Should I buy a Playstation 3

Sony Playstation 3
Sony Playstation 3

If you're still on the fence, it's time to make the leap

 Now I'm assuming if you're reading this then you've been on the fence about purchasing a Playstation 3. I was for years. I kept hearing about how great it was, friends would pick one up and play it and I was left in the cold. In 2009 I finally made the transition to High Definition 1080p television and yet was still without a next gen console and high definition movies. And just FYI the PS3 isn't just for little kids. I'm in my late twenties and love the thing to death.

The last 4 consoles that I'd purchased were all used. Used X-Box that I sold within the first year of ownership, used Gamecube, used Dreamcast (after my old one broke), and used Playstation 2 (my third actually.) I kept saying to myself "the price will drop sooner or later then you can pick one up dirt cheap like you did the last 3 systems." ($40 for the Gamecube, $30 for the Dreamcast, and $90 for the PS2 with 2 guitars and Guitar Hero 2.)

But finally I said "enough." It's time for me to upgrade from my Playstation 2 to a PS3. I went into Gamestop (about 2 weeks before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which put me with a system and no free games) and picked up a brand new Playstation 3, a few used games, and a blueray remote. I've been happy as a clam ever since.

Netflix

Netflix
Netflix | Source

Netflix Instant Streaming

Yes, you need a Netflix account to stream instantly on your PS3. They have streaming only packages starting at under $10. Yes you have to pay an extra $1 per month or so for Bluray (which reminds me to upgrade my account) and yes Netflix gets its movies later than Blockbuster and you have to wait for the new movies. Now that we've covered what all the nay-sayers have to say about Netflix let's get into why this is a must have service.

Netflix is currently working on finding additional companies who will allow them to stream movies. Currently they stream Starz movies (for the most part) and television series that have been released to DVD (similar to the Hulu Plus package.) For those of us with laptops and desktops who have tried to stream movies online we've experienced many pauses, outages, and possible distortions in the picture.

Now I'm running my Playstation 3 off the same wireless internet connection I use on my laptop (and I have HDMI hookups on my laptop so I've done the whole HDMI connection thing to watch streaming Netflix) and I have to say that the PS3 seems to be about 10 times better at online streaming than my laptop. So far the only distortion I've seen in any of the movies and shows I've watched has been within the first 5 seconds of the movie starting. As soon as it gets going the distortion goes away. So far no outages either. For whatever reason the PS3 has a better buffer than the internet browsers.

Bottom line - better streaming on the PS3 than on a computer from personal experience.

Now is it worth setting up a Netflix package? It depends on who you are and what you're looking for. I like having the old movies available to watch. Went into Blockbuster around Halloween to get a copy of Evil Dead 2. Guess what? They don't have it. Netflix on the other hand does. True some of their disks are scratched, but hey you return it and get another one. It's also a great service to watch certain movies on that you probably wouldn't have watched otherwise (Invictus is one of those for me.) 

Hulu Plus

A Hulu Plus package costs about the same as the Netflix instant streaming package and from as far as I can telll it pretty much gives you the same television shows with a few new releases thrown into the mix (like Psych.) If you want to stream Hulu shows on your PS3 this is one option for you to go with as the internet browser built into the PS3 itself is a bit of a letdown as flash content won't load (although I've heard rumors you can put Linux onto your system and have yourself a working computer.) 

Gamefly

Gamefly
Gamefly | Source

Gamefly

Gamefly is a service similar to Netflix except their sole purpose is to provide you with quality video games in the mail. They also give you the option of purchasing many of the titles from the company afer you've received your game (known as the "keep" feature.)  Thanks to the keep feature and a timely coupon I was able to pick up a copy of Army of Two 40th Day for a whopping $9 after tax. It's a great try before you buy option that costs under $20 a month for 1 game out at a time.

My understanding at the time of writing this is they receive certain games before even Blockbuster gets their hands on them (Dead Rising 2 being the one that immediately comes to mind.) Being able to try games before you actually spend $40-$70 on a title is a great option for most of us out there as it prevents us from wasting our hard earned cash on a game that just collects dust in our entertainment cabinet.

Bluray Player

If you do a quick internet search you'll find that the cheapest Bluray player that comes with built in Netflix will cost you about $100 ( I haven't confirmed yet that it comes with built in wi-fi or if you have to go and buy some additional product to make it connect to wi-fi, similar to many "wireless ready" speaker systems) so your new PS3 system is only about $200-$300 more than the cheapest of Bluray players.

So far I've only watched 3 Bluray titles in the month that I've owned the system but I must say the quality is superb. Just having the option to pick up a Bluray title is a plus in my book (especially considering the 360 backed the wrong horse in the battle of new technology, the HD-DVD.)

Playstation Store

The Playstation Store features a ton of free content available for you to download to your system as well as content for sale. If going with Gamefly doesn't seem like a feasible idea to you, you can always go grab yourself a demo copy of a game (in most cases free) before going to your local video game store to pick up a copy.

Some of the demos are short (Afro Samurai) whereas some seem to let you play for quite some time (Infamous.) Being able to test out at least a portion of a game before dropping your cash again makes this a valuable option.

Online gaming

You know that shooter or fighting game that you love so much but don't have anyone to play against? Many of the titles available for the PS3 are online enabled, meaning that you can log on and play against other Playstation owners around the globe, for free. Online gaming has been in the works for some time now (the Sega Dreamcast being the big dog of the last console generation really trying to get it off the ground, only the technology wasn't there yet) and it's finally a reality.

Wireless Controllers

I remember way back in the day when they started making wireless controllers for the SNES and Genesis. I'm sure they tried on the original NES as well, although I don't remember anyone ever buying one. The problem at the time had to do with infrared not being able to sense the controller from certain positions in the room, or the batteries dying out.

The PS3 on the other hand charges its controllers from a USB cable, much like the majority of cell phones, bluetooth headsets, and MP3 players on the market today. A single charge seems to last quite a long time considering that the system has only yelled at me once so far that my controller was about to die. 

Closing Thoughts

 There are a ton of other great features about this product, including a sync to your media on your laptop, the ability to put movies and pictures on it to share, etc. The only letdown I've had thus far was with the internet browser (IE6 with no flash) but hey I've heard you can change that if you really want to. I won't waste my time, I have a laptop to surf the web and video game systems to watch movies and play games on, but that's just me others may want to make the attempt.

Now I've yet to test out the Move so I won't be able to comment on that for awhile, although it personally isn't my cup of tea anyway so I won't be reviewing it any time soon. 

The bottom line here is if you're on the fence about making the purchase you should just dive right in and make it (granted you can afford it.) Clearly the PS3 has kept me distracted for the past month being that I'm now creating hubs about video game systems as opposed to poker tips. And if a video game system can keep the attention of someone like me then it will definitely keep the attention of someone who is just dying to have one.

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