Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Wednesday, November 20, 2002
Video Games--- One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive is, "What's the deal with the PS2 hard drive? Where the hell is it? I thought it was supposed to be out months ago!" From everything I have heard, it was just earlier this year that Sony finally started to realize how much of a nightmare it would be to release a hard drive add-on for a video game console, an add-on that would cost $100 at the very least. Only a tiny percentage of PS2 owners would buy it (since every peripheral over $50 has failed miserably since the beginning of video game history), and an equally small percentage of games would support the hard drive. The PS2 hard drive would basically to be doomed to failure from the start unless it was bundled with every PS2 ever sold from the beginning, which it wasn't.

Why it took Sony this long to realize such an obvious fact is beyond me, but at least they did realize that fact before releasing the damn thing. There's a small chance that Sony will still release the hard drive in the US at some point next year, but it's becoming less and less likely with each passing week and month. If they do release the hard drive in the US, it will only serve to dilute and fragment the PS2 marketplace.

As for the question of manually putting a hard drive into the back of a PS2 system and getting it to work, I'm sure it could be done and I'm sure that someone has probably done it somewhere. But once it's set up, then what? If zero games support it, there would be no use for such a hard drive. PlayStation 2 games will not take advantage of any hard drive add-on unless the game is specifically programmed to do so, and game developers have no motivation to add such a feature to their games if the PS2 hard drive is never even released in the US.

As with many other aspects of the Xbox vs. PS2 vs. GameCube war (like Xbox Live vs. the PS2's Clusterf--k Network vs. the GameCube's Non-Existent Network), Microsoft is the only company that had the foresight to get it right. Microsoft made sure that every Xbox system ever sold had a hard drive built-in, no matter how much money it would cost the company. As a result, there's no add-on for consumers to buy, and game publishers know that 100% of Xbox owners have Xbox hard drives. With this knowledge in mind, game companies are actually taking advantage of its capabilities and making better games.

Games like Project Ego, BC, Halo 2, Brute Force, UFC Tapout 2, Ninja Gaiden, Project Gotham Racing 2, Perfect Dark Zero, and Doom 3 quickly come to mind, and not one of the games on that list will be released for any other console. Developers have only hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of all the unique possibilites that the Xbox hard drive offers for innovative game design. As a result, the difference in general game quality between the Xbox and PS2 is likely to swing more and more in the Xbox's favor in 2003 and 2004. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that there will ever be more Xbox systems in people's homes worldwide than PS2 systems, but it does mean that the Xbox may quickly become the system of choice for hardcore gamers.