In the last week there has been fanfare galore following the unveilings of the Xbox 360 and PS3, but all hasn’t been so well with Nintendo. Surely enough the Revolution launched a few days later, but without a full disclosure of the specs and a long wait ahead it doesn’t cut such an impressive path. We decided to hold back and see if Nintendo would be more forthcoming. It wasn’t.
Now don’t get me wrong. The Revolution looks a nice piece of kit and will undoubtedly give the current crop of consoles a right royal spanking, but this is all about context and against the 360 and the PS3 I'm not convinced it cuts the mustard.
I called the Xbox 360 write up the Definitive Guide. I called the PS3 write up the Essential Guide. But I’m reticent to do the same with the Revolution because, quite frankly, there are still too many question marks for my liking.
Let’s start off with what we know. At approximately the same width as three DVD cases the casing for the Revolution is nicely compact. In fact, it is the thinnest of the next gen machines and like both offerings from Microsoft and Sony it can be stood vertically or horizontally. The shiny finish does look susceptible to fingerprints, but I can’t imagine anyone being embarrassed to put it in their living room. I have some reservations about the separate silver stand which appears is required to give the unit more stability (surely this should be circumvented at the initial planning stages) but it is not a deal breaker.
More concerning is the lack media functionality. There are just two USB2.0 ports on the outside of the Revolution and a memory slot that only takes SD cards. The main front mounted, slot based drive bay is multi-format in that it can accept GameCube discs as well as Revolution games, but an attachment will be required just to play DVDs. The argument can be made that the PS3 is in the same boat, but at least Blu-ray is the DVD of the future. By contrast, the Revolution’s 12cm discs remain a mystery, with no word on their capacity or ability to store anything other than games content. On the upside, there is built-in wireless g, but this doesn’t distinguish it from the pack.
Move inside the casing and details are just as sketchy…