Originally Posted by drsimnal
Although XBL is only $50 if you game online. You can be on XBL and visit the marketplace, etc. for free (i.e. silver membership).
Ya; with a Silver account (the free XML account) you can keep friends lists, voice chat with your friends, track your achievements and compare with other, download free demos and videos as well as rent VODs, buy original xbox titles, arcade games and game content. The only thing you get when you pay for a gold account is access to online multiplayer. The exception to this rule is Finaly Fantasy XI (a MMORPG) where you can play online with just a silver account (this is because FFXI has its own monthly MMO subscription fee)
WRT HD-DVD/VOD and HDCP; currently you can watch downloaded HD VODs and HD-DVDs over a component interconnect without any trouble. The movie studios are making noise to the effect that they are going to force platforms to down sample HD movie content to SD if it is going to be delivered over component. To date this has not happened yet. I would not be too worried if it does because all new Xbox360s have HDMI built it (not just the elite). If you are buying a used xbox, you might want to check to see if it has it or not.
I am quite a serious gamer - I play pretty much every game type on every platform. I have an XB360 and have used friends' PS3s and honestly the only thing that the PS3 has going for it is BluRay movie support. Xbox has far more games in general, and its exclusive titles library is quite excelent as well. PS3 simply has no exclusive titles that would warrent paying for a PS3. In addition, the whole XBL marketplace has become quite a polished and powerful feature. PS3 is still playing catch-up with its marketplace, and everyone I have talked to about it tells me that it is a slow and miserable experience.
In addition, if you use media center anywhere in your house, XBox is a media center extender as well. No need to rack up a hot and noisy HTPC in your theater (you can just rack up a hot and noisy xbox instead :P)
Since HD-DVD seems to be dying, I will be picking up a used PS3 as my BluRay player from ebay pretty soon. It is still the best and cheapest bluray player out there (since they keep upgrading the player SW). I expect to pay about 200-250 to someone who purchased a PS3 and has realized that as a gaming system, it really has nothing great to offer.
If you are purchasing the system primarily for games, XBox is clearly the superior platform. Only a die hard PS3 fanboy would even attempt to tell you any differently. Wii is also an interesting system with some fun games; but it is clearly targeted for a different audience. My approach is to just have both. I have owned every single console gaming platform released since the playstation 1 (and going back before that, pretty much every one but the NeoGeo and the Sega Saturn all the way back to the original 8bit NES... yes I do own a dreamcast >.>) I am the type of person who will (and has) purchase a console to play just a single exclusive title (Mario Sunshine for the Nintendo Gamecube). Even so - I will probably never buy a single game for the PS3 I plan to purchase. Most likely, it will just be my BluRay player and nothing more. Unless Sony starts to seriously get its act together and sign some good content to their platform, there is simply no reason to.
BTW - Most xboxs come with a free year of XBL gold membership. Give it a try sometime - the experience has come a long way since the original xbox 1platform. My current addiction is online CoD4... The single player game was fantastic but the multiplayer is just over-the-top fun.