Sony’s PlayStation 3, or PS3, muscles its way to the top of our list of the Best of the Best Video Game Systems by virtue of its advanced hardware making it the most sophisticated and complete entertainment device you can buy. The PS3 entered the market to a lukewarm reception at about the same time as Nintendo’s Wii and was initially criticized for choosing components like Blu-Ray that would prove hard to get and become a bottleneck to meeting demand, and for its high price at launch. Since that time, however, Blu-Ray components are plentiful, the Blu-Ray high-definition DVD format seems to be winning the content war, and Sony has cut the price.
The PS3 comes in three different configurations: 40GB, 60GB, and 80GB. The 40GB model is lowest in price, but lacks PS2 compatibility of any kind, the 60GB model sold in North America includes PS2 compatibility at the hardware level, and the 80GB model supports PS2 compatibility through software (as do 60GB models that are sold internationally). All PS3 consoles support high quality Dolby Digital audio output and video resolutions up to 1080p, supporting composite, component, and HDMI connectors.
Although the PS3 lacked the number of major game titles you would expect at launch time, this is no longer the case, with a steady stream of games designed for the console being released every month. PS3 games are perhaps the most demanding of any designed for a console, demonstrating its considerable graphics and processing power. While Sony’s PlayStation Network can’t compete with Xbox Live, the PS3 simply outmuscles the Xbox 360 as a console. It’s not just a matter of video resolution, as both consoles support the same level of high-definition output, but it’s also how the graphics move. Complex, lifelike animation is the standard for a PS3 game title, so good that you often forget you’re looking at computer-generated graphics.
Add to that the PS3 being able to play both standard and Blu-Ray high-definition DVD movies, and you have found the video game system that deserves to be the centerpiece of any cutting edge home entertainment system.