Home State: New York
Currently Residing In: Utah
Birthday: October 13th, 1985 (I'll always secretly consider the NES to have been a week-late birthday present to me from Nintendo.)
I'm a Mass Communication/Journalism graduate from the University of Utah, which I'm starting to question, since it was a tough field to get into even before the economy went down the toilet. I love writing; Not only do I consider it my passion, but I also believe it's an invaluable skill for this socially-connected age in which we live. Writing about video games brings me more joy than I can even describe in words, which is saying a lot, considering.
As far as video games go, I've been a gamer since I was two-and-a-half. I try to play whatever interests me, despite what other people think of those games. I suppose I consider myself to be "obsessed" with gaming, but not in the sense that all I want to do is beat games. I'm fascinated with the industry as a whole, and in some way, shape or form, I'd love to be a part of it professionally someday.
Metal Gear Solid Series (PS1, PS2, & PS3)
Fatal Frame Series (PS2, Xbox, Wii)
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES (PS2)
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (PS2)
Metroid Prime Trilogy (Wii)
Dead Space (PS3, Xbox 360)
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)
Anything Zelda-Related (Various Nintendo Platforms)
My most prized gaming-related possession: A factory-sealed copy of the original Famicom Disk System Zeruda no Densetsu (The Legend of Zelda).
Mario and I were tight back in the day, yo.
I've had a few articles promoted on the front page... Check them out if you want. (Thanks, Hamza! :D)
It looks like a VCR that will blind you if you look at it too long.
It forces you to pay for a Kinect, something nobody wanted in the first place.
It requires an Internet connection to register a game to your account and start it up. In other words, all the bullshit DRM PC gamers have had to deal with for years, now in console form. (One of the reasons I still play on consoles is because I'm not letting anyone tell me when I can and cannot play my games, so this one alone kills any chance of me buying the system.)
Used games require you to pay Microsoft a fee to play them on a different account than the original one. (This is unacceptable, especially since Microsoft is getting the money for other companies' work.)
Microsoft is obviously more interested in TV interaction than gaming.
So, what do I think of the Xbox One? It's quite simple, actually:
I have a confession to make: As much as I love new technology, I couldn't give any less of a crap about having the latest smartphone. This Blackberry knockoff is the phone I've had for the last five years, and I love it. I don't want anything with a touchscreen, and if I want to play a handheld game, I'll pick up my 3DS. But I've always been intrigued by Android. It's the mobile OS that's been sweeping the industry (and as something that's mostly controlled by Google, it's no surprise), and it intrigues me because of how open of a platform it is. You can seemingly do anything with it, and by rooting an Android device -- hacking it to access the really deep system files -- the possibilities are limitless.
When I heard about the Ouya, the dirt-cheap console that runs Android, I was skeptical. Mobile games were mobile for a reason: Because they couldn't really compete with actual gaming console games. But recently, Android tablets have been getting more and more powerful, and there are some really impressive games available for the platform. The Ouya has been branded by some as a "tablet without a screen," and this suits me just fine -- I'd much rather play my games with buttons that actually exist rather than the virtual equivalents. After sitting down and doing some research, I've gone from skeptical to wanting to preorder an Ouya almost right away, because I believe it's poised to truly become the first 100% open gaming platform we've ever had.
You see that? That's the inside of the Ouya, pulled out of its shell by the guys at Penny Arcade. It's not much to look at, but that's not the reason I'm showing it to you; I want you to see it simply because it's out of it's casing. This is because the Ouya will be held together by simple Phillips head screws, because, according to Ouya creator Julie Uhrman, the console is meant to be cracked wide open on both the software and hardware levels. The company WANTS their customers to get to know their hardware inside and out, and if you want to make any hardware modifications, you're welcome to do so. Seriously, name a single gaming machine other than the Ouya that actually ENCOURAGES hacking the hardware.
Speaking of hardware, the ability to use almost any peripheral out of the box is pretty enticing. The system comes with a controller, but, like regular consoles, controllers will be $50 apiece when they're released separately. It seems like a shame to not be able to use what you already ha-- WAIT. That's right, the PS3's DualShock 3/Sixaxis controllers and even the Xbox 360's wired controller actually work with the Ouya right out of the box. I'm honestly not too surprised about the PS3 controllers working, as pretty much every PC OS has had access to custom drivers for the controllers for years already. (And yes, the PS3's controllers will work with the Ouya both wirelessly and wired.) But the 360's controllers being compatible is nothing short of black magic. Microsoft did everything in its power to take something universal (it IS USB, after all) and lock it down to only work with Windows and the 360 itself, but the Ouya doesn't see this as a problem. Plug the 360 controller in and go to town. Seeing as how this is the controller of choice for most gamers nowadays, the decision to make this work is probably going to be the favorite feature of most customers.
Hardware aside, the biggest draw of the Ouya is its Android operating system. It really turned heads when it was announced that a mobile OS would be used in a plug-it-into-your-TV gaming machine, but I think this was a fantastic idea. I'm going to make a claim here that I don't think many people will like: I don't think the PC is a totally open platform. Sure, you can tweak a ton of stuff and hack to your heart's content, but go find a company that programs for the PC that actually approves of those actions. You think Valve wants people cracking their games, so they can run without the Steam client (you know, the way it SHOULD be)? You think Adobe wants you to get around their online license validation requirements? Hell, even Windows itself requires registration, or it locks itself down, becoming practically useless. People can tell me the PC is an open platform until they're blue in the face, but the consumer/corporation relationship is anything but. With the Ouya, this isn't an issue.
Rooting an Android device isn't hard, but the process varies from device to device. The problem with rooting is that when you do it, you immediately void your device's warranty. Uhrman has actually confirmed that not only will rooting the Ouya NOT void your warranty, but rooting instructions will actually given to the public BY the company itself. The Ouya company is actually ENCOURAGING us to hack the hell out of their system. You want to install apps unavailable in the Ouya store? Plug the system into your PC with the included data cable and sideload as many as you'd like.
That is the single coolest thing I've ever heard in my life.
If you've ever read ANYTHING I've typed on Destructoid, then you're probably aware of how much I hate DRM and being locked down. The Ouya is going to spit in the face of companies that decide consumers shouldn't have any freedom. We're going to be given complete and total control over what we're buying, and we don't have to tiptoe around the hardware manufacturer to do it. This system is going to be the first truly, completely, 100% open platform we've ever been given. The Ouya is going to be literally whatever we want it to be.
While the Ouya isn't going to be anywhere near as powerful as the Wii U, next Xbox and PS4, it isn't going to be a slouch in terms of graphics. nVidia is providing the Ouya with its Tegra 3 graphics processor, which can make even mobile games look amazing. Some games that have been tested on the Ouya are Sonic 4 Episode 2,Dead Trigger and Rayman Jungle Run, and they all look great. For a $99 console, I have absolutely no complaints, and I expect the graphics to improve as the console ages, the way it's supposed to be. With games like Shadowgun confirmed for the Ouya, and, in theory, everything from TegraZone being compatible, the future is looking good.
The attitude of the company making the Ouya, combined with how absolutely unrestricted EVERYTHING about the system is, makes me froth at the mouth to have one. The price is right, the functionality is already there, and the future holds limitless possibilities. The PS4 it ain't, but I honestly don't think it needs to be. June can't get here soon enough.
So, Sony's big PS4 blowout is finally finished, and I've got to say, I've never really felt more lukewarm toward a console release in my life. I don't know if I'm just losing interesting in gaming in general, or if it's the fact that if it's not a Nintendo announcement, then it's usually boring, but I just couldn't get into it. To me, the PS4 seems like literally nothing more than a more powerful PS3, which would usually be fine, but... Why would I want to get something that doesn't do anything new? If graphical power is the only thing to really look forward to, then I honestly couldn't care less. Hell, my favorite console of this past generation (and one of my favorites of all time) was the Wii, so that should tell you how much I really care about photorealism.
The main reason I'm not interested in the PS4 is because of how much the system is going to rely on having a high-speed Internet connection. I have a pretty good connection, but I don't exactly have unlimited bandwidth. Seeing as how ALL backwards compatibility is going to be streamed through the cloud, I've already put that on my list of PS4 features I would literally never use. The problem goes beyond bandwidth, too -- What about the people who can't even get decent Internet connections? Look at the comments in this story. Bandwidth issues, living in countries that don't get good Internet connections, and simply wanting to own the games you purchase -- These are all the same things that I complain about when I hear about 90% of games on the PC. You simply CANNOT go back and play games from the past when something is done in this way, and most of the time, it prevents you from being able to play current games, too. In a sense, I'm almost happy this is seeing the light of day, because maybe people will get angry enough that these horrible restrictions will be done away with even on other platforms. On top of that, just like the DRM that digital content currently has, I'd be willing to bet actual money that these games will all be tied to one account.
Another thing that made me cringe (although, I suppose if it's all optional, then it's not necessarily bad) is how social network-oriented the PS4 is going to be. Hell, the controller even has a "Share" button. I can safely say, without a doubt in my mind, that I don't give two shits whether or not my Facebook friends know what I'm playing every second of the day. Half the time I play my PS3, I'm not even logged into the PlayStation Network as it is. NO ONE CARES what you're playing during the wee hours of the morning. Seriously, no one does. I can't even imagine how many awesome features could have been added to the PS4 if this social networking bull wasn't the main focus of the system. Simple functionality is fine, but wow, Sony is going overboard a bit here. Amazon has even called the PS4 (on Facebook, of all places) the "first social gaming network with meaning." Funny, because I don't see any meaning here.
Anyway, that's my obligatory PS4 post. While the PS4 does indeed seem like the natural evolution of the PS3, I'm perfectly fine with what we already have, and I don't think even half the extras the PS4 will offer will be worth the price of admission. Not only that, but there are far too many restrictions in place here, and since we haven't actually SEEN the console yet, we don't know how much it'll even use physical media or if it'll be mostly digital, which wouldn't surprise me at all at this point. I guess we'll see what the future holds, but I know for a fact that I won't be picking the PS4 up for a long while.
The Wii U marked the beginning of a new console generation of video games, with Microsoft and Sony's offerings soon to follow. This past generation gave us some great games, but it left kind of a bad taste in my mouth concerning what the future holds. And now, for the first time, I find myself lost when trying to figure out what platform I'll be playing most of my games on in the coming years.
There are lot of things to consider: First, there's cost. The Wii U is quite affordable, and I know I'll have one in the future. I have a 3DS XL, so that's taken care of. If the rumored price points of the PS4 are to be believed, though, then we can safely assume that at least Sony hasn't learned its lesson. I'm not dropping over $400 on a console that won't have any games for the first year of its life. I only work part-time, and I've been looking for something full-time for quite a while now, with no luck. I love video games, but I need to have my priorities straight.
Second, there's DRM. I'm not primarily a PC gamer, and that's because I refuse to ask permission to play what I paid for. I avoid all forms of DRM, including Steam, and most of my gaming is done through GOG.com and straight from Indie developers' sites. This unacceptable, broken system of "slowing piracy down" (i.e., something that will never happen) may leak onto consoles in the very near future; If this happens, IF I continue to play video games at all, I'll probably move almost exclusively to the PC. The reason for this is simple: DRM can be cracked on the PC, and it can't be cracked on consoles. What's more is that cracking the DRM out of games you've purchased is actually legal in the United States. I still don't do it often, because I don't want to support any developers/publishers that are willing to shove that shit down our throats, but if push comes to shove, I'll bend over and take it, as long as I can get rid of it. So far, we haven't heard anything confirming that the PS4 will lock anything down, but we'll have to see where it goes, since it's still a few months off.
Third, there's backwards compatibility, or, the lack of. It's already been said that the PS4 will be switching to cloud-based services for PS3 gameplay, and I'm assuming the PS1 and PS2 functionality will work the same way. I have no idea what Microsoft is going to do -- All I know is that the 360 ended up having the backwards compatibility updates halted, and there are still games that won't play. Once again, Nintendo is the only one that did backwards compatibility correctly (at least as far as retail discs go), and I will never have to worry about playing my Wii games on the Wii U. The 3DS is also backwards compatible with DS games, and there are a ton to choose from. The PS4 will be a hugely Cloud-based console, which is kind of a turn-off for me; I like having all my stuff available locally, and I like being able to just take my games to a friend's house. Yes, I still physically leave my house and play games with friends.
Fourth, and one of the most important considerations, is what I'll be charged for. I love the 360, and it's the system I've spent the most time on in recent memory. But I will NOT pay to play my games online. EVERY OTHER PLATFORM is free, and the experiences are either equal to (PS3) or better than (PC) the 360's online service. The thing that burns me up here is that Sony gave us free online gameplay for years, and now it's being rumored that they'll start charging, as if to say, "Hey, we figured out that we can get money for this, so pay up." Charging and then going free is one thing, but doing the opposite is the stupidest thing a company like Sony could possibly do, and there's no way I'm buying into that. I'm surprised it hasn't been announced during Sony's conference today, but I've heard from quite a few places that charging will happen, so I'm kind of half expecting Sony to announce it quietly later on, hoping that no one will notice for a while.
Fifth is the requirement of a good online connection. There have been games I haven't even been able to load my saves from at a friend's house, because I didn't have a connection to restore my profile from. Imagine this being the case with full games, not being able to play anything you buy without being online. I won't support that at all. Not only that, but I don't exactly have unlimited bandwidth, so that cool streaming thing that the PS4 is going to have actually doesn't really do me a whole lot of good, since I wouldn't be buying digitally very often. It seems like the PS4 is going to largely be a social networking console, and that's something I don't really care for. I like having everything local, on a USB hard drive or something.
After typing this all out, it's pretty clear to me that this is turning into an almost strictly Nintendo generation for me, and even so, I don't know how much I'm going to enjoy it. The glory days of the Dreamcast/PS2/GameCube/Xbox are over, and we've been sucked into a world of day-one updates, used game hatred, and the transition of video games as products to a service, and I don't like it one bit. Call me an old fogey (and, at this point, I'll probably proudly agree with you), but I really don't like the way this generation went, and I can't see it getting much better in the future. Pessimistic, yes, but this may be a good thing -- Now, all these companies have a chance to change my mind and impress me. And when I'm impressed, I'm willing to buy what they're offering. I like the PS4 so far, but it's not really "wowing" me like I hoped it would. Once we see what the next Xbox is like, I'll have everything I need to figure stuff out; Let's hope it works just as well as the 360 does (with, hopefully, free online gameplay).
I want to go on the record here and say that I absolutely LOVE horror. I never used to; It was the movie, Signs, of all things, that got me hooked on the genre. The Resident Evil series was my first foray into the world of horror in gaming, and I could never get enough. I recently played through the Silent Hill games, Fatal Frame is a personal favorite, and just hearing the name Amnesia gets my heart racing. But none of these series are closer to my heart than Dead Space.
I first played the original Dead Space the day it came out, after taking a chance and preordering a game that started a brand-new IP. I immediately fell in love with it, and it was one of the few games that I immediately started playing again as soon as I had finished it the first time. The dark corridors, the superb lighting, the constant whispering throughout the entire game... All of these things have stuck with me since the day I finished it, and I still think that the first game in the series is one of the finest I've ever played on any platform. With the release of Dead Space 2 and, more recently, Dead Space 3, it's not hard to tell that the games have collectively become a much faster-paced experience as the series moved forward. A lot of people think this is a bad thing, and EA even addressed it as a "necessary evil," because the original Dead Space was a masterpiece of horror excellence. While I do miss the scary moments from that first entry (and quite a few unnerving moments in the second), I believe the action-oriented gameplay the series has switched over to is a natural evolution that should, at least, to a point, be embraced, and it's all thanks to its brilliant main character, Isaac Clarke.
Isaac isn't your typical shooting game hero. In fact, he didn't start out as a hero at all -- He was an engineer. The entire reason he was even on the USG Ishimura in the first game was to fix some machinery, and he just happened to get caught up in the hell that the Marker created for everyone on board. He was often scared, as you could tell from his breathing and his own journal entries, and the weapon he was using wasn't a weapon at all, but a simple plasma cutter normally used for repairs. He had to rely on other peoples' experiences to figure out how to even effectively hurt the Necromorphs. In layman's terms, he was bumbling. He had NO IDEA how to handle the situation. He hadn't signed up for what he was going through.
Fast foward to Dead Space 2. Isaac is awakened on a ship that he had never even heard of, and one that is currently experiencing the same outbreak of Necromorphs that he had dealt with on the Ishimura. He may be a bit confused, and there may be a ton of unanswered questions, but he knows how to react: He runs. He even gets noticeably excited when he finds another plasma cutter to dismember his enemies with. He seems more confident than he did in the first game, as if his instincts are driving his actions.
Dead Space 3. Isaac has shotguns and rocket launchers. He's not insane anymore, he's got a grip on the situation, and he blows EVERYTHING to hell without flinching. He knows his enemy like the back of his hand.
Notice a certain similarity to something else here? No? Let me write it out in a different way:
You're not a typical shooting game hero. In fact, you didn't start out as a hero at all -- You were an engineer. The entire reason you were even on the USG Ishimura in the first game was to fix some machinery, and you just happened to get caught up in the hell that the Marker created for everyone on board. You were often scared, as you could tell from your own breathing, and the weapon you were using wasn't a weapon at all, but a simple plasma cutter normally used for repairs. You had to rely on other peoples' experiences to figure out how to even effectively hurt the Necromorphs. In layman's terms, you were bumbling. You had NO IDEA how to handle the situation. You hadn't signed up for what you were going through.
Fast foward to Dead Space 2. You're awakened on a ship that you had never even heard of, and one that is currently experiencing the same outbreak of Necromorphs that you had dealt with on the Ishimura. You may be a bit confused, and there may be a ton of unanswered questions, but you know how to react: You run. You even get noticeably excited when you find another plasma cutter to dismember your enemies with. You seems more confident than you did in the first game, as if your instincts are driving your actions.
Dead Space 3. You have shotguns and rocket launchers. You're not insane anymore, you've got a grip on the situation, and you blow EVERYTHING to hell without flinching. You know your enemy like the back of your hand.
See where I'm going with this?
Horror games are unique because you actually BECOME the character. It isn't like you're playing AS a character -- like Mario, for example -- and you're just trying to get that character to the end of the game. When something scares you, you feel it on a personal level. When all hell started to break loose in the first Dead Space, Isaac's animations showed how taken aback he was, his breathing became heavier, and he was obviously unsure of himself. He was scared.
YOU were scared. Because you WERE Isaac.
As the series progressed, the elements of horror started to become more and more rare. This isn't because the games were getting worse, or because Visceral had lost its vision for the series; It was because Isaac was growing, and you along with him. He knew what to expect and what to watch out for. He knew what could potentially be around the corner, waiting to take his head off, and, most importantly, he knew how to take care of those threats. And you knew these very same things. As Isaac (the character) started to become so much more brave and sure of himself, so did you (the player).
Isaac knew his enemy. YOU knew YOUR enemy. The Necromorphs didn't drastically change from game to game, and that's a key factor. In the first game, you had to rely on audio logs and messages written on walls (in blood, no less) to tell you how to kill those Necromorphs. Did that same thing happen in the second game? How about the third? No, it didn't, because the enemies were the same. You and Isaac had been through this before. You and Isaac knew what to do. Your experiences and battle scars were all you needed.
Cut off their limbs. Dismember them. Cripple them. Like a mantra that can never be forgotten, it was something you had learned in the darkness of the Ishimura's chambers, seared into your brain for the rest of your life. The gap between games didn't do a thing to slow you down. You were on top of things. You were sweating like crazy when these unknown aliens were first trying to kill you, but when you had to fight for your life, it became clear that you were more than capable of surviving. You had gone through hell and lived to tell the tale, and now you had a job to finish.
You were no longer an engineer. You were a soldier.
You and Isaac always fought the same enemy, but in different places. This experience that was repeated over and over was what made the games less scary as the series progressed. It's all a matter of familiarity. The enemies didn't change, so you had no reason to relearn everything you had already experienced. And I think that's a good thing; So many series nowadays try to drastically change from game to game that they don't even feel like they belong together. While Dead Space 3 had an atmosphere that may not have felt anything like the first game, you knew it was a part of the same series simply because of the enemies. You knew how they looked, how they moved, how they sounded, and how they died, like clockwork. Three games worth, and it was second nature. Sure, the scare factor may have dissolved after all that time, but that's only because there's so much more to them than wetting yourself while playing. The sense of familiarity and the knowledge that you possessed by the time you got to the third game are key elements of the entire franchise, and the quality of the games never wavered.
EA called Dead Space 3's progression into the action genre a "necessary evil," but I think Visceral did a fantastic job making it work. Dead Space is a phenomenal series not just because of the original scare factor, but because of how close to Isaac you end up feeling in the end. You truly sympathized with who I consider to be one of the most human characters in all of gaming. Through the ups and downs, you and Isaac Clarke were one and the same, growing together step by step. And in the end, horror wasn't the reason to come back to the series time and time again -- You came back to lose yourself in the world that was so familiar to you, yet from which you could never manage to pull yourself away. it was to hone your senses and sharpen your skills. You came back to become one with Isaac, to experience the rest of his -- your -- story. You came back to kick Necromorph ass. And scary or not, it's been one of the best rides in gaming I've ever taken.
When multiple new consoles are released in the same general window of time, people can't help but make comparisons. Hell, people compare consoles to other consoles even if there are YEARS between launches. With the recent buzz about the rumored PS4 features being leaked online, and the realization by so many gamers that Xbox LIVE is nothing worth paying for anymore, I wanted to compare the 360 and the PS3 one more time, and list a couple things that I hope the PS4 brings to the table, so Sony can win me over once again.
I'm not going to go into stuff like game libraries and which exclusives are better; I'm not about to tell people what their opinions should be. What I want to compare is what the consoles themselves offer that people may be taking for granted without even realizing it. After thinking about all these features for a while, I've decided that I've NEVER been torn between two gaming platforms this much ever since I started playing games 25 years ago.
I want to get this one out of the way, since it's been a pretty hot topic lately. While Xbox LIVE Gold offers what I've seen to be a much more stable experience, the PlayStation Network is just fine, and I've had no major problems in recent memory. The main difference between the two, as I'm sure we're all aware by now, is that the PSN is free, while LIVE is not. The choice is clear here: Xbox LIVE Gold is an absolute joke. Literally EVERYTHING that LIVE offers can be found for free on the PS3, PCs, and even the Wii and Wii U at this point. Microsoft is the only company left that charges for anything, going so far as to charge even for Facebook and Twitter for a while, and I think people are finally starting to realize this. Between all the free stuff on the PSN and the growing library of full, retail games PlayStation Plus members have available to them, there seems to be absolutely no reason to play online games on the 360 anymore. I love the Xbox, but there's no way I'm going to pay Microsoft to do what I can do for free on literally every other gaming platform on the market.
Gaming isn't a cheap hobby. At $60 per game in the U.S., most people want to be sure that they're going to like what they pay for, lest they waste their money and feel pissed off for a week. While Xbox LIVE seemingly offers more demos than the PSN does (literally every single Xbox LIVE Arcade game has a trial version), full-sized retail games are a completely different story. See, while demos for a lot of games do become available through LIVE, Gold subscribers get them first, while people with free accounts have to wait a week or two before they gain access to the same demos. I can understand wanting to treat paying customers with a bit of extra respect, since they're shelling out for early content, but the problem with this idea is that the demos released through LIVE are, in fact, NOT demos that are released early -- The same demos are released on the PSN the same day, and EVERYONE who has Internet access through the PS3 has immediate access to these demos. Xbox LIVE doesn't offer early access to demos -- It is actually RESTRICTING access to everyone Microsoft doesn't deem important enough to play them! This, in my opinion, is the most unacceptable "feature" of LIVE today, and as far as I'm concerned, it's borderline false advertising.
Most people might not immediately think of the operating system when deciding which console to play most of their games on. Even more rare is the gamer who sees the operating system as something deeper than just the aesthetics of the main menu, where games are selected and videos are watched. That latter point is what makes me continue to buy my multiplatform games on the 360 over the PS3 for one simple reason: The PS3's operating system is a piece of crap. As far as aesthetics go, I really do think the PS3's XMB is much nicer than the 360's Metro layout, although I think the Metro look is a hell of a lot better than the NXE. But the XMB is just so fast, so smooth and so customizable that I always have a pleasant experience with it. I also find it hilarious that there are virtually no ads on the PS3, while even paying Xbox LIVE customers are assaulted with them from every direction in Metro. But that's where the XMB superiority stops.
The easiest way to tell that the PS3's OS doesn't hold a candle to the 360's is by messing around with data management. You want to take all your 360 saves to a friend's house? Maybe bring your profile along, too, because your friend just moved, and he/she doesn't have Internet access just yet? Pop a USB drive into the system, copy all your stuff and have a great time. You want to do all this on the PS3? Well, first of all, PSN IDs can't be transferred to an external drive, meaning if you want to get your profile on a different system, you HAVE TO have Internet access. Why does this matter? Because most PS3 save data is profile-specific. While this is also the case on the 360 (in fact, ALL save data on the 360 is specific to one profile), you can take your Gamertag with you on an external drive, so the Internet is never needed. No recovering, no signing in, no downloading. Everything can be put into your pocket. And don't even get me started on saves that are actually locked to a single hard drive on the PS3, so if your console dies, you lose all your hard work -- I'm looking at YOU, Demon's Souls.
Another horrible aspect is hard drive use, which is, once again, directly effected by the consoles' respective OSs. If you want to move a 360 hard drive, you simply unplug it, and re-plug it into another console. Boom, the new console acts just like the old one. While PS3 hard drives aren't proprietary, like they are on the 360, a hard drive MUST be formatted before using it on another console. That means you are required to back everything up manually, and, thanks to those locked saves, not even the Backup Utility will be able to transfer some data to different consoles. In other words, you'd better hope your console never dies, and you sure as hell had never want to upgrade to a newer model. And no, paying for PS+ just to back saves up that can't be backed up locally isn't a solution.
Remember this giant piece of crap?
If you're a PS3 owner, you're no stranger to game installations. As much as I love Blu-ray discs (seriously, you can try to destroy them all you want, but good luck), their read speeds are incredibly slow compared to DVDs, so most PS3 games require an installation, just so you won't be seeing more loading screens than gameplay. That's fair, but 360 games running straight from the DVDs themselves still have shorter loading times. On top of that, EVERY SINGLE 360 game can optionally be installed in its entirety to either the internal hard drive or an external USB drive, meaning entire installations can actually be taken with you to other consoles. This also makes the DVD stay completely still while playing a game, increasing the longevity of your disc drive, since the system now requires nothing more than an initial disc check. DVDs may be much more delicate than Blu-ray discs, but they certainly are a lot faster, since there's a lot less for a machine to read.
So, there you go. It seems like both systems both have very valid positives and negatives to consider, but whichever one you want to play, you know you're getting a quality machine (unless you have an original model 360, which may betray you). Now, what was the point of this whole post? Well, two things.
First, comparing consoles at launch and comparing them after they've been available to the public for a few years will yield very different results. The two systems have gone through a ton of different changes over the years, and I think it's a good idea to really look into everything they offer now that they're so well established.
Second, it seems like the PS4 is going to take a page from Microsoft's playbook as far as OS functionality goes. Reportedly, you'll be able to log into more than one profile per console, and possibly even move your profiles around, like the 360 has allowed all of us to do from day one. This makes me really happy, because if this is indeed the case, I might actually consider ditching the 360, unless Microsoft hurries up and makes Xbox LIVE Gold free for us all, or at least the online play part of it. If Sony finally realizes what makes the 360 so great, and they incorporate those features into the PS4, the choice between the two companies' new machines will be a very easy one to make.
Unless, of course, neither system lets us play used games, or starts to shove the DRM that has plagued PC games for years down our throats. We'll cross that bridge when the time comes.