I don't think that we needed to get up early and dash up town. But we did anyway. At 8:00 am there were around 10 people outside the Game shop, but in Virgin, where number one son had placed his order, things were very quiet. So number one son got his machine, and then I got mine. Hint: If you are a student you can get 10% of the machine and any games at the moment at Virgin, if you can find one in stock...
Actually, finding a Playstation 3 in stock does not look like too much of a stretch at the moment. Everywhere we went we saw signs advertising the fact that there are plenty to go around. Whether this is gamer apathy, good production by Sony or the high price of the console remains to be seen, but it does look like anyone who wants a Playstation 3 can just go and buy one.
Then again, the "sold out" phenomenon is not how it has always been, I remember buying a PS1 when it came out and that was certainly not an all night queuing job, I seem to recall getting that a week or so after launch. I guess it all started with the PS2, and everyone now expects demand to outstrip supply or the launch is deemed a failure..
Anyhoo, we got the machines home and fired them up. Mine is plumbed into the big telly and the decent sound system and fits very nicely. It was a bit of a pain to have to endure a twenty minute firmware upgrade before I could play with the games, but the results on MotorStorm were worth the wait. I got three game titles (I've been saving up for a while), the other two being Sega Virtua Tennis (so realistic that in my first game Tim Henman lost) and Resistance: Fall of Man (not played it yet but it has Grimsby in it so it must be great).
I must admit that MotorStorm is so good I've not played anything else much yet. It shows the console off for what it is, a very powerful beast. There are lots of different vehicles on the screen at any one time and they all bounce off the scenery and each other in a very realistic way. If I have one criticism it is that it shares with many other race games the "First to Twelfth" behaviour where slightly misjudging the final corner can take you from a winning position to last in the field as they all tear past you. But then again, this might actually be quite realistic.
The console itself is an impressive piece of kit. It runs very quietly, is immaculately presented and has one or two really neat touches. I loaded a bunch of pictures onto it and it has this very groovy viewer where your shots are dropped onto a tabletop as if they were real prints. I'm pretty much going to get my entire record collection onto the thing, and a goodly number of my photos too. I downloaded the demo of Gran Turismo and things look very pretty. Tonight we watched the Blu-Ray version of Casino Royale and it was awesome, with genuinely jaw dropping quality.
This must be around the best time to get a video game console. There are no bad ones out there. Each of the three has something to commend it. Hard core gamers moving into the next generation can go for the XBOX 360, where its maturity and good range of software pay dividends. Those after a quick fix of sociable good-times can go for the Wii. And those who want something to put under the telly which will serve as a media hub, get them into HD video and with the promise of some genuine innovation in the future can dig deep into their pockets and splash out on a PS3.