Happy birthday, PS3! Yesterday marked the system's fifth year in the U.S., the first landmark year in a console's legacy. So many hours of enjoyment and little techno wonders packaged inside a sexy black shell. To honor this member of the current "big three," a term I'm coining right now, let's take a look after the jump at five things we love about the PS3. Feel free to share in the love in the comments and add your own affections to the pile or tell me how dumb I am for liking Sony. Both are acceptable.
1. Integrated rechargeable battery controllers
It may seem kind of obvious, but that's exactly the point, right? Why don't Wiimotes or 360 controllers have internal batteries? When was the last time you used something other than those controllers that still ran on AAs and wasn't the shower radio you got for Christmas and pretended to be excited about?
From the very beginning, PS3 controllers have had the curtesy to save us the extra hassle and just come with a rechargeable battery inside instead of subtly motioning us towards paying extra for them. And one better, the charge cables are a standard USB to mini wire, which come with tons of other devices these days. Even if you don't have a PS3, you've probably got a cable to charge a controller sitting somewhere around your house.
2. We only have to look at our avatars if we want to.
Okay, look Nintendo. We've had a lot of fun with our Miis over the years. Yes, it is kind of neat to see ourselves cheering from the stands or be able to use a Mii that looks like Dr. Zoidberg in Mario Kart. But honestly, that's really not why we buy your games. And look at what you've done to Microsoft! Now they cram their own copycat avatars into their own series of "Mii too, guys!" games. (see what I did there?) Honestly, enough is enough.
Yeah, the PS3 has its own lame avatars ready to soak up your time and money, but at least you don't have to use them, or even look at them, if you don't want to. And you probably don't.
3. Free online services
People want to play games with their friends. Fact. People want a service to help them find their friends online as well as match up with strangers from across the globe for friendly or competitive games. Also fact. People want to pay money for said service. False.
Sony's awkward middle position between the cumbersome Nintendo friend codes and Microsoft's glistening bastion of practicality, Xbox Live, has always been...well, awkward. The PSN works more easily than friend codes, but not quite as reliably as Live. But on the plus side, it has never cost you a thing (provided you don't want it to for PSN+). In fact, if you factor in the cost of a few years of Xbox Live, the PS3 has actually been cheaper than a 360 for quite a while. Granted, not everyone plays games online, but for those that do, it is something to think about.
4. Platinum trophies
While kind of a dumb oversight to not incorporate some sort of achievement system mimicking the 360 from the very beginning, eventually Sony got it right. Trophies are so similar to Achievements, and yet they have one crucial difference - they're individually ranked. While digitally well endowed 360 players can point to their overall score to impress the ladies (or more likely, guys) PS3 gamers have individual platinum trophies to show off their skill. High gamer scores can, and do, come from hours of dedication at beloved games, but just as often, can be the by product of simply playing many individual games. Not so with platinums. Platinum trophies definitively prove a player's dorkiness and dedication to certain titles in a way that aggregate numbers simply can't.
5. Blu-ray player
Remember HD DVDs? Yeah, me neither, and thanks to the PS3's use of Blu-ray, you'll never really have to. Since the format can hold so much more information than HD DVDs, in the long run, they just make more sense. But when has sense ever mattered to consumers? For a while, it looked like there might actually be a period where HD DVDs would work out as our next hard information format.
That is, until the sleek PS3 hit stores with all the fancy allure necessary to convince the early new format adopters, by which I mean middle class parents, to go with Blu-ray. I mean, why wouldn't it? It's black, so it matches your trendy living room setup from Ikea. The movies look phenomenal on that massive TV you hardly used at the time. And best of all? It plays games and can shut up your kids that have been asking for a Nintendo Gamestation 360 or whatever it's called. Game, set, match.