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About a year ago we had an article here on Blend Games about the Xbox 360 having to carry the PS3, in regards to third-party support. Not only has this prediction come true, but Microsoft is reaping some of the benefits from developers using the Xbox 360 to leverage software for the PS3, simply because it makes the 360 look like a decent console.
It would seem like the red rings of doom would have put MS and the Xbox 360 six feet under. The virtual grave of failed consoles extend back a long ways, and everyone was sure that the 360 was destined to lie in the pit next to Sega’s promising, but doomed, Dreamcast. Instead, Sony had to go and release the PlayStation 3, sparing Microsoft from suffering a blatant defeat at the hands of Nintendo and its steam-rolling Wii.
Just recently, though, Microsoft released a press statement about the successful progress of the Xbox 360 console sales in North America, Europe and Japan at TGS 08, according to Portalit.net. And while the official NPD results have yet to verify the claims of MS, some analysts are already ahead of themselves in giving the 360 a huge edge over the PS3. So while the PS3 is expected to take a small but noticeable climb from August’s dire figures, according to an article on BLORGE, the 360 will easily surpass the PS3 for the month of September.
Nevertheless, things have not been looking good for Sony for quite some time (i.e., since the release of Metal Gear Solid 4). And given today’s economy – the sky-high price of the PS3 and the recent price-cut by Microsoft on the Xbox 360 – it makes things awfully tough for Sony to rebound any ground for the PlayStation 3. This is especially considering that they have no plans to cut the price on their console. This, of course, coincides with the 360 price-cut plan, because the only people Microsoft was interested in for the price-slashed 360 were those who were undecided between the purchase of a 360 and PS3. The systems are almost identical when it comes to gaming, and unless you’re a super fanboy, the cheaper of the not-so-identical twins is always going to look more appealing.
The real icing on the cake, however, follows through with the opening paragraph: developers who were at one point exclusive to Sony have now found a better home in both camps. Realistically, this is all to the benefit of Microsoft and the Xbox brand. Games like Final Fantasy XIII and Tekken 6 – once dead-on exclusives to the PlayStation brand – have jumped shipped thanks to Namco and Square-Enix finding a second abode with Microsoft. And as it was stated in the article about the Xbox 360 saving the PS3 from decimating developers, the multiple platforms has afforded both Namco and Square-Enix a comfortable alternative for making back their hard-earned bucks, which would have otherwise gone to waste with PS3 exclusivity. At the same time, however, this opens a floodgate of potential gamers (and loyalists) for Microsoft's gaming console, even though they were otherwise absent in the previous generation of the Xbox.
But this had started back when multiplatform games for the PS3 had been delayed, pushed back, altered and the like. In some cases the PS3 version of the games were rendered laggier and choppier in frame-rate when compared to the Xbox 360 counterparts (i.e., The Club, Orange Box, etc.) Just recently, regarding BioShock for the PS3, 2K Games has had to run damage control over what some people are calling an inferior version of the original. Computer and Video Games had a collection of comments from reviewers who didn’t want to say if either version of Bioshock was better than the other, yet one reviewer hinted at the possibility that if a gamer had a 360 it wouldn't be the worse of the two to have. But let’s face it, it took the development team a whole year to make an equivalent version of a game they released a year before. That almost seems backward if you ask me.
But regardless of what we already know, the real question is how long the PS3 will continue to ride in the shadow of the Xbox 360? Metal Gear Solid 4 was supposed to be the saving grace, but the failing economy didn’t do much to help propel MGS4 into the savior status for the PS3. Gran Turismo 5 was also supposed to be another savior for the PS3, but constant delays and lots of demo-esque previews of GT5 have been the only answer as of late. I’m sure Little Big Planet will muster up some change for Sony’s camp. But LBP and Resistance 2 still can’t make up for the third-party support that Microsoft is eating away from the dwindling exclusivity of the PS3 brand. Fanboys can complain until they soak their shirts with spittle, but it doesn’t change where the industry stands between Microsoft and Sony’s consoles.