Lately, I’ve come across many ‘nerd rage’ incidents on the net whereby Xbox 360 fan-boys rip into PS3 fan-boys and so on about the superiority of their platform of choice. Most recent of which being the release of Bayonetta on both platforms. The PS3 version of the game has reportedly suffered from major slow down as well as screen tearing (which I absolutely hate) whereas Xbox players have enjoyed a fluidic, fun-filled game. So naturally Xbox fans have taken the opportunity to blame the PS3 for having inferior hardware. So I’m going to straighten a few things out here, I own a PS3 and am a PC gamer simultaneously and have abandoned the “my console is better than your console” mentality sometime ago, opting for multi-platform harmony.
Firstly, the Bayonetta Issue. Bayonetta, as you undoubtedly know by now, is an action game for the PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles developed by Platinum Games and published by Sega. The game was originally for the Xbox 360 but then Sega ported the game to the PS3 and that’s where the trouble lies. Platinum games did a phenomenal job on the Xbox however, Sega’s PS3 port was completely botched. In general, I’ve never had a great love for porting as invariably the port is inferior to the original and Bayonetta’s no exception. The Xbox 360 is pretty much a slimmed down PC and as such, games are relatively easy to develop for and port to PC. The PS3 uses a completely different hardware approach what with the cell processor at the heart of the console. The new technology employed by Sony has been notoriously difficult to get to grips with and developers have only just begun to scratch the surface of the console’s true capabilities. Having launched in 2005, the Xbox 360 as far as I’m concerned has reached a stalemate having made no real graphical improvements within the last two years or so.
I think that in developing multiplat games, one console or the other will invariably suffer because porting is an expensive and time-consuming task. Oftentimes, developers simply do not have the time or money required to release 1:1 versions of their games, especially when the two consoles they’re developing for are so different. You’ll notice that ‘platform exclusives’ generally look better than multiplat games as developers can spend all their time and resources on developing the software for a specific platform without having to over extend their resources. Games like Uncharted 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3 exclusives) look amazing and you’re really able to see what the PS3 is capable of when talented developers like Hideo Kojima of Konami or Naughty Dog are behind the wheel.
The other aspect that needs to be considered is the optical storage format of the two consoles. As the Xbox 360 uses the older DVD format, the console is severely limited in terms of how much data can be placed on a single DVD. As a result, the Xbox generally installs the majority of a game onto it’s hard drive enabling faster seek times, this is why Bayonetta has little to no slow-down on the Xbox 360. On the PS3, about 300MB of Bayonetta is installed onto the hard drive while the rest of the game runs off of the Blu-Ray disc, Blu-Ray being able to hold 25GB single-sided & 50GB double-sided. It takes a 3x Blu-Ray drive to equal the data transfer of a 12x DVD drive and unfortunately, the PS3 uses a 2X Blu-Ray drive whereas the Xbox 360 has a 16x DVD drive – so you do the math. If Sega took this into account then Bayonetta probably would have been a damn side better on the PS3.
At the end of the day, a specific platform be it PC or console, should be chosen for the games, not because one has superior hardware to the other, while the PS3’s hardware is indeed more powerful than the Xbox 360, the PC still reigns supreme as far as hardware goes and yet I find myself spending much of my gaming time on the console. The only reason I don’t own an Xbox 360 is because of my PC, because Microsoft created the Xbox, I can just wait for PC ports of games like the Halo series or Devil May Cry 4. Games like Halo and DMC4 have actually been ported properly and actually exceed the console versions. The reason I chose Sony’s console is for MGS4, Uncharted and the God of War series, among others. I suggest you do the same and pick a platform based on the games you want to play.