Whatever you think about Sony and its infuriating "We're just going to win because we have the PlayStation brand" attitude -- and I've thought plenty -- you can't deny that the PS3 is a serious piece of kit. I'm looking forward to the launch (Sony has finally deigned to name 23 March as the date) -- but mainly because I won't be shelling out £425 to buy one.
And while many people have serious reservations about the consequences of emphasising graphics performance -- that gameplay could be sidelined -- it doesn't have to be that way. If you've seen video of MotorStorm in action, you'd have to agree that graphical and physical realism can add a thrilling viscerality to games, and racing games in particular. MotorStorm will be a PS3 launch title here in the UK.
Another genre at the forefront of pushing graphical boundaries is the first-person shooter. The FPS has been the engine driving the PC graphics-card wars for the last decade, because the better the graphics, the more detail you can see, so the better your performance against players with worse setups. The Xbox's Live service created an accessible, level playing field for the FPS -- Halo 2 and latterly Gears of War have been major drivers of growth for the service.
Sony has responded with Resistance: Fall of Man, a grimy sci-fi title set in the urban wastelands of Britain, which offers a whacking 40-player online mode. This approaches the numbers on offer in PC online FPSes and blitzes that available on Xbox 360. Check out our sister site GameSpot for a full review.
As well as some impressive new titles, Sony has some mighty franchises to call upon. Final Fantasy XIII, Gran Turismo HD, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and Tekken 6 are all without launch dates as yet, but expect most of them this year. Grand Theft Auto 4 does have a firm date, 19 October, but it isn't exclusive to PlayStation any more -- Xbox 360 will have it on the same date. Also dual-format is Virtua Fighter 5, which will be a launch title for the PS3 here.
Honestly, I don't care which ginormous multinational corporation takes more money from this generation of consoles, but I am glad Microsoft and Nintendo have formulated strategies that can realistically challenge the might of the PlayStation brand. Simply put, it should mean more good games this year, and for several years to come.