I've seen Sony's PlayStation 3 games console. It's too big and blocky, and it looks like a cheap and ancient VHS video recorder. Now, looks aren't everything, as my old mum always tells me, but if I'm to shell out the GDP of a small country on the last word in gaming chic, I don't want it to bring down property prices and stink out my living room with its tacky, fat visage.
Last night Sony were kind enough to take me to a warehouse in east London and show me a good time. Now I may think its PS3 is over-priced and ugly, but I'll say this for the Japanese conglomerate: its staff know how to throw a party. Stuffed with burgers and beer, I spent my evening cheerfully faffing with a PS3 while keeping an eye on the footie. If it hadn't have been for the SingStar karaoke, I would still be there now. (It's a defining characteristic of yer average IT hack that he thinks he can sing, but he really can't sing.)
So what's the PS3 like? Well, it's pretty good. As yet I couldn't honestly say that gameplay is a wholly new experience, but the visuals are indisputably stunning. (Well, they were stunning on Sony's 50in HD widescreen TV, anyway.) And wireless controllers are the future. It shouldn't make a huge difference, but it does. Fully supine gaming is here, folks, get some beers in the fridge.
On the down side, the buttons on the machine itself were fiddly to use, load times are hefty and I miss the 'rumble' of the wired PS2 controller.
So far so sort of okay, then. But I didn't leave Sony's Shoreditch batchelor pad with a burning desire to buy a PS3.
I've got a PS2, and it gets regular use, I don't yet feel the need for a Blu-ray drive and, crucially, I don't have an HD TV. So not only would I need to find more than £400 to buy the console itself (£700 for the privilege of being first), I'd then have to get an HD TV. (And an HDMI cable, for that matter, as it's not included.)
I could just about manage it, but my girlfriend would (literally) kill me, and I'd have to sell my flat and make a living as a professional Tekken hustler, shambling around the bars of London. Actually, now I come to think of it... No. The PS3 is just not that good.
Given the relative paucity of upcoming PS3 games releases, its tawdry looks and its ridiculous pricing, it's fair to say I am unlikely to be an early adopter. And games developers seem to share my misgivings. Give me the cheap and cheerful kicks the Wii doles out, any day of the week.
Is that a VHS recorder? How quaint