Playstation 2 Mayhem

by Mike Shea on 4 October 2002

A while back I wrote an article describing in terrible english Why Computers Suck. In an attempt to break away from the horrible usability, terrible performance / processing power ratio, and tragic price, I bought a Playstation 2. You can read my Playstation 2 Review but basically the only things wrong were the following:

You may now know that the Playstation 2 Network Adapter has been released and is sold out all over town. This $40 device offers both a 56k modem and an ethernet connection for broadband use. Unfortunately I wasn't able to buy one around town but for $100 I will get a copy of Tribes Aerial Assault, a keyboard, and the modem from EBworld.

Selling an outboard network adapter has two big problems. First, the sell-through ratio of broadband adapters to the number of playstations out there will be 10% at best and thats a hugly optimistic estimation. Game companies will be unlikely to spend a lot of time building games for only 10% of the playstation 2 users. Since one of the core advantages of developing a game for the playstation 2 is knowing exactly how it will act on every PS2 in the country, trying to develop a good game for those who have or dont have a broadband adapter causes problems. By selling the adapter separately, Sony won't be able to reach high penetration of broadband users. There is only one thing that could make the adapter a success. Good games. If quality hit games are made that are significantly improved with a broadband adapter, consumers will be willing to plop down the cash and drag a 25' phone or ethernet cable to their TV. Without hit games, accessories and entire systems will die. Because of this lack of good games, the X-Box has a dark future this christmas.

Playstation 2s have traditionally been stuck at 480i 4x3 for their display. This low resolution display looks terrible when compared ot the high quality displays of computers. However, it seems that a few Playstation 2 games are either offering widescreen or progressive games. Today I picked up Tekken 4 and played it in a stretched progressive mode on my Mitsubishi 55" TV. It looked far better than any other game I've played on the PS2 to date. Unfortunately the game does not offer a widescreen mode. If it had both a progressive and widescreen mode, it would be a bright day for the future of the PS2.

Sony needs to do two things to increase the success of the Playstation 2.

I have started playing Final Fantasy X again. While I hate the idea of a fantasy game with soccer players in it, the game is a lot of fun. I hope Square doesn't dump the idea of single player Final Fantasy based games completely. That is their best work and they should stick to a sure thing.The ideal world companies should shoot for is a game system with the following:

Systems are dependent exclusivly on the quality of their games. If X-Box had Grand Theft Auto, we'd all buy it.

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