I like my xbox 360 but it depends on what games you want. I would make a list of games you want for each system. Some games are on both. The only downside to the 360 is the gold account which is around 54 a year where with ps3 its free. But xbox has a lot of games.
So essentially what I would do is find exclusive games you want from each, aka gears of war for xbox 360 or metal gear for ps3
If you want a Blu-ray player with a few decent games, go with PS3. The Xbox has a better selection of games but has notorious issues with overheating. I don't know much about the PS3 online community but the Xbox Live community is at times terrible (And you have to pay for it).
Overheating has "mostly" been taken care of; but even if you do get a red-ring-of-death, MS now gives a 3 year warranty for red ring problems. I got my first red-ring recently, I had a refurbished replacement from MS in my hands 4 business days later. Probably one of the first times I've actually been impressed by MS.
For me they both have pro's and con's there is not a clear winner here. While I am more of a Sony Fan Boy I must also take the other side time to time and say there really is no clear winner.
If you want to knit pick ps3 can play blu ray movies 360 cant.
If you want wifi with 360 that’s extra. Ps3 comes standard as well as bluetooth to connect Any headset where 360 your stuck with what they give you (but this also means not everyone will have a headset during a online game while 360 everyone has a headset.)
You can swap out the hard drive of the ps3 and upgrade it on the fly (very simple) xbox has its own proprietary hd of dooom that is way over priced.
Ps3 has the psp. If you have a psp you can remotely play old ps1 games from your ps3 streaming all through wifi. You can control your ps3 with your psp even turn it on and off remotely any place in the world (with wifi)
So if you’re a mobile gamer psp is a lot of fun. The iphone / i pod touch is not a gaming platform as far as I am concerned. (okay okay at least the free demo games I played... dont see the point)
Your going to have to buy a HDMI cable for both if you want HD quality. You can pick them up online for like 3 bucks max.
I personally feel the ps3 is more for tech nerds that must have all the bells and whistles. The 360 is more for people that just want to play and dont care as much to have it all. Because if you want it all you can just upgrade (hence the wifi N adaptor is 100 bucks!)
One last thing I forgot ps3 uses blu ray disks for games which means they can fit a HUGE amount of data on a disk. 360 can only hold I think what is it 9gigs?
Again to make it clear these are all real nit pick things. Which in the big picture does not matter as you may have more fun flipping a coin to make the decision :P
I think Colin is exactly right, in-that you should look at what games you want and see if they are exclusive on one of the systems.
You didn't mention Wii, so I'm assuming you aren't looking for 'party' games - or you already have one.
Also a sidebar about online costs: on the 360 a silver account is free, and there are a good number of games that can be played online with the silver account. Some games do require the gold account though, which as mentioned is not free. So if this might play a factor, you might check to see if the game you're planning to play online requires a gold account.
I would go with the PS3 if you are looking at the console for more than just gaming. The fact that you can now buy the PS3 for $250 is quite impressive considering that it is a blue ray player, a gaming console, and a multimedia platform. As far as games go the PS3 more so specializes in the rpg genre and the more in depth time consuming games where as the Xbox is all about the action packed first person shooters. However it also has some quite impressive down loadable games such as Flower and Crash Commando. Also everything that Morgan said about the PSP and curing diseases and that is true and is actually quite entertaining and bad ass.
On a side note, the PS3 gets so hot that it can actually cause the Xbox to red ring out. Really, who doesn't want a gaming console that literally destroys the competition?
your grandma is buying it, so its really based on preference of titles. I really don't know if someone who wants others to decide is really going to have a game or hardware preference anyway. No offense by that, its just I have things like games I like already or features I like personally.
If you like Metal Gear Solid, Uncharted or God of War go with PS3
If you like Halo, Gears of War or Fable go with 360
These are all great games, I wish I could play all of them.
And both consoles share overheating issues, so don't let anyone tell you a 360 is worse because of it, and besides when its under warranty you get it fixed for free.