Let me start this off by saying that I grew up with Nintendo machines (and PC). During the N64 and Gamecube eras, I was a massive Nintendo fanboy, and I despised any of the competition. After getting a Wii at launch in 2006, though, things slowly started to change. There was now a significant, noticeable difference in gameplay experience from system to system, and as a well-rounded gamer that enjoyed all genres, you just couldn't satisfy all my gaming desires with one system.
So I began widening my collection.
I first got an Xbox360 in 2007, then a few months later, a PS2, and then a Dreamcast (lol, late to the party, amirite?). I got a PSP in 2009 (but it was stolen months later). Always wanted a PS3, but they were too expensive for the longest time, so I spent most of my gaming money on Wii and Xbox360 games (currently own over 100 retail titles between the two).
Finally, now, my financial situation has been getting significantly better that I can afford to get a new gaming console AND stock it with new games while I'm at it, so I took the plunge and finally got a PS3.
After spending almost two weeks with my PS3, I think I can finally give some feedback.
I have the PS3 Super Slim - the second revision of the system. Overall, it's an excellent piece of hardware, but with a few problems. I really like how small it is - they've done fantastically to shrink what once was an enormous console to something that looks about what size it should have been in the first place - and without even giving it an external power supply!* Heat-wise, I don't notice anything at all, so that's good.
Problems include the fact that it no longer has a slot-loading disc drive. Instead, it has a sliding disc door (rather than a flip-top door, it slides down, then requires you to change the disc manually, as in the PS1, Gamecube, etc). Sure, that allows them to cut down on size, but that wouldn't be a concern if they hadn't kept...
*Internal power supply. Some may wonder why I complain about this - after all, it means I don't have to deal with a stinkin' power brick along with the console! But that's the thing. I WANT the power brick. Power brick means less heat generated by the console itself, which means less heat IN the console, which means the console has fewer worries ABOUT heat. I'm not worried about this system's heat, but nonetheless, it's just a smart thing to do. Besides that, external power means the system can be more easily shrunken since the power supply is left out of the equation, leaving more space for other things (like that damn SLOT LOADING DISC DRIVE!). Furthermore, the power cord we DO get is only five or six feet long, but you get like 8 to 10 feet of cord when you have a power brick (four+ feet for outlet cord, four+ feet for console feed cord). I USUALLY don't need that extra cord length, but sometimes I do! I just don't understand much of the logic behind keeping internal power supply.
There's not much to say here. It's the same old Dualshock design everybody has known for years. Sixaxis was a blunder, but they fixed that years ago. I think the thumbsticks are poorly positioned and I really appreciate the WiiU's Pro Controller for putting the thumbsticks where it has them, but I also know that's a personal choice and it's not going to mess me up that bad. If the thumbsticks had a bit of an indent in them (concave instead of convex), I'd not mind this position as much. But oh well.
The controller is overall pretty well constructed, works nicely. Two minor problems - the triggers are shaped funny, but that's been something people have criticized on it for years. I agree somewhat, but I've found it's been very minor at worst. Doesn't bother me much. The other problem is charging the controller - you do it via USB cable, and you can't use a cellphone USB charger to do it. Has to be plugged into the PS3 (or a computer, so long as the computer has installed/can install the drivers for it). There is one loophole - a charge dock. The charge docks give it the right amount of current that it will take it, but those require extra money. If you don't want to put down that extra money, you get to use a short USB cable that tethers you to RIGHT NEXT TO THE SYSTEM, or else makes you have a computer next to you. 360 controllers have that nice 8 or 10-foot charge cable. Shame they couldn't package an 8 or 10-foot mini USB cable with the PS3. I mean, they're using a common format for charging their controllers. It'd be really cheap. Ah well.
The OS is aesthetically pleasing, and fairly easily navigable (though occasionally confusing, but that's probably just because I'm not used to it). XMB hasn't really changed at all since they first rolled it out, only adding or subtracting features here and there but otherwise being exactly the same, unlike the Xbox menu. I don't understand what those crazies are doing with that.
My one complaint about the OS, which isn't that big a deal to me, is that every time you go to launch something, the video feed has to cut off completely as it loads, THEN when it's loaded, video kicks back on. So, most HDTVs (and the more intelligent SDTVs) that sense signal on inputs will pop up messages at you, saying, "NO SIGNAL", then suddenly, "OH HI. HDMI 1080p SIGNAL." Every. Single. Time. Like I said, not a big deal, but it's mildly annoying.
Free is nice. Free is good. Free, I will absolutely take. Overall, the online itself works wonderfully. I don't notice any significant differences between Xbox Live and PSN gameplay. As for the pay option that PS3 DOES have - PS+ - I like what it adds. Rather than letting you play against others online, it gives you access to full game downloads, game demos, and a few other online features. I think PS+ IS a more logical incentive-system than XBL Gold, though it doesn't entice me to get it as much as Gold does (it's just that Gold angers me a little more in the process).
Playstation 3 allows me to download in the background, just like my Xbox 360. But what ISN'T like Xbox 360 is that it will stop downloading in the background if I run any apps/games that use a certain level of internet connection. I've been trying to download God of War: Origins Collection - Ghost of Sparta. But if I play LittleBigPlanet 2, or watch Netflix, it switches that from "downloading" to "pending", and ceases downloading until I exit the game/app. It immediately restarts when I do, but it's still a bother. Xbox will download it in the background regardless, though it WILL sacrifice download speed for bandwidth if need be.
Furthermore, if I download a game, on Xbox, it's playable the moment the game finishes downloading. Instantly. Same on Wii, WiiU, 3DS, and DSi (though on those it's less noticeable since you usually have to dance around back through menus to access your downloads once you've downloaded them). But on PS3, a downloaded game then has to be INSTALLED.
ANY downloaded content has to be installed, it seems. I complained about this the other day, and I still find it incredibly irritating, especially since installs can't be done in the background like downloads can. If I could install in the background, this would only be minorly irritating at worst. But you can't. So it's not. It irks me a lot. Not enough that I can't still get over it, but it's definitely a pretty big annoyance, and I think a significant enough one to make me say the PS3 has the worst online functionality of any of the Big 3.
Each of the Big 3 has a very different approach to the way they set up their online shops. I find that the Xbox 360's Marketplace has declined in quality as they've done dashboard updates. When they first rolled out the NXE and did away with the blade system, I think the Marketplace essentially peaked, and as they've done major dashboard updates since then, it's only gotten messier. The Wii Shop Channel was simple and to the point, and it directed you straight to what you wanted, though it may have been TOO simple. The WiiU's eShop, which is almost identical in function to the 3DS's eShop, is, I think, a bit too noisy. I want to be able to decide what categories show up in my eShop, if you're going to be throwing in a "Games Featuring Mario", or "Games Available Only At Retail", or "Games We Thought Were Mildly Humorous And Cost Somewhere Between $4 and $8" category (that last one isn't real, but y'know. It feels like it is). The Playstation Store, though, I think is the best store here, as far as organization goes. It has the ease of function that Nintendo's eShop has, but without the convoluted changing category system. It hasn't been redesigned a ton, like Microsoft's, and stays true.
But one problem with it is that, when I'm downloading something that's free, it should just ask, "Ok, do you want to download this?" and let me stinking download it. Instead, I add it to my cart, then I tell it to go to checkout. Then, it loads my cart, and I have to tell it again to go to checkout. Then I confirm the purchase. Then I finally can tell it to download it. Dangit, if it's free, remove all the extra stuff! Just let me click "Download", ask me if I want to, then just do it!
Here's the big kicker.
Download titles are pretty much as varied as on XBLA. They've got a really nice assortment here, so if you like to download, you'll have plenty to work with.
Retail titles are just as plentiful as well. There's really not much to say about them, until you see one nice thing that Sony likes to push here that Microsoft doesn't seem to care about:
Sony is HUGE on collections for the PS3. Remastered HD versions of PS2 games bundled together (Ratchet & Clank, Jak & Daxter, Metal Gear Solid, etc), modern PS3 games (Uncharted, Resistance, InFAMOUS, Journey, etc), and combinations of both (God of War, Killzone, etc). If you're new to the system right now and you want to get into the various exclusive series' in the system's backlog, it's really, really easy to do that. And most of those collections come with DLC included, so it's a one-stop shop for you! I really, really like this, and wish the others would jump on board.
Still pretty irked that they got rid of this, but a lot of what I care for on the PS2 has since been updated and upgraded to HD with trophies for re-release on the PS3, so while it's more expensive this way, it's at least an attempt to rectify that situation. And since they're UPGRADED ports - not just direct cut-and-paste ports - we actually benefit some from it. So this is definitely a negative aspect - I absolutely am interested in keeping my PS2 collection - Sony's done some to make it better, so it's not too bad.
Altogether, I'm very satisfied with my system. I'm not blown away by its features (it really doesn't "only have everything"), but it's a nice system with a fairly solid setup and a great library full of stuff I've never touched before. For the most part, I think the Xbox has the better system functionality, but Sony still has some places that they do it better than Microsoft does (especially since M$ can't seem to freaking make up their mind on things and keep constantly changing them). The PS3's biggest strong-point is its library - which I can't say is necessarily any better or worse than the competition, but Sony markets said library a LOT better with its collections. And the fact that they've been remastering PS2 titles in HD for PS3 with trophies is nice too.
Games I currently own:
-Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
-Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
-Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
-3D Dot Game Heroes
-Goldeneye 007 Reloaded
-God of War 1 & 2 Collection
-God of War Origins Collection
-God of War 3
-Guilty Gear XX ^Core Plus
-Super Street Fighter 2 Arcade Edition*
*PS+ titles only accessable until my one free month expires