There has been a great deal of discussion regarding the two most popular gaming consoles currently on the market: Playstation 2 (PS2) and Xbox. PS2 is a Sony product, while Xbox is owned by the software giant Microsoft. Many different people have worked with these gaming systems inside and out, attempting to determine which system provides the best performance for your hard-earned gaming dollar. Here we take a look at each gaming system and compare the specs and performance of each. We will attempt to answer that age-old question: which is the better gaming system, Xbox or PS2?
You can take a look at a table comparing hardware specs here.
There are many specs in addition to the ones listed above, but these should give you some idea of just how close these two game consoles really are. If you are looking for pure processing power and graphics capabilities, the Xbox appears to have a slight advantage. In addition, its computer-like features, such as a built-in hard drive are nice to have. With the PS2 you must purchase a memory card if you run out of storage room. When comparing raw power and extra features, the Xbox wins - but you have to keep in mind that the PS2 was released first, and there are additional things to consider besides system specs.
What about Multi-player Capabilities?
Both the Xbox and PS2 have multi-player capability. You can hook up a series of both consoles so that you and your friends can play games together at the same time. The Xbox may be connected using a home LAN system, much like your home computers (here's another example of how the Xbox is more like a specialized gaming computer). The PS2 may be connected using a link cable, not a LAN. This system may be cost prohibitive for some gamers, since you have to own multiple consoles, seperate TVs for each, and several copies of the same game (yep, that's expensive).
Of course, you can always ditch the local network and play through the internet. Bboth PS2 and Xbox allow you to play online against a random assortment of opponents. Xbox uses Xbox live, a fairly well supported online gaming network. PS2's network is not as popular as Xbox Llive, but it works fairly well all the same. If you are really into multi-player, it seems that Xbox is probably the best console for you.
Xbox Games vs. PS2 Games
When deciding which of these two game consoles is best for you, you should certainly take into consideration what types of games each offers, and which games you are most interested in playing. PS2, having been around a little while longer, tends to have the larger game library, but Xbox is not terribly far behind. In addition, Xbox tends to produce games geared more towards adults than children. The graphics seen on the new Xbox games are also clearly a step ahead of PS2 graphics. There is, however, nearly a PS2 game for everyone, and there are lot of PS2 games geared towards teenagers. If you are looking for games for kids, the Nintendo Gamecube may actually be a better choice than either of these two - and it's cheaper.
Some other things you may want to consider when comparing PS2 and Xbox is the controller provided by each. These may not seem like a big factor at first glance, but people usually prefer one type of controller over the other. The Xbox controllers tend to be slightly larger than PS2, mainly because Xbox is designed with older gamers in mind. You can always buy a converter in order to get one game console controller to work with another.
As far as price goes, PS2 has typically been cheaper than Xbox. As of the time of this writing (Dec. 2004), PS2 retails for about $150 and Xbox $100. Game prices are very similar for both game systems, with most new games costing about $30 - $50.
The bottom line is, PS2 is a little older than the Xbox, and is geared for a younger gaming crowd. If you are buying this console for a teenager, the PS2 may actually be your best bet - they have more games, the console is cheaper, and the games are more appropriate for that age group. The Xbox is a little more expensive, has fewer games, but it out-performs PS2 and has more adult-oriented games.
Bradley James is a senior editor for http://www.scinet.cc, a consumer electronics review website. You can find more information about Xbox vs. PS2 at: http://www.scinet.cc/articles/xbox-vs-ps2/xbox-ps2.html