Thanks to iCloud and our AppleTV, I realized that we don’t really need to keep our Mac Mini around at home just as a media server. We could instead replace our DVD player and our Mini with a game system—and get the benefits of having a game system as well. I may be a Serious Web Designer now, but growing up, I adored games. I also spent a year as a digital artist at a now-defunct game studio in Santa Cruz, so I have a deep appreciation for the craft that goes into a good game.

We promptly went shopping and picked up an XBOX 360 with Kinect. I was very interested in this system, since it seemed to have a lot going for it that our little three-year-old would enjoy. However, I was soon completely let down by the device, and returned it within 24 hours, replacing it with a PlayStation 3 with Move.

Here are my issues with the XBOX, all of which were remedied by the PlayStation:

  • The XBOX had a miniscule hard drive, and a seriously small limit to its external storage (16 gigabytes!). So it wouldn’t really work as a media server. Our PS3, by comparison, has a 320 gigabyte drive, and can accept any properly-formatted USB drive as well.
  • The unit is promoted as being a way to watch services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and so forth… but what they don’t mention is that you have to pay Microsoft $60 a year! That’s not the case with my AppleTV, and it’s not the case with the PlayStation.
  • The user interface is filled with ads. This isn’t a show-stopper, but I’ve built my “entertainment system” with the concept of zero ads in mind. I’m not about to change that now.
  • The Kinect doesn’t really work that well. It’s a cool idea, and apparently a hot seller, but I was disappointed. It doesn’t really work for small kids, and when the room’s lighting wasn’t just right, it didn’t really work for me.
  • Finally, I came to discover that most of the really interesting, nontraditional, “indie” games are PlayStation-exclusive. Games like LittleBigPlanet and Journey and many more. These kinds of games fascinate me.

So we’re already much happier with the PlayStation 3. I think we’ve made the right decision. It does help that our daughter totally loves the Everybody Dance game that we’ve been playing with her…