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Is the era of the X-Box over already, almost before it began? Premature ejaculation of fanboy glee, a beautiful moment but over in a flash, with nothing but a mess and disappointed people left in its wake?

A little look at what the experts say on the subject certainly tells us so. An article on Joystiq's PS3 Fanboy gives 10 reasons why the PS3 is back in the swing of things.

EGM and EDGE have both within the last four months run cover stories on the return of the PS3 -- titled "The Empire Strikes Back" and "The Revenge of the PS3″ (which if nothing else, tells us that The Force Unleashed is going to have good sales) and some analysts have predicted that the PS3 will do at least as well as the 360 this year, and some have gone so far as to say that it's going to edge out the unstoppable Wii by 2011.

In terms of general PR too the PS3 has been doing great, with the Human Genome Project and then the USAF taking a cartload of PS3s definitely counting towards publicity. Without even considering the Wii then, in terms of general publicity, the image of the PS3 has never been better, while MS is has to deal with issues like the RRoD, which just looks plain silly. And lets not forget the other issues with the hardware too, from misaligned drives to lens issues.

If that doesn't look ugly enough then you've also got to consider that Blu-Ray has officially won the next-gen DVD war. That is a closed argument, and there's no coming back from it. Don't get me wrong. It was unlikely that MS would have ever made games on HD-DVD. It would instantly cut off sales to people who didn't have the drive, and if you're going to force people to buy the drive just to play the game, then you'd better be damn sure that the game is a seller.

Aside form that of course, the PS3 fanboys can clap their hands together with unholy glee - they're getting MGS4, Killzone 2 and LittleBigPlanet in a short while now, and even more. Don't get me wrong - the 360 is getting some loving too, and nothing makes me drool more than the thought of Gears of War 2. But aside from the upcoming games, if we look at the NPD figures then we also learn that the PS3 is now selling more units than the XBox 360.

This might have something to the fact that it's become a lot cheaper to own one.

But even so, Sony is going to have to make the most of all the chances it gets. Sure, Blu-Ray would have given it a fillip - in PR terms. In actual terms though - hands up everyone who chose his console based on the kind of high def movies you'll watch? According to an article on Joystiq, in January-February, when Warner Bros. effectively ended the format war, the PS3's sales only went up by 4 per cent, while the 360's sales went up by 11 percent. Though admittedly, if the Blu-Ray format gains in popularity it could help the PS3 in the short term - until standalone players become cheap. And they will, beyond a doubt, once the format itself is widespread.

For a console though, the real measure is the titles it gives us. By now I've come to prefer my PS3 (I still think that the SIXAXIS is too light and a little small too, but I'm getting used to it) but I still use it primarily for the media functions. Outside the core competence zone - games - I really like the PS3. But most of the games I love are still on my 360, and after I've watched a few movies, listened to some music, I usually switch off the PS3 and start my 360. It's a little bit like the PSP was in that sense - "it really really does play games! Honest! I just can't name too many!"

But there's a lot of love coming in the PS3's direction, and if Halo 3 sold a lot of XBoxes, then surely MGS will also? But... remember Gears of War? It sold more than MGS3 and Killzone combined. MGS is a great series, and an amazing set of games, but the fanbase isn't as spread out as the Halo community, because the online experience is what creates communities now. It could be the game which makes the PS3, and I for one will cheer if the game is Sony's killer app since I've been an off and on fan of the series for a while now.

But the MS stable has Gears of War 2 coming in (drool) and Fable 2 (doggie!) and Too Human (too right!) and if any of the PS3 big name titles go like Lair, then... Even more tragic would be if we see a repeat of what happened with Uncharted, which is still getting a lot of runtime here on my machine.

So while people are definitely calling this the Year of the PS3 I probably would reserve comment. There's a lot of ifs and buts out there and it's hard to say which way this will go. Personally I hope that they get neck and neck and stay there. That way, me - the gamer - gets more choice, and probably lower prices too, and both would be very welcome. And as far as one set of games or the other holding a "killer app"?

I sure hope so, because it's a little depressing that the most fun I've had gaming for a while now was Patapon, because I'd like to have some fun on the big screen now.

The year of the PS3?


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