Evaluating the quality of console game experience

With the "next-gen" console war in full swing I thought it was time to look at the quality of games that each system has produced. One of the biggest selling points of a gaming system is that the titles that are available and the following will look at at what Nintendo's Wii, Microsoft's Xbox360 and Sony's Playstation 3 have offered thus far.

First I would like to define what a "good" game in this article will be. A "good" game in this article will have an 80% or higher rating on the website Metacritic.com. Though some may argue that 80% is a little generous, I wanted to have a fair scale. I will also look at the total titles the the console has and also look at the number of "bad" games it has. Bad games will be defined with a rating of 49 and lower. This article will also include all downloadable games available via each system's online gaming services.

First we are going to look at Xbox360. The console includes a staggering total number of 140 "good" games, with the top five being Grand Theft Auto IV, Bioshock, Valve's The Orange Box, Gears of War and the Elder Scrolls IV. In terms of exclusives that are only available for system the system has 4 that have a rating of 90 or higher. In terms of "bad" games the system has a total number of 65, the lowest of which is Yaris, a downloadable game based on Toyota's car of the same name. The Xbox360 gaming catalogue currently stands at total of 603. Putting it into simpler terms, the percentage of games that are "good" is at 23%, which is quite the respectable figure and the percentage of "bad" games is at 11%.

Looking at Sony's current offering, the console has 317 games in its library. Out of those, 96 (or 30% of it's total library) are considered quality games, the top five being, Grand Theft Auto IV, LittleBigPlanet, Call of Duty 4, Bioshock and Metal Gear Solid 4. The amount of 90 percentile games that are exclusives are LittleBigPlanet, Metal Gear Solid and Killzone 2. The amount of "bad" games is a staggering low total of 21, or 10% . Even if you consider the fact that the xbox has double the amount of games, that quality of games for the Playstation 3 still greater. You can still argue that the Xbox360 has a greater library then its hardcore gaming rival, but the quality numbers are in Sony's favour.

Now for Nintendo. No one is arguing the evolution the Nintendo Wii has brought to the gaming industry, but it has long been criticized by the gaming community as a novelty item, something that is fun for about a week then gets boring. These number should give us a bit of an indication into the truth of that statement. Nintendo has a just under 400 games on metacritic. Of those, 18 or 5%% of the total library are "good". Those that are "bad" make up 20% of the library (78 total games). That means 75% of the games are "average". That is a really low number and it's any wonder how it is trumping the competition in terms of console sales per unit. Games such as Wii Play have sold over 20 millions copies (yes i recognize the fact it comes with a "wiimote", but regardless) and it has a metacritic rating of 58%! Out of the top ten games for the system, four come from Nintendo themselves and six total are exclusives. This will tell you that third party developers are not putting their big money projects on this system. This could be for several reasons, such as the Wii is an underpowered system compared to the two competitors, but there may be others as well. Development costs seem to be the most likely culprit. Because games are able to be created cheaper on the Wii compared to any other system, more and more developers will create games for the system. This coupled with the fact that the Wii has sold so many units makes it easier for companies to make money from the system compared to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 whose sales console sales numbers are much lower and development costs are much greater. Games are going to be more likely on the bad side then good. I am not trying to say Nintendo does not have some great products for its system (Wii Fit, Wii Sports, Mario Galaxy are just to name a few), but for a system doing that well one would expect to see the number of games to be just a bit better. Companies just do not seem to want to make the effort on the Wii.

About three years into the "next" generation console war and we see to have a bit of a foundation for how things are going to be for the next little while. Of course the big three are always trying to make things better, Sony is hoping that 2009 will be a big year, especially with a lot of big name titles to the system in the upcoming year and with rumours of a price drop, things only seem to be looking up for the sleek black box. Microsoft has been putting up solid numbers every year and it's gaming library in my opinion is the best, I just wish i could say the same for Nintendo. It's hard to argue against a system whose business model seems to be beating everyone else, its just that I wish the system had a better gaming library.

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Companies just do not seem to want to make the effort on the Wii.

Boy, you have that right. Nintendo clearly has the most innovative and fun console (as long as your interests go beyond the cookie-cutter shoot 'em up dead lineup of games). But the only games worth playing (so far) have been made by Nintendo. Other developers just aren't getting it which really limits the game options. It's really a shame.

I haven't once regretted buying both the 360 and ps3, I get to play all the exclusives that interest me (never been a fan of anything nintendo) and can choose on which console i want to play the multiplatform games. It is a lot more expensive though unfortunately.

Strategy on console is a damn no no .... and also a no no is ports ... pc's are more versatile, don't **** em up with stupid console ports ....

zeta_immersion said,
Strategy on console is a damn no no .... and also a no no is ports ... pc's are more versatile, don't **** em up with stupid console ports ....


Console ports are the future Ensemble Studios claimed that Halo Wars was a better experience than the traditional RTS game...

I doubt that. I prefer how strategy games on the PC are than how they are on the consoles.

Consoles dumb down the graphics, and the gameplay.

For instance FEAR1 vs FEAR 2 (which was designed for consoles). The ability to lean was removed, particle effects removed, and parallax mapping removed.

New game, Project Origin.





Versus the Old Game FEAR 1





Damn shame. Plus the AI was easier.

We all hate console ports. Consoles do not feel as smooth and as creative. They certainly do excel at racing games and simulations of that nature. Grand Turismo and Forza.....great stuff.

I do not believe that consoles "dumb down" the graphics as you put it. That statement does not even make that much sense. Obviously for the sake of business they try to make the best looking games possible. I agree with you that a lot of times PC does look better, or for whatever technical reason it cannot be ported to it's full capacity, but consoles are not dumbing it down just for the hell of it as your comment would imply(except maybe the Wii).

Steven77 said,
but consoles are not dumbing it down just for the hell of it as your comment would imply(except maybe the Wii).

He did not imply that it was "for the hell of it". But if a console is restricted by what it physically cope with, the PC version generally suffers.

Control schemes especially take the brunt, as the controls have to be workable on a gamepad. Ported games to PCs often suffer from UIs that continually refer to gamepad buttons and have unconfigurable controls.

Exactly. There is no reason to remove parallax mapping other than the consoles may not be able to handle the additional workload. Especially since they would have used an evolved engine from FEAR 1 for FEAR 2.

I believe "leaning" was removed due to the gamepads.

Couldn't agree with you more! FEAR 2 was just sad. I mean I spent most of the game not even using the slomo. They dumbed down the AI too much as well. The aiming felt like it was assisted, and the gameplay in general was way way too easy.

Good article -- but seriously, please learn how to use "its" and "it's" (It is).

Eg.

"317 games in it's library"

= 317 games in it is library

Is not the same as "317 games in its library".

Also:

"a greater library then it's hardcore gaming rival,"

Should be "a greater library than its hardcore gaming rival".

I'm not really good at grammar etc but these are the basics. Please proofread your articles.

thanks for the reply, i try to proofread often but it's hard to find your own mistakes. I asked for a proofread i guess the proofreader missed those mistakes also.

Thanks for the honest response. The typical responses from the staff are getting old.


"Were only human, man! We dont need rules on how to talk, dude!"

or

[insert-neowin-title-quote-here]

With the ability to PM people (as all news posters are members) I wonder why people feel compelled to fill up the article comments thread with grammatical corrections...

They are good suggestions, but doing it in public always make me feel like the person making the suggestions is being pretentious at the least.

I don't think it's pretentious - sometimes it's frustrating reading articles written by people who clearly shouldn't be on the news team, and no amount of PM'ing will improve them. A public bashing may be just what they need...either to make them learn proper english or to stop pretending to be a journalist :P

(Note: I'm not necessarily talking about the author of this article because I haven't read the whole thing...but there are other neowin writers who my rant applies to lol)

If you look at it, the PS3 and 360 are very similar. Its the Wii that really stands out. However, I guess thats what you get when you are shooting at a more casual market that isn't too concerned about amazing quality.

Also, Oblivion rocks!

I love my PS3. Have a WII too but that's for the kids. I played it a little bit but it gets boring. The kiddie games on it are only entertaining for 15 minutes.

Personally I'll stick with the Playstation now and for the foreseeable future. I think if I could find a better controller for the XBox then I might consider getting one - but only for the sake of playing games that are unavailable on the PS3.

Truth is - if you put the same game on the PS3 next to the XBox then the PS3 looks better every time. I've seen it with my own eyes (thanks to GameStop).

I don't think this is true in every scenario. I've compared a few big games and couldn't tell a difference at all without squinting or photo manipulation. Thats the real point, if the two games look almost identical, the average consumer won't care. I think the quality and quantity of exclusive titles is far more important.

A better controller for the Xbox? The Xbox 360 controller is widely acknowledged as the best controller of the current (next) generation consoles.

TCLN Ryster said,
A better controller for the Xbox? The Xbox 360 controller is widely acknowledged as the best controller of the current (next) generation consoles.

You have got to be kidding! The 360 d-pad is widely known to be terrible! Not to mention that the 360 controller is the only current (next) generation controller without motion sensing!

Telerebro said,
You have got to be kidding! The 360 d-pad is widely known to be terrible! Not to mention that the 360 controller is the only current (next) generation controller without motion sensing!

Ergonomically.

Oh, but I'll admit the D-pad needs some work.

Whatever man. Long time PlayStation fan (not so much PS3 in terms of game library), but I've got to say that the 360 controller is hands down the best controller my hands have ever felt. And yes, this is true nerdage seeping out, but hey, at least I'm being honest.

As for "fanboyism", I do not own a console of this generation. (seriously guys, stop calling it "next-gen")

Telerebro said,
You have got to be kidding! The 360 d-pad is widely known to be terrible! Not to mention that the 360 controller is the only current (next) generation controller without motion sensing!


Yeah, and we all know how well sixaxis worked out for sony. :P

Tim Dawg said,
Truth is - if you put the same game on the PS3 next to the XBox then the PS3 looks better every time. I've seen it with my own eyes (thanks to GameStop).

Truth? Side-by-side almost every 360/ps3 game I've seen looks marginally better (definitely not worse), pretty much every online comparison site agrees. It doesn't really matter though because you don't play games side by side... and when they aren't side by side you obviously don't notice the minuscule differences.

Plus, apart from the D-Pad what do you not like about the 360 controller? It's so much nicer to hold than the PS3 one

^^ Err, I just realised my post above makes no sense :P

I meant to say "Side-by-side almost every cross platform game I've seen looks marginally better on the 360 (definitely not worse)"

Silverskull said,
Ergonomically.

Oh, but I'll admit the D-pad needs some work.

Some work? I love my 360 and the rest of the controller in general. But I've got to say, it's the first console that has forced me into buying a joystick for fighting games. And I bought the $150 SFIV TE joystick. It's that worth it compared to playing on the 360 D-pad.

The Gunslinger said,
Yeah, and we all know how well sixaxis worked out for sony. :P


Dude are you kidding me?! Have you tried playing an FPS on a ps3 controller? It's just plain flaky and uncomftrable.