1up.com Rage Against the Machines report card
Hey, does anyone remember that feature 1up ran at the launch of the PS3 and Wii in late 2006? Scott Sharkey, who I know best for that sedate yet learned tone on 1up’s Retronauts podcast which I try so hard to emulate on our own podcast, wrote a pair of articles about the top 10 complaints from users of the two new consoles. I thought it might be interesting to go over the lists and see just how the consoles have addressed the issues listed in their first two years. Without looking, I’m going to bet Sony’s come the farthest and Nintendo’s done the least. Let’s see if I’m right.
VC games tied to individual Wiis. If you copied your Virtual Console games to an SD Card and brought them to a friend’s house, you couldn’t play them.
0/10. This is still the case. There’s no way to “log into” a Wii, as there’s a single account per system. That means even if you’re connected to the Internet, you can’t play a game you’ve paid for on someone else’s system.
Getting online. The only way to go online with a Wii was wirelessly, and once you were online, there were no online games.
5/10. Nintendo has since released their USB ethernet adapter for Wii, but out of the box it’s still wireless or nothing with Wii. And there are still not very many online games in comparison to 360 and PS3.
Being online. There was nothing to do with the Wii online at launch, except download VC games.
5/10. There are a number of online games for Wii now, but nothing like you’ll find on PS3 and 360. WiiWare titles are now available for download on Wii as well.
20 hour battery life. A pair of AAs would only last about 20 hours of play time on Wii.
5/10. This is still the case, but there are third party solutions, such as the Nyko Charge Station for Wii. When you’re done playing, unplug any attachments, strip off the Wii Remote Jacket, push the wrist strap aside and then wiggle the remote until it makes a good connection to the charger. How convenient!
Classic Controller. The games on VC were not retooled for the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, so you needed either a Classic Controller, which can’t be used for Gamecube games and requires a Wii Remote to function, or a Gamecube controller which is clumsier.
5/10. There are no changes here, but there are compromise solutions. The Thrustmaster T-Wireless controller is one example of a wireless Gamecube controller with a better button layout than the standard Cube pad, and it can be used for Gamecube games. A Gamecube-compatible controller is still the best for Wii when playing anything but Wii software.
No pack-in component cables. No component cables in the box, and we can’t use the Gamecube component cables.
0/10. These are still not included with the system. Just this weekend I played Wii with someone who didn’t have component cables. When I asked why, I discovered he had no idea what I was talking about.
Not region free. It wasn’t.
0/10. It still isn’t.
Weak wrist strap. The wrist strap had a reputation for breaking.
10/10. Nintendo has replaced the wrist straps in the box with stronger ones at least twice over, and has started including Wii Remote Jackets as a backup measure. Both replacement items were made available to early customers. Still no fix for those who won’t use either device, which is most likely the real culprit in most of these “my strap broke” events.
Short sensor bar cord. Six feet was not long enough for those who were using large wall-mounted displays or who kept their Wii further than six feet from their TV.
5/10. The cord in the box is still six feet long, but wireless sensor bars are available, and you can even use a pair of candles instead if you like. Works great if the power goes out. D’oh!
Mii shortcomings. Miis don’t have ears, making it harder to make caricatures of large-eared celebrities.
0/10. I suppose they still don’t have ears, but Sharkey himself admits he was grasping for things to complain about at this point. Seriously? How about the vast chasm in hardware capabilities between Wii and its two competitors? Isn’t that something to complain about, even if it clearly is not an issue to consumers?
Total score: 35% of 1up’s launch complaints about Wii have been addressed.
Sony PlayStation 3
Sixaxis syncing. Unlike Wii and 360 users, PS3 users had to sync their controller with a new console using a USB cable, as it couldn’t be done wirelessly.
0/10. This is still the case.
No multitasking. Unlike 360 users, PS3 users couldn’t do background downloading, there was no in-game messaging or access to the XMB.
10/10. Both of these issues have been resolved, as background downloading is possible for most items, and a limited version of the XMB is accessible while in-game for tasks like messaging.
Not Quite HD Ready. The PS3 inexplicably came with only a composite video cable.
0/10. This is, surprisingly, the easiest item to fix on the list and has not been resolved.
PS1/PS2 Save Transfer. There was no reasonable means to get PS1/PS2 save data from a PS1/PS2 memory card to the PS3′s HDD so it could be used.
5/10. Sony sells a USB solution for transferring these files. I never picked one up, but Paul was nice enough to transfer mine for me so I could finish all those PS2 games that I still haven’t finished. Sadly, new PS3s can’t play PS2 games at all, making this even more disappointingly a non-issue.
PS1 Downloads Only Play on PSP. This is a pretty straightforward issue.
10/10. This is no longer the case. A small library of PS1 games are available for download from the PSN at the reasonable price point of $5.99, though there’s the one exception of Symphony of the Night at $9.99. These are all playable on both the PSP and the PS3.
Controller Screwups. There were reported instances where the Sixaxis controller would suddenly start behaving erratically.
10/10. Reports of this have pretty much vanished at this point, so it’s safe to assume these were either isolated launch issues, or that they’ve been resolved with patches or the revised Bluetooth antenna mentioned in FCC filings. Low battery power or other local interference can cause issues like this in Bluetooth devices. Early on I had issues like this with my Wii Remotes, which also use Bluetooth.
No System Level Custom Soundtracks. Pretty straightforward.
0/10. Sorry, still true. This would be really nice, though.
Setting Up a Wi-Fi Connection. The complaint was that setting up a WiFi Connection was very clumsy using the on-screen “telephone” interface with masked security keys, the error messages were cryptic, and Sony’s support page is empty.
5/10. I had no trouble setting up mine using a USB keyboard, but I ended up using a wired connection in the end for speed. I don’t see any indication that the system for setting up a WiFi connection out of the box has improved, but Sony’s support page is no longer empty.
Being Online. The online system for PS3 was not very feature-rich when compared to the Xbox 360s, as there was no XMB access for messaging or Buddy List Access in-game.
10/10. There is now. The cross media bar is accessible now at any time, giving access to messaging and the friend list.
Streaming video to the PSP. Video that was streamed from the PS3 to the PSP was of very poor quality.
10/10. I didn’t even know this feature existed. Paul tells me he’s never encountered the issues mentioned, so this appears to have been resolved through patches.
Total score: 60% of 1up’s launch complaints about PS3 have been addressed.
As predicted, Sony is the winner. But what does that even mean? The issues on Sony’s list were arguably more serious when the platform was considered a clear competitor to Microsoft’s console. Still, Nintendo’s list was very weak, I could have come up with twenty issues that bother me more than those ten, perhaps. Things like the spastic and easily-confused IR camera and ridiculous Wii Menu load times. I’ll have to work on my own list for all three consoles.1up.com, complaint, rage against the machines, report card