Like the OP I started out as a Sony fan with the PS1 being a truly fantastic console, the only competition really coming close to me being in the form of the much lamented Dreamcast.
Then came the PS2 and XBox which I rushed out to get both. As time passed I found there were the exclusives which got bought for each system but common titles I was buying for XBox instead, the XBox had definately taken the limelight at the time. The controller I preferred for a start, those two analogue triggers on top of the analogue sticks were fantastic for driving games compared to the (sort of) analogue buttons on the PS2. Live was an innovation and so so welcome, with mixed results on the PC at multi-player it was great to have this system that worked so damn well. Best of all was the custom soundtracks as my music tastes can be a tad esoteric, there I was playing games like PGR driving around areas I knew and with my own music exactly as if I would have been; it really added to the immersion factor. The only drawback with the XBox was a lack of my favourite genre, being RPG, which even games like KoToR (I & II), Fable, Jade Empire, Morrowind did not fully satisfy. About that time the only reason my PS2 was ever being used was to play the PS1 FF games as I actually resented the PS2 a fair bit with the abortions that were FFX & FFX2 (odd how a game can make you feel like that).
So I had switched then from PS being in the limelight to XBox, despite other consoles being owned it was only really between those two, and when the 360 came out I just had to buy. So in comparing the 360 with the previous it had the following pros and cons:
- definately looks a hell of a lot better (even prompting a HD TV purchase)
- Live has improved considerably
- the new controller is incredibly comfortable and well designed
- Oblivion, a great redresser in the RPG stakes.
- With MCE the unit acting as a media centre is excellent
- a fantastic price for what you get
- it was a mistake not to make the HD integral and supported for games
- the noise. When not playing a game off the DVD it is barely noticable but the noise really increases when that DVD spins up. You tend not to notice after a while but still..
- BC. Okay the PS3 is touting 100% but if you read the articles that does not guarantee all games only those satisfied certain technical requirements, but still better than 360. It's improving on 360 (hey, I am playing KoToR at the moment again) but still a lot of good titles missing.
All in all just very impressed with the 360 and have no regrets on the purchase. As time has passed on that score and the PS3 has loomed I was possibly a little more than casually interested in the PS3, but that interest has waned considerably in the light of developer comments, over-hyping that is shot to pieces, reducing specs, the joke that has become true HD, enforced BR (why?? there is just no need for it), a comparatively very high cost, and all for seeming to add little,if anything, over the 360. That's the real problem if you have a 360, the PS3 is just not offering much at all at the moment and for a greater cost which means a 500 quid outlay for the unit and a couple of games. Even the 'GIIIAAAANNNTTTT mutant crabs' are just not drumming any appeal *rotf*. Until the exclusive titles add up (and FF XIII is released) and the price drops there is just no reason to get one, certainly no evident benefit to me in racing out to get one.
It's a more difficult decision if you do not have a 360 though and face the choice between that or a PS3, or even throw the Wii into the mix which is looking to be excellent. People will argue the points till they're blue in the face as to which is better, especially since the PS3 will (let's be kind) feature many of the strengths of the XBox/360. And if you are a Sony fanboy (self-admitted) then you will probably have to go with the PS3, purely because every good point that gets raised about and PS3 game will leave you doubting if you got a 360. If you are more in the XBox camp then the 360 is a great bit of kit with some great games already, not to mention the next few months looking rather special. And if you are in neither camp then I think the smart move would be to go with 360 and a Wii for that PS3 price, then start saving for a PS3 later when the prices and software catalogue are more appealing.