Top 10 Failures of The PS3

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This is the Top Ten Failures of the Playstation 3

Haze was a highly anticipated first person shooter released in 2008 for the Playstation 3. Haze was originally touted as the Playstation’s answer to the XBox 360’s “Halo 3” in that it was expected to be a massively popular online first person shooter. Developer Free Radical, who at the time was also working on the eventually cancelled Star Wars Battlefront 3, delayed the game’s release several times, casting doubt over the potential quality of the final product. After initial release, the game turned out to a mediocre at best, and certainly no Halo killer. Critics and fans alike lambasted almost everything about the game, including the terrible AI, poor visuals, short single-player campaign, weak gameplay, lack of innovation, glitches, poorly written characters, ah, the list goes on. This game truly was a disaster, and marked a huge misstep for the PS3 while the system was still trying to recover from a lackluster launch. When the Playstation 3 originally shipped, there were two models made available, both of which supported full backward compatibility with Playstation 1 and 2 games.

Haze - PS3

However, subsequent releases began slowly removing Playstation 2 compatibility, first when the later released 80 GB model only played some PS2 games, while others would underperform or not work at all. Finally this feature was entirely removed when the Slim model was released in 2009. Initially touting a feature and then later removing it angered many fans, however gamers somewhat forgave Sony for this due to the Slim being much more affordable than the initial PS3, as well as the fact that the console now had a steady stream of quality exclusives being released. When the Playstation 3 launched in 2006, both offered models were markedly more expensive than its two competitor, the Wii and the Xbox 360. At a whopping $500 and $600 for the 20 and 60 GB models, respectively, this was at least DOUBLE the launch price of the Wii, and $200 higher than comparable Xbox models.

In fact, a chief Xbox executive revealed in a 2016 interview with IGN that Microsoft was shocked and downright gleeful to learn just how huge of a price advantage that they had over Sony when pricing was announced. It is well noted that the PS3 had a troubled launch, and this pricing disparity certainly could be seen by many as one of the chief culprits. Even though the current generation of Microsoft and Sony consoles have comparable online gaming experiences, 10 years ago it was a different story. Sony’s Playstation Network, while continually improving on the PS3, never caught up with the 360’s in terms of quality and functionality. Its primary selling point always being that it was free, PSN was less of a comprehensive online service and more of a loose connection between each games’ individual online functionality.

Lacking certain features across the board, such as the ability to mute players, leaderboards, game invites, and moderation of online play, the quality of each game’s online play rest entirely within its own bubble. This led to multiplayer functionality being inconsistent from title to title. And there was really not an overarching comprehensive thing that held them together. For a console that prided itself in being the top of the line in many respects, the PS3’s online service certainly left a lot to be desired, to say the least. I’m going to skip the debate over which controller has the better design and simply point out the numerous flaws of the PS3 controller. For starters, the L2 and R2 buttons were very loose, spongy, and slippery, making them awkward to use and a definite downgrade from even the Playstation 2’s controller. It also initially removed vibration functionality, but this was soon re-added in later iterations. Finally, Sixaxis tilt functionality, PS3’s tacked on version of “motion controls” was awkward and imprecise to say the least.

It sucked that many first party PS3 games needed to shoehorn functionality of this “feature” for years to come. Despite all these shortcomings, I’m thankful, Sony did not end up going with the original design of the so called “boomerang” controller, even if it did look strangely cool. When the Playstation 3 was released, it had exactly 1 notable title at launch, Resistance: Fall of Man. While a good game in its own right, many did not see this single title as justification for buying the expensive and still unproven console. Many early exclusives, such as Motorstorm and Warhawk ended up just being “good” and not really the system sellers that Sony was hoping for. Many exclusives also had delayed releases, such as Killzone 2 and Haze. It took over 2 years after the console’s release until the system actually had a decent library of exclusive games to play.

This slow burn could have spelled disaster for a company not as financially robust as Sony. The Playstation 3’s Cell processor was well noted by developers to be extremely difficult to program for. Despite the fact that it was very powerful for its time, this advantage was minimized because its complexity made it difficulty to utilize. For less well-equipped developers, this made games created with the Xbox or PC in mind very hard to optimize on the PS3. This lead to many multi-platform titles suffering from worse graphics, framerate drops and other poor optimization issues on the PS3 versus their counterparts on the Xbox 360.

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A previous entry in this list noted the PS3’s lackluster online gaming service. This issue is related to that, but I thought it deserved its own spot on the list due to the profound negative effect it has on the PS3’s online experience. Being unable to voice chat with friends playing other games made setting up games with friends a huge chore. This made drastic measures such as actually calling your friends who you want to game with, or using the PS3’s built in archaic text messaging system as your only way to communicate with other gamers who were not playing the exact same game you were playing. They also needed to be in the exact same party, playing the exact same map and the exact same game. that you were playing in order to actually talk to you. So they already had to be playing the game that you wanted them to play with you in order for you to set up a game with them. So essentially trying to set up a game with anyone you weren’t already playing with was a gigantic pain in the ass Frustrating. One of the Xbox 360’s biggest initial so-called shortcomings may have turned out to be a good thing in the long run.

Not all 360’s were sold with an on-board hard drive. This forced developers to minimize update sizes, and to make all gaming installs optional, not mandatory. So how this affected the Playstation 3, since all PS3s had hard drives Many games for the PS3 however, shipped with mandatory installs. The suspected reason for this was because it allowed lazy developers to spend less time optimizing their games for the PS3. Many PS3 games also had regular updates that took up hundreds of megabytes or even gigabytes of storage space, due to paid DLC often being included in regular updates, and then unlocked via a code if it was bought. Both of these practices quickly cramped the hard drives of people who bought early PS3 consoles with smaller disk drives. Playstation Home was a failed experiment by Sony that lasted far too long. Launched in 2008 and initially marketed as a “virtual social network”, Home eventually morphed into a sort of clunky interface for accessing online games.

Home remained in its beta phase for almost SEVEN YEARS until its closure in 2015. Though modestly successful, the service was clunky, had crazy long loading times between areas, was overtly commercialized and did not deliver adequately on what many expected from it. Sony also had missteps, including numerous glitches and bugs, extremely frequent downtime due to maintenance, removal of several popular areas, and over-emphasis on micro-transactions. Despite being profitable enough to not qualify as a loss, and having over 40 million total registered accounts, Sony pulled the plug after realizing that Home would never catch fire like they had initially envisioned. They were wasting resources that could be better allocated on more profitable ventures.

The architect behind the initial launch of the service, Oscar Clark, argued that Home’s ultimate failure was that Sony would not go all-in on the venture, treating it as an afterthought rather than something central to the Playstation experience. Either way, Playstation Home was over hyped and underdelivered and now, it’s gone. Thanks for reading. Let us know what you think about the PS3 in the comments!.

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