Why The PlayStation 3 Is The Best Console

The PS3 still has merit over the PS4, Xbox One and even the PS5. In terms of game generation, and accessibility features, it's still a contender.
PlayStation 3 Artwork
The Original PlayStation 3  Source: IGN

It's fair to say that video gaming has come a long way in recent years. Visual graphics, speed, and quality of life mechanics have evolved exponentially, taking evolutionary leaps forward every few years. 

The days of 8-bit cartridge gaming seemingly came to an end with the arrival of the Sony PlayStation. Here the world was introduced to the compact disc home gaming console, aimed at a more casual audience who wanted to use their home television sets rather than PCs. 

While obviously rough around the edges now, looking back it was the first look at open-world gaming, or at least 3D surroundings: a break away from the side-scrolling platformers we were used to from previous generations. 

The original Sony PlayStation  Source: Mediamatic

The first PlayStation era was universally acclaimed and of course, a major commercial success for Sony. So much so that a few years later we were treated to the PlayStation 2. Graphically there were many improvements here, with the ability to play CDs and DVDs as well. Game entries had higher graphics capabilities, still required no install, and higher capacity memory cards became available. 

The wildly popular successor PlayStation 2  Source: USgamer

At this point, Microsoft threw its hat into the ring with the Xbox. Third-party games were available on both consoles and Sony had a real contender on its hands. The disparity between first-party games began: should we buy the PS2 to play 'God Of War', or the Xbox to play 'Halo'? 

Halo themed Xbox
'Halo' themed original Xbox  Source: Twitter

As much as the PS2 was an upgrade to the PS1, it followed in the same vein as not being a step forward in entertainment, so much as a graphical successor. However in 2007 (for the UK), Sony released the PlayStation 3, and here was the flagship standard set for the expectations we have today. 

The PlayStation 3 right off the bat utilized more impressive hardware and unique architecture. Sony's patented Blu-ray system was the engine that new games ran on, providing much more impressive visuals and textures. Blu-ray DVD's were also playable, at the time exclusively to Sony hardware. 

The 3 PS3 models
From left: original PS3 model, PS3 Slim, and PS3 Super Slim  Source: Retro Game Buyer

While still boasting the same controller shape and layout as its previous two generations, now there was the option of wireless play. The cable was a detachable USB to micro USB, making for much more comfortable sitting options. 

Instead of a bland screen awaiting disc insertion, now there was a dedicated user interface, customisable with a very simple side scroll layout, including other options like Netflix or USB media playback. It was truly the first most diverse home entertainment system. 

Now games required installation before playing. A typical game was around 7 to 15gb, and took room on the native storage space. Saving to memory card was a thing of the past as the autosave feature which we now take for granted, became a godsend for anyone who remembers data loss. 

PS3 trophies
PS3 trophy system  Source: ThatHonestGamingGuy

This generation also introduced the concept of a 'trophy' system or 'achievements' for Xbox. Basically a scoring system for completing certain tasks or challenges within a game, and rank against one's peers. 

Initially the first launch editions had 60Gb and played PS2 games as well with backwards compatibility. This feature was lost in later editions but the memory space increased from 80, 125, 250, until at the end of its lifespan it had a 500Gb memory.

This became necessary as games from this generation were starting to outgrow their architecture and reached whopping 40 to 50gb installations. 'The Last Of Us' and 'Grand Theft Auto V' were swansongs for this generation, but 40gb was (and still is) impressive for a console with 500gb memory space. 

PS3 swansong games
Swansong games from the end of the PS3 era  Source: GameSkinny

The PS3 was the 'seventh' generation of consoles, the other major contender being Microsoft's successor to the Xbox, the Xbox 360. The 360 was a great improvement over its predecessor as well, boasting a slimmer, white console, ergonomically designed controller, and superb first party games like the 'Halo', 'Gears of War', and 'Forza' series. 

Many of the same third party games were shared with the PlayStation 3 and online multiplayer subscriptions were introduced across both consoles. Here though, Microsoft required monthly or yearly payments for their online play, but for the PlayStation 3 it was completely free. While this was an obvious advantage against its' rival, bizarrely the 360 was more popular. 

Xbox red ring
Xbox red ring of death  Source: The Versed

The 360 had its' famous 'red ring of death' when the console crashed, an arguably worse user interface, and frankly appalling animated avatars. However the 360 is widely regarded to have been more popular than the PlayStation 3. 

I acknowledge the Nintendo Wii for being the third console around at the same time at this point, but disregard it for being its 'own thing': never trying to compete with the 'big two, and only seemingly having first-party game focus at the time. 

The 360 had more dedicated servers for online play, and I suppose you get what you pay for: the online play was often a struggle for the PS3 in Call of Duty lobbies in particular: someone else's lag would affect the round for everyone else.

The 360 had similar issues sometimes though, but is nostalgically admired universally in preference over the PS3, despite having no Blu-ray capabilities, worse graphics, and paid multiplayer. 

Batman remaster
Batman, Uncharted, and other favourites are still being remastered today  Source: Reddit

The seventh-generation was truly a golden age in gaming in general. Games released at this time are still being remastered and improved two generations later to bump up sales. Entries like the 'Batman: Arkham' series, 'The Last of Us', 'God of War 3', 'Bioshock', 'Assassin's Creed' and 'Mass Effect' have all been remastered to reclaim that shine from the eight glorious years of that generation. 

Here's the thing though. The successor to the PS3, the PS4, while another leap forward graphically, was nowhere near the leap made from PS2 to PS3. The PS4 has a similar UI, though more complicated than its predecessor.

The controller is admittedly more ergonomic, though has an unnecessary touchpad and backlight. Both consoles boast Blu-ray capabilities, but the eighth-generation games library largely comprises remasters from the PS3 era anyway. 

PlayStation 4
The Sony PlayStation 4  Source: Amazon

The PS4 had the exact same amount of memory at launch as the latter PS3 models: 500Gb. Only now games were significantly larger. Take into account that 'The Last of Us' uses 13Gb of space on a PS3, and around 40Gb on a PS4. Likewise 'Grand Theft Auto V' is around 30Gb on PS3 and an approximately eye-watering 90Gb on PS4. With those stats in mind, which is the better console? 

Now of course we are in the era of the PS5. The Unreal Engine 5 is revolutionary in its scope, but a game hasn't yet been released in the whole of its debut year that fully utilises the hardware capabilities. Also, there's the added problem of stock shortages and scalpers that have made it almost impossible for the majority of gamers to get their hands on one at a reasonable price.

Playstation 5
The Sony PlayStation 5  Source: MobileSyrup

So regarding that sales shortages have meant that not all gamers are on the new generation of consoles, and still play their PlayStation 4's and Xbox Ones. It was widely concluded in terms of sales that the PS4 was the winner of that generation, meaning no disrespect to the Xbox One. 

So let's take away that the PS4 is still the most widely used console at the moment. I've highlighted above how similar in its' scope it is to the PS3: equal in memory but inferior on game installation sizes, and has paid multiplayer where the PS3 doesn't. Also, it's still the only native console that has the full 'God of War' library. Therefore isn't it logical that the PlayStation 3 should in theory still be the best console around? 

Jason is a freelance content writer living in Nottinghamshire whose preferred topics are movie/game reviews and climate change.

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