E3 Analysis: Two PS3 SKU’s
Long time readers of PS3Blog.net will know that I set up this site because I’m a fan of the PS2 and I’m looking forward to the PS3. I like Sony stuff, but I’m not exclusively commited to it (my HDTV is a Hitachi). I like the Xbox 360 but I don’t like Microsoft. Nintendo games and hardware have a place, but that place isn’t my home. Etc. You get the picture. You’ll also note that I tend to give Sony the benefit of the doubt. I just don’t like how everyone seems to have a hate-on for Sony, and I’m trying to counter that. Sometimes it seems that Sony can do nothing right, so I often stand up for Sony, trying to point out that they’re doing good work.
But when it comes to the two SKU issue, I can’t.
In case you didn’t know, Sony will have two versions of the PS3. One version will have a 20GB HDD, no WiFi, no memory card readers, no HDMI connection. The other version will have a 60GB HDD, Wifi, SD / CompactFlash / MemoryStick reader, and an HDMI port.
And I don’t like it.
Sure, you can say that WiFi is easily added as a peripheral – that’s what the 360 does. And that you can save games to the HDD. Or that most movie studios have announced that they won’t be using the Image Constraint Token (ICT), so HDMI isn’t really needed. But what about the fact that with no memory card reader, a gamer can’t transfer game saves anywhere? Why should a gamer have to buy a peripheral for that? And studios might not always release movies without the ICT – in which case using the component video outputs for HD BD movie watching isn’t a good option any more. And what about the fact that Sony denounced Microsoft’s plan to offer two SKU’s when it was announced? It’s not good form to poo-poo something, then turn around and do the same thing.
I didn’t like the idea of two Xbox 360 systems. I thought it was a bad idea at the time, and I still do. And Sony’s now doing the same thing. (That said, I think that Microsoft’s mistake of not including a HDD in all consoles is worse than Sony’s mistake of not including WiFi/HDMI/memory readers. But that’s beside the point.) Part of the whole idea behind a console that is you have one system with one configuration. Developers can count on the fact that all consoles are the same. Where’s the incentive for a developer to develop cool PSP-PS3 integration via WiFi if they know that some PS3/PSP owners can’t use the feature? Sure the HDMI port won’t give developers the same dilema, and I don’t think the lack of a memory card reader really does either. But the WiFi thing really sticks out as a big missing feature. I just hope that Sony will offer an external WiFi connector like Microsoft does for the 360. It won’t make up for the mistake, but at least it’ll give gamers an option.