But an HDMI cable or component comes at a small additional cost for a major improvement in picture quality. I’ll just go out there and say it: if you have an HDTV and you’re watching standard definition DVD, then you’re doing it wrong.
The PS3 also surfs the web, and while you can use the controller if you like, for a more PC-like internet experience, you can plug in your USB keyboard and mouse. Along with that internet connectivity comes access to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and even YouTube. There’s also been a lot of talk in the tech news lately about a deal Sony and Viacom are signing. The deal would purportedly allow Sony to offer its customers access to Viacom’s television channels, which include networks such as MTV and Nickelodeon, on an Internet streaming service. In short, we are talking about live cable television over the Internet. Sony has already reached out to other network providers like Disney and Warner Brothers. It will be interesting to see if Sony can come to some kind of agreement with these or others in the coming months.
Even if you don’t want to subscribe to a streaming service like Netflix, the PlayStation 3 also allows you to stream multimedia content from a capable PC. This means you can view your video files, listen to your MP3s, and browse your images directly from your computer to your big screen TV. All this functionality, and the PS3 still plays as well.
Sony (and let’s be fair, Microsoft, too) has done quite a bit over the past ten years to make their systems not just a game box, but the true focal point of the modern entertainment center. So while the 12-gig PS3 may not be the best option for the ‘hardcore’ gamer, it’s a great buy for anyone looking for an all-in-one Netflix / Blu-ray solution for their living room. Also makes a great gift idea for the casual gamer, the curious media junkie of video games, or the parent who wants their child to get Skylanders Turn off the television in the house and take it back to your room. Buy one from your local Slackers today!