I've been playing Video Games since the golden age, Atari 2600, Commodore 64 and of course the original Nintendo. At some point I've played every mainstream system. Including oddities like the Magnavox Odyssey 2, Collecovision, Atari Lynx (light years ahead of the Gameboy) and the TurboGraphx 16. With each successful generation I've evaluated and purchased what I considered to be the best and most versatile system. I'm not one to buy two or three of the mainstream gaming systems since I consider this a waste of money and completely unnecessary. A good gaming PC and one solid pure gaming console will satisfy just about everyone's gaming needs. Since each has it's advantages and disadvantages depending on the type and genre of game being played. The hybrid PC/Gaming console (Xbox) has managed to sucker in those who do not know any better.
Power vs. Price:
The argument about the power of gaming consoles to PCs by price is true on the initial release year of said console. If you have been following consoles and there roughly 5-6 year cycle per generation, you will see how quickly PCs have been able to eclipse the mightiest of them. Either way I am not denying this. Consoles have their place and I understand this and have owned one each generation. Just don't kid yourself on power; future proofing is a marketing gimmick. PC power will surpass any console within the first to second year of their release. Now looking at the specifications of all the new consoles (Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo) they ALL look to be powerful and feature filled. Specifications aside, the titles in the end will determine any consoles success. The wise decision would be to wait until you can evaluate the titles for each system instead of impulse buying based on something like a tri-level CPU core design and hoping the games takes advantage of it.
Nintendo introduced the first decent console controller with the NES. Sega included a solid one with the Genesis and Nintendo made an even better one with the SNES. The true breakthrough came with Sony's original Playstation controller, a design so successful that its dual shock hybrid only under went minor changes (pressure sensitive buttons) to carry on with the PS2. The Xbox however initially introduced a monstrous controller with horrendous button placement. Somehow systems were sold like this? Did anyone test this before buying the Xbox? Did even Microsoft spend more then $50 on controller design? The Xbox 360's controller looks to rectify that original bad decision by including a better-sized design with a slightly better layout. Regardless it doesn't look to hold a candle to Sony's comfortable design that has been upgraded to an even sleeker sexier one with the PS3. Sony out of the big 3 is the only one to, in my opinion, keep the more logical layout of D-pad and analog controllers, positioning the D-pad level with the main buttons and both analog controllers below them.
And the point of this is? Simple the original Playstation controller was the single biggest reason I purchased a PS1 after owning my SNES. (Well that and Sega's history of dumping console support midstream.) The moral is to test all the consoles controllers before making a decision.
Why I will never buy an Xbox:
To understand why, you have to understand what the Xbox is:
The Xbox is nothing more then a glorified PC running a proprietary Microsoft Operating System with proprietary PC game titles.
Games that for no other reason then some coding routines or copy protection could run easily on the PC. Especially since they are already! As if this was not insult enough Microsoft has the audacity to charge you a monthly subscription (Xbox Live) to play multiplayer games over your broadband connection you already pay for? Yet the same PC game title running on your PC would be free to play multiplayer. Do you see the problem here? Since the Xbox is a PC why can it not play PC titles and visa-versa? Why are you being charged extra for multiplayer features of a title that if run on a PC would be free? Why? Because Microsoft thinks you are suckers.
Update: The Xbox 360 looks to introduce a new feature parents need to take notice to. Xbox Live will include a Live "Marketplace" that will let players purchase add-ons to games such as new levels. Updates and new levels to games on a PC are downloaded free of charge. You can also purchase Demos? Please, how much of a sucker are you to pay directly just for game Demos? Demos are free to download on a PC I might add. Hum, so now little Johnny will be able to run his parents credit card up with payments added conveniently to the Xbox live monthly bill no doubt. I don't think so, sucker someone else Microsoft.