September 14, 2009

360 vs PS3 - Which Offers the Better Games?

Troy Benedict Says Welcome to part 3 of the pound-per-pound comparison of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. In the first part of the series, I compared each system's online experience. In the second part, the home theater aspects of each machine were discussed. For this article, I will compare both console's game library, and determine which system offers the best games. What constitutes a good game or a bad game is very subjective, so for this comparison I went to Metacritic's web site and took a snapshot on September 4, 2009 of the entire list of review scores for each system's available games. The results were broken down into three categories:

  1. Multiplatform Titles - games that have been released for both consoles.
  2. Exclusive Titles - games that are available only on one console. They are exclusive, whether it a current timed-exclusive or an indefinite exclusivity. These can include disc-based releases or downloadable games (PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Arcade titles, for example).
  3. Total Games Library - this is a combination of exclusive and multiplatform games released for both consoles.

Within each category, you will see two tables of information:

  1. The first table breaks down the totals and averages for that category based on the titles' review score ranges. For example, you can see the average review score for games that scored between an 80 and 89 rating, the number of games that were rated within that 80-90 point range, and the percentage of titles that averaged between an 80-89 score compared to the other score ranges of that particular category (multiplatform, exclusive, or total library).

  2. The second table breaks down the review scores, for each category, based on the year that game was released, and the average review score.

Each category will also have the overall averages for each system, as well as the list of top-rated games per console. For the multiplatform and exclusive releases I have included each console's lowest-rated game -- just for fun!

Multiplatform Titles:
Multiplatform games are available on both the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3.

Of the 263 games available on both systems, the Xbox 360 average score is .7 points higher than the PlayStation 3's.

Average Review Score (Out of 100) For Multiplatform Titles

  • Xbox 360: 71.1
  • PlayStation 3: 70.4



Highest-Rated Multiplatform Games:

Xbox 360:

  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) - Average Score:98

PlayStation3:

  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) - Average Score:98

Best Xbox 360 Multiplatform Games (Average Score 90 or greater):

  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) Average Score: 98
  • BioShock (2008) Average Score: 96
  • Orange Box, The (2007) Average Score: 96
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) Average Score: 94
  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The (2007) Average Score: 94
  • Street Fighter IV (2009) Average Score: 93
  • Fallout 3 (2008) Average Score: 93
  • Rock Band (2007) Average Score: 92
  • Rock Band 2 (2008) Average Score: 92
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) Average Score: 92

Best PlayStation 3 Multiplatform Games (Average Score 90 or greater):

  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) Average Score: 98
  • BioShock (2008) Average Score: 94
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) Average Score: 94
  • Street Fighter IV (2009) Average Score: 94
  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The (2007) Average Score: 93
  • Rock Band (2007) Average Score: 92
  • Rock Band 2 (2008) Average Score: 91
  • Fallout 3 (2008) Average Score: 90
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) Average Score: 90
  • Guitar Hero 5 (2009) Average Score: 90

Lowest-Rated Multiplatform Games

Xbox 360:

  • Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (2009) - Average Score: 25

PlayStation3:

  • Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (2009) - Average Score: 18

There has been a long-standing debate about whether or not the Xbox 360 offers a better version releases.

The stats do not lie. The averages of all multiplatform releases do favor the Xbox 360. However, the differences are so insignificant with less than a 1 point difference.

Both systems have the same highest and lowest scoring games, GTA4 and Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, respectively.

The review scores were very similar. 90% of the games varied by a 4-point, or less, difference in review scores.Of the 263 compared multiplatform games:

  • 45 games received the same average review score.
  • 89 games received a 1-point difference average review scores.
  • 48 games received a 2-point difference average review scores.
  • 31 games received a 3-point difference average review scores.
  • 23 games received a 4-point difference average review scores.
  • 27 games received a 5-point or greater difference in the average review scores.
  • F.E.A.R. was the game with the biggest discrepancy, a 13-point difference. The game was released in 2006 for the Xbox 360 and received an average score of 85. It was released on the PlayStation 3 in 2007 and received an average score of 72.
  • 133 games were reviewed higher on the Xbox 360 by an average of 2.7 points.
  • 85 games were reviewed higher on the PlayStation 3 by an average of 2.1 points.

Xbox 360 enthusiasts may be pleased to know that their system edges out the competition with a VERY slight edge, and they have more higher-reviewed games, but here is an interesting fact. The 360 had the better multiplatform games in 2006, 2007, and 2008, but the PlayStation 3 is offering is dominating this year's multiplatform releases.Verdict
The numbers don't lie. Even if it's a slight advantage, the Xbox 360 offers the better multiplatform experience over the PlayStation 3. However, if the trend continues in the table above, the PlayStation 3 may very well offer the better experience for 2009's releases.

Exclusive Titles

Average Review Score (Out of 100) For System Exclusive Title:

  • Xbox 360: 66.4 (433 games)
  • PlayStation 3: 72.0 (127 games)


Highest-Rated Exclusive Game(s)
Xbox 360:

  • Gears of War (2006) - Average Score: 94
  • Halo 3 (2007) - Average Score: 94

PlayStation3:

  • LittleBigPlanet (2008) - Average Score:95

Best Xbox 360 Exclusive Games (Average Score 90 or greater):

  • Gears of War (2006) Average Score: 94
  • Halo 3 (2007) Average Score: 94
  • Braid (2008) Average Score: 93
  • Gears of War 2 (2008) Average Score: 93
  • Guitar Hero II (2007) Average Score: 92
  • Mass Effect (2007) Average Score: 91
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (2006) Average Score: 90
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned (2009) Average Score: 90
  • Portal: Still Alive (2008) Average Score: 90
  • Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 (2008) Average Score: 90
  • Forza Motorsport 2 (2007) Average Score: 90

Best PlayStation 3 Exclusive Games (Average Score of 90 or greater):

  • LittleBigPlanet (2008) Average Score: 95
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008) Average Score: 94
  • Killzone 2 (2009) Average Score: 91
  • MLB 09: The Show (2009) Average Score: 90

Lowest-Rated Exclusive Game(s)
Xbox 360:

  • Yaris (2007) - Average Score: 17
PlayStation 3:
  • Vampire Rain: Altered Species (2008) - Average Score: 30
    Note: Vampire Rain is also available on Xbox 360, but this version features content not included in the 360 release, hence making it an exclusive title.
It might be shocking to see such a stark difference between the exclusive 360 releases and those on the PlayStation 3. The PlayStation is leading the march with a 72 point average versus the Xbox's 66.4. That quite a significant lead!


There is a reason for the 360's lower averages: the Xbox Live Arcade releases. The Xbox 360 offers a significantly larger number exclusive titles, more than 3 times what can only be purchased for a PlayStation, but a majority of those releases are less-than-stellar Xbox Live Arcade games. As you can see from the details above, Xbox 360's lowest-rated exclusive was, in fact, the free Xbox Live Arcade title Yaris.

Year to year, the Xbox 360 has offered more exclusives, almost 4 times as many in 2007, than the PlayStation 3. The Xbox 360 also has a significantly larger number of top-rated exclusive games, with 11 titles compared to PlayStation 3's 4 games.


Verdict
To be truly honest, the real answer to who wins the exclusive games category can't be made by dissecting review scores. The idea behind exclusivity is to offer something that the other guy doesn't have, in order to generate interest in your product over the competition's. Exclusives all come down to preference, and each system offers experiences that can't be made on the other system.

Based on numbers alone, the PlayStation 3 has a much higher average review score for it's exclusive titles. That being said, the PS3 also offers less than one-third of the exclusive games found on the 360.


Is it better to have a larger number of games to choose from -- with a guaranteed Xbox 360 Arcade release (or two, or three) each week? Or do you go with less variety and a slightly higher quality?

In situations like these, it makes me glad to own both systems.


Total Games Library (All Releases)

Average Review Score (Out of 100) For All Releases:
  • Xbox 360: 68.2 (696 games)
  • PlayStation 3: 70.9 (390 games)
Best of the Xbox 360 (Average Score 90 or greater):
  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) Average Score: 98
  • BioShock (2007) Average Score: 96
  • Orange Box, The (2007) Average Score: 96
  • Gears of War (2006) Average Score: 94
  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The (2006) Average Score: 94
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) Average Score: 94
  • Halo 3 (2007) Average Score: 94
  • Braid (2008) Average Score: 93
  • Street Fighter IV (2009) Average Score: 93
  • Fallout 3 (2008) Average Score: 93
  • Gears of War 2 (2008) Average Score: 93
  • Guitar Hero II (2007) Average Score: 92
  • Rock Band (2007) Average Score: 92
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) Average Score: 92
  • Rock Band 2 (2008) Average Score: 92
  • Mass Effect (2007) Average Score: 91
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (2006) Average Score: 90
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned (2009) Average Score: 90
  • Portal: Still Alive (2008) Average Score: 90
  • Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 (2008) Average Score: 90
  • Forza Motorsport 2 (2007) Average Score: 90

Best of the PlayStation 3 (Average Score 90 or greater):

  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) Average Score: 98
  • LittleBigPlanet (2008) Average Score: 95
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) Average Score: 94
  • BioShock (2008) Average Score: 94
  • Street Fighter IV (2009) Average Score: 94
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008) Average Score: 94
  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The (2007) Average Score: 93
  • Rock Band (2007) Average Score: 92
  • Rock Band 2 (2008) Average Score: 91
  • Killzone 2 (2009) Average Score: 91
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) Average Score: 90
  • Fallout 3 (2008) Average Score: 90
  • MLB 09: The Show (2009) Average Score: 90
  • Guitar Hero 5 (2009) Average Score: 90
Verdict
The Total Games Library is a combination of both the exclusives and multiplatform games.


Numbers don't lie, but they don't always tell the whole truth, either. The numbers say that the PlayStation 3 offers the better overall experience. The trend in multiplatform games in 2009 seems to favor the PlayStation 3 as of early September. Does the fact that the 360 has 21 games with an average score of 90 or greater, compared to PS3's 14, make any difference? Or that the 360 offers the larger number of exclusives games by more than 300 titles? Or that the 360 had a year's head-start?

I'm going to leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide the final answer on this one. I, like the lawyer, present to you, the judge and jury, the facts.


Next up, the final comparison: each system's unique hardware offerings.

Digg!