ARTICLE: Xbox 360 vs. Playstation 3 Part 1



Beginning Comments

If there was ever a discussion that occurs time and time… and time again in SystemWars and across the web, it’s the rivalry between the Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Sony Playstation 3. The thing about the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360 is that they are substitute systems for the most part—there’s a reason why they’re considered the “HD Twins.” They don’t do much to differentiate themselves from one another in regards to gaming, compared to say the Nintendo Wii. Thus, is why we get so much heated discussions between their two fanbases. So the purpose of this is to showcase the main differences between the two, and judge the two on how they accomplish things. I’ll rate each console at the end of each section on a scale of 0-5, and then add them up and the end; whoever is on top, wins.

This should be common sense, but do remember that these words are expressed through my view, and with that means that there is room for disagreement. I welcome you to agree and/or disagree with any notions displayed here, of course. I can also tell you that I am not an impartial fellow in this matter and I do have my own gaming preferences; however, I will try my very best to remain as objective as possible and fair in my reporting of this matter. And when some issues like pricing come into play, due note that this point of view is centered on my region—the United States of America. I don’t know the prices in Europe, Asia, Japan, or Australia; things can very well be different over there, so just take that into consideration.

The Intial Purchase

We’ll first start off comparing what you get when you buy an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3. I’ll be comparing the standard 160GB PS3 Slim, and the 250GB Xbox 360 S model respectively. They’re both priced equally so the comparison is best fit for these two SKUs. So let us begin with unboxing (figuratively) the Playstation 3. The contents are the following:

– 160GB Playstation 3 Console;
– Wireless (USB chargeable/USB cable included) Dualshock 3 controller;
– Standard Composite A/V cable.

Next, we have the Xbox 360. The contents are the following:

– 250GB Xbox 360 Console;
– Wireless (Batteries required/included) Xbox 360 controller;
– Standard Composite A/V cable;
– Wired Xbox 360 Headset.

There are three differences that stand out from the above. The first being the controller—the PS3 controller is chargeable whereas the Xbox 360 controller requires two AA batteries. The second difference is the hard drive space—the Playstation 3 has a 160GB hard drive, whereas the Xbox 360 has a 250GB hard drive. The final difference is the inclusion of a headset for the Xbox 360. I do not believe any of these differences are in fact game changers in regards to purchasing a system but they are minor things in which I think are worthy of note. I also think it’s worth diving into the specifics of the benefits of these differences, and just why some individuals make these differences out to be a bigger deal.

In regards to the controller, not everyone wishes to spend the money on using batteries for their controller. While the battery life for the Xbox 360 controller is a week or more relative to how much use it gets—I know my controller lasts a couple weeks or more without having to change the batteries—but over time, that cost of batteries definitely adds up. I do feel like this is a nitpicking esque complaint for the most part, almost as if complaining over the electric bill since the PS3 Slim uses more power than the Xbox 360 S. Other benefits include the environmental impact (as some as heralded the method Sony is using is green friendly since they’re thinking of all the hundreds of millions of batteries which aren’t being used). Critics will point out that the cons of using this approach is that the USB cable to charge the controller is annoyingly short, and the charge isn’t nowhere near as long-lasting as the Xbox 360 controller. So if your charge runs out while gaming, you’ll be sitting four feet in front of your television.

The hard drive issue is a very small difference—having an additional 90GB is definitely a plus in this regard however. What critics will point out is the types of hard drives used for each system. The Xbox 360 uses a proprietary format which means you can only buy Microsoft manufactured hard drives in the future which makes this unfortunate in the sense that Microsoft has a monopoly on the pricing. The Playstation 3 Slim is capable of using Laptop 2.5″ hard drives which makes upgrading to a larger hard drive easy and not to mention affordable. Critics will point out that the Xbox 360 supports storing data on USB Flash drives, which makes things more convenient if you’re short on space and are cheap as well.

The last thing comes down to the headset. Coming with a headset is a definite plus no matter how you slice it. While it’s not the greatest headset in the world, be that as it may, it certainly holds its own and makes online gaming more enjoyable when you’re able to communicate with other gamers—and be confident that many other Xbox 360 gamers out there own headsets as well. Critics will point out that the Bluetooth capability of the Playstation 3 makes this irrelevant (or not that big of a deal) due to the notion that any Bluetooth headset will function with the Playstation 3.

Round 1 Scores & Summary:

Playstation 3 – 4.0; Xbox 360 – 4.6

The Xbox 360 has the Playstation 3 beat in hard drive space, and an additional accessory; but both consoles come short of bringing HD cables. Ironic, considering how each console are considered “HD consoles” yet don’t even provide the necessary cables to watch content in HD.


A few websites out there (IGN for example) have provided analysis of the hardware in the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, so I will basically summarize their findings. Basically, the Xbox 360 has a superior GPU whereas the Playstation 3 has a superior CPU and RAM. In regards to the disk drive, the Xbox 360 uses a DVD drive compared to the Blu-ray drive for the Playstation 3. The Xbox 360 drive has a faster disk reading capability compared to the slower Blu-ray drive, but the inherent advantage with Blu-ray comes the plus of having a much larger storage medium (Thus making disk switching irrelevant for the Playstation 3). Developers on the Playstation 3 do not have to worry about “running out of space on the disk.” However, critics will point out that because of the slower Blu-ray drive, it has forced developers to implement the method of “mandatory” installs to the console. This is to make up for the slower speeds, and/or also use “redundant” data techniques on the disk itself to make up for the Blu-ray drive. This making the necessity of Blu-ray being effectively less significant.

Now, When one looks at the specifications for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, one can infer that the Playstation 3 is a more powerful gaming system. Which, that in of itself, isn’t too much of a stretch considering the Playstation 3 was released a year later having the advantage of being exposed to newer technology, and having more R&D (research and development). However, there has been a big difference between “theoretical power” and actual “practical application” of the power.

As this generation has progressed many years, it’s evident by the games that are currently available, that the power difference between the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 is rather negligible. There are a few games which define the Playstation 3’s graphical prowess–namely, Uncharted 2, and Killzone 3 are recent examples that showcase the PS3’s power, which some have argued that no Xbox 360 game surpasses these games. Only recently has a game managed to break that notion–Crysis 2. Whether or not Crysis 2 is on top is still up for debate by gamers. However, with many years of experience under each console’s belt, and the inherent subjectivity in all this judging graphics, we can just firmly declare the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 push out great looking games, and you really can’t go wrong with either system if you want fine looking games for your console.

Round 2 Scores & Summary:

Playstation 3 – 5.0; Xbox 360 – 5.0

Both consoles are fairly equal in power and you can’t go wrong with either system due to each system having great looking games for it.


The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 both have built-in Wifi—however; the Xbox 360 supports Wireless N whereas the Playstation 3 does not currently support that feature. The Playstation 3 also has two USB ports compared to the five USB ports on the Xbox 360. In regards to the video front, the Playstation 3 is using the somewhat older HDMI 1.3a interface (1.4a is the current HDMI interface), but the Xbox 360 is still using the even older 1.2 interface. This gives the Playstation 3 an inherent advantage when it comes to 3D playback, DolbyTrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, and other things like Deep Color over HDMI. (It should be noted that the Playstation 3 was updated to include only one feature of the 1.4 interface, that feature was to allow 3D playback).

The Playstation 3 also has more headroom in regards to the NIC bandwidth ceiling—the Playstation 3 NIC is capped at 1GB, whereas the Xbox 360 is capped at 100MB. This won’t excactly be noticable to any user out there, unless you’re one of those tech-junkies who love to stream HD video over a local network. But, it’s still worth to note it regardless. Also, the Playstation 3 manages to have Bluetooth capability, as mentioned earlier in this article.

The Xbox 360 also has backwards compatibility with some of its predecessor’s library, whereas the Playstation 3 has backwards compatibility with Playstation 1 games (Playstation 2 games are not supported by current models–PS2 BC was removed years ago). It should be noted that original Xbox games are no longer supported by Xbox Live, and the BC library is only a couple hundred or so titles.

Lastly, and probably the most defining feature difference between the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 comes down to the disk drives. As stated earlier in the hardware section, the Xbox 360 has a tray-loading DVD drive. The Playsation 3 has a slot-loading Blu-ray drive. Being able to playback 1080p Blu ray movies is a sizable advantage compared to the DVD drive on the Xbox 360.

Round 3 Scores & Summary:

Playstation 3 – 4.9; Xbox 360 – 4.1

The Playstation 3 really gives the consumer a lot to chew here with its features, but the main argument here comes down to Blu-ray and HDMI. If you’re looking for a multi-media device, the Playstation 3 certainly has the HD side covered. Now, if only the Playstation 3 supported Wireless N!


One response to “ARTICLE: Xbox 360 vs. Playstation 3 Part 1

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