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PlayStation 3


The PlayStation 3 (officially marketed PLAYSTATION 3,[5] commonly abbreviated PS3) is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles. In sales and market share, it is currently in third place.[6] The system was first released on November 11, 2006, in Japan, November 17, 2006 in North America and Asia, and March 23, 2007 in Europe and Oceania. It is the first console with next-gen primary storage media, Blu-ray Disc, though it also supports DVDs, CDs, HDDs and with some models SACDs.[7][8] It is capable of playing back content from Blu-ray Disc (BD) at a bit rate of multiplex 48Mbps, the maximum bit rate defined in BD standards.



Sony officially unveiled the PlayStation 3 to the public on May 16, 2005, during the E3 2005 conference. A functional version of the system was not present there, as a working system was not readily available due to power failures and hardware problems, nor at the Tokyo Game Show in September 2005, although demonstrations (such as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots) were held at both events on devkits and comparable PC hardware. Video footage based on the predicted PlayStation 3 specifications was also shown (e.g. Mobile Suit Gundam).[9]


The system was initially planned to have two HDMI ports, three Ethernet ports and six USB ports, though at E3 2006 this was later reduced to one HDMI port, one ethernet port and four USB ports, presumably to cut costs.[10] Also announced were two configurations of the console, a "60 GB" and "20 GB", for $599/€599 and $499/€499 respectively. The 60 GB would be the only configuration to feature a HDMI port, Wifi and a chrome trim with the logo in silver. It was announced for a global release date, November 11th for Japan and November 17th for North America and Europe.

On September 6, 2006, Sony announced that the PAL region (Europe and Oceania) PlayStation 3 launch had been delayed until March 2007, due to a shortage of diodes used in the Blu-ray Disc drive.

On September 22, 2006, at the 2006 Tokyo Game Show, Sony announced that it would be including HDMI on the 20 GB system with a silver logo, but not the chrome trim or Wifi. Also, the launch price of the Japanese 20 GB models would be reduced by over 20%;[11] the 60 GB version of the system was announced for an open pricing scheme in Japan.[11] During the show, Sony demonstrated 27 playable PS3 titles running on final hardware.[12]


The PlayStation 3 was first released in Japan on November 11, 2006, at 07:00. There were reports that many of the systems were obtained by businessmen who paid mainly Chinese nationals to buy the systems without any problems to resell on eBay.[13] According to Media Create, 81,639 PS3 systems were sold within 24 hours of its introduction in Japan.[14]

Soon after its release in Japan, the PS3 was released in North America on November 17, 2006. Reports of violence surrounding the release of the PS3 include a customer shot,[15] campers robbed at gunpoint,[16] customers shot in a drive-by shooting with BB guns,[17] and 60 campers fighting over 10 systems.[18]

On January 24, 2007, Sony announced that the PlayStation 3 would go on sale on March 23, 2007 in Europe, Australia, the Middle East, Africa and New Zealand. On March 7, 2007, the 60 GB PlayStation 3 launched in Singapore with a price of S$799.

The PS3 was launched in Europe, Australia and New Zealand on March 23, 2007. After the first two days of sales, the system had sold approximately 600,000 units.[19]

On April 20, 2007, the 60 GB PlayStation 3 launched in Russia, priced at 21990 rub./$880 incl. sales tax.

On April 27, 2007, the 60 GB PlayStation 3 launched in India and Pakistan, priced at Rs39,990/$869, however smuggled components were available as early as December 2006, and were easily sold around $1,500. Games cost about US$60.80. In Pakistan, the PlayStation 3 costs Rp. 30,000 ($500).[20]

On May 21, 2007, Sony announced that the 80 GB PlayStation 3 would be launched in South Korea on June 16, 2007,[21] in one configuration featuring an 80 GB hard drive.[22] This was the first time the PlayStation 3 had been released with a 80 GB hard disk, and it was speculated that the larger-capacity hard drive may be to accommodate IPTV applications,[23] such as the set-top box functionality for Korea Telecom's MegaTV service launched November 20, 2007.[24] South Korea is one of four regions with the 80 GB PlayStation 3 model (North America, Singapore, and Mexico being the others).


System configuration

System Features
Feature Basic Premium
Upgradable hard drive Yes , 20 GB Yes , 60 GB
Blu-ray drive Yes Yes
HDMI port Yes [5] Yes
Bluetooth controllers Yes Yes
Flash card readers No Yes
Built-in Wi-Fi No Yes
Silver-colored logo and trim No Yes

In 2007, the 20 GB and 60 GB PlayStation 3 models were launched in Mexico. The 80 GB model bundled with Formula One Championship Edition is now on sale in Mexico for MXN$9,999.[25][26] Local PS3 game standard price is MXN$8,999.[27]

On June 16, 2007, the 80 GB PlayStation 3 model launched in South Korea. On August 6, 2007, the 80 GB PlayStation 3 model was released in North America, bundled with MotorStorm. On September 2007, the 80 GB PlayStation 3 model was released in Singapore.

Retail configurations

There are four PlayStation 3 hardware models: a "20", "40", "60" and "80" GB model.

All retail packages include one or two SIXAXIS controllers, one USB cable, one composite video/stereo audio output cable, one ethernet cable (20, 60 and 80 GB only) and one power cable.[28]

Feature 20 GB
40 GB
60 GB
60 GB
80 GB
USB 2.0 ports 4 2 4 4 4
Colors Piano Black Piano Black, Ceramic White (Asia) Piano Black Piano Black Piano Black
802.11 b/g Wi-Fi No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Flash card readers No No Yes Yes Yes
Chrome trim No Yes Yes Yes Yes
SACD support Yes No Yes Yes Yes
PS2 compatibility Hardware No Hardware Software Software
First Availability Nov 2006 Oct 2007 Nov 2006 Mar 2007 Aug 2007
All models include: Blu-ray/DVD/CD drive, HDMI 1.3a[31], Bluetooth 2.0,
Gigabit Ethernet, PlayStation backward compatibility[32] through software emulation[33] and has a glossy finish

On April 11, 2007, Sony discontinued the 20 GB PlayStation 3 model in North America, citing "lack of consumer demand",[35], although the 20 GB model is still on sale in Japan. Many suggest that the removal of the 20 GB model in North America was probably made to save with manufacturing costs, as there is a difference in cost between the two models of around $30.

In June 2007, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) president David Reeves stated that there were no plans for the 80 GB PlayStation 3 model to be released in the PAL regions, and that a 20 GB PS3 model for PAL regions is "highly unlikely".[36]

On July 9, 2007, Sony announced the 80 GB PlayStation 3 model for North America, bundled with MotorStorm,[37] to be available beginning August 6, 2007.[38][39][40] In addition, Sony announced a price drop in which the 60 GB model would sell for US$499.[37] Around this time SCEE President David Reeves and Sony Computer Entertainment, Incorporated President Kaz Hirai clarified that the North American "price drop" was in fact a clearance sale intended to eliminate stock of the 60 GB unit, the production of which had actually been halted at the time of the price drop announcement. After all 60 GB units were sold, only the 80 GB unit would remain in stores in North America.[41]

On August 30, 2007, Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) senior director of corporate communications Dave Karraker stated that it had sold and shipped all of its remaining North American 60 GB models to retailers, and that the company no longer has any inventory in its warehouses.[42] According to spokeswoman Kimberly Otzman, retailer supplies for the North American 60 GB model would probably last through October 2007.[43]

On October 5, 2007, SCEE announced a 40 GB PlayStation 3 model for release on October 10, 2007, in the PAL territories of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In Australia and New Zealand, the 40 GB model was announced to be released on October 11, 2007, priced at AUD$699 for Australia and $799 for New Zealand.

On October 9, 2007, it was announced that the 40 GB Playstation 3 model will be released in Japan on November 11, 2007, with the new Ceramic White color, in addition to the original Piano Black. Both models will retail for a recommended retail price of JP¥39,980. As with the SCEE announcement, an accompanying price drop was announced in Japan for older PlayStation 3 models, with both the 20 GB and 60 GB receiving a JP¥5,000 price reduction in the suggested retail price to JP¥44,980 and JP¥54,980, respectively.[44]

On October 10, 2007, the 40 GB PlayStation 3 model was released in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In Europe, the 40 GB had a price of €399.99. The 60 GB Starter Pack receiving a reduction in price to €499[30] except in the British Isles, where the Starter Pack will be replaced by a £349 Value Pack with two first party games (Motorstorm and Resistance: Fall of Man) and one SIXAXIS controller (as opposed to two controllers in the £425 Starter Pack).[45]). Once stocks of 60 GB PAL region model are exhausted, the 40 GB model will be the only one available in the SCEE territories.[30]

On October 11, 2007, the 40 GB PlayStation 3 model was released in Australia and New Zealand.

On October 18, 2007, SCEA announced that the 80 GB PlayStation 3 model would receive an immediate price reduction in North America to $499 (USD/CAD). In addition, the 40 GB model would be released on November 2, 2007 for $399, with Spider-Man 3 on Blu-ray as a pack-in. (USD/CAD).[46]


In addition to all of the features of the 20 GB model, the 60 GB model has internal IEEE 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, multiple flash card readers (SD/MultiMedia Card, CompactFlash Type I/Type II, Microdrive[47], Memory Stick/PRO/Duo) and a chrome coloured trim.[29] In terms of hardware, the 80 GB model released in South Korea is identical to the 60 GB model released in Europe and Australia (European territories), except for the difference in hard drive size.[22] Like the South Korean and Europe models, the North American 80 GB model also excludes the PlayStation 2 "Emotion Engine" chip, instead providing PS2 compatibility via software emulation, thereby reducing the level of compatibility (see Removal of hardware support for more details). The 40 GB model has two USB ports instead of the four USB ports on other models, and does not include a multi memory card port, SACD support, or any backwards compatibility with PlayStation 2 titles.[30]

No official Wi-Fi or flash memory card readers have yet been released by Sony for the 20 GB system, although plans for such add-ons are in place.[48] Nevertheless, as the model features four USB 2.0 ports, wireless networking and flash memory card support can already be obtained through the use of widely available external USB adapters.

It was rumoured that third-generation PS3s (40 GB) would be using Cell CPUs of 65nm [49][50], Sony has revealed that this is indeed correct after an initial denial. [51]

Sales and production costs

The PlayStation 3's initial production cost is estimated to have been US$805.85 for the 20 GB model and US$840.35 for the 60 GB model;[55] however, they were priced at US$499 and US$599, respectively.[56] The high manufacturing costs meant that every unit was sold at a loss of approximately $250,[55] contributing to Sony's games division posting an operating loss of ¥232.3 billion (US$1.97 billion) in the fiscal year ending March 2007.[57] In April 2007, soon after these results were published, Ken Kutaragi, the head of gaming at Sony, announced plans to retire. Various news agencies, including The Times[58] and The Wall Street Journal[59] reported that this was due to poor sales, whilst SCEI maintains that Kutaragi had been planning his retirement for six months prior to the announcement.[59]

Since the system's launch, production costs have been reduced significantly as a result of phasing out the EE chip[60] and falling hardware costs.[61][62] The cost of manufacturing Cell microprocessors has fallen dramatically as a result of moving to the 65 nm production process[63][62] and Blu-ray diodes being around $100 cheaper to manufacture.[61][64]

The cumulative reduction in production costs is as follows:

  • Blu-ray (cost reduction: US$100)
  • Cell B.E. (cost reduction: US$29 – US$40)
  • EE removal (cost reduction: US$27)
  • Chipset Modifications: Sony has removed a CXD9208GP, 2 RDRAM chips (US$5), and some passives and are planning on moving the RSX graphics chip from 90 nm to 65 nm production process and "the unification of separate smaller ICs — such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi — into single chip solutions and a change to a more specialized Southbridge." (cost reduction: unknown)

This brings the total cost reduction to at least $156 excluding the chipset modifications. Excluding the 65nm Cell B.E. change, the minimum cost reduction based on this approximation becomes $127.[65][66][67][68][69][70][71][72]

On January 7, 2007, Sony met its goal of shipping 1 million units to North America.[73] Just over a week later, on January 16, 2007, Sony confirmed they had shipped 1 million units in Japan, bringing the worldwide total to over 2 million shipped.[74] As of April 1, 2007, approximately 5.5 million units had been shipped worldwide.[57]

In the worldwide marketplace, PlayStation 3 is currently behind its competitor systems, the Xbox 360 and the Wii, both overall and in monthly sales. In Japan the Wii outsold the PS3 by 3 to 1 in August, 4 to 1 in July, 6.5 to 1 in June, 5.6 to 1 in May and 4 to 1 in April;[75][76][77][78] likewise the PS3 sold 2.5 times more units in June than the Xbox 360. In Japan 2,800,576 Wiis have been sold in total, compared to 1,143,798 PS3s; however the Xbox 360, which was released almost a year earlier than its competitors has sold only 380,131 units.[79][80]

In North America, the PS3 was outsold 4.4 to 1 by the Wii and 2.2 to 1 by the Xbox 360 in June 2007, and sold the least units of any seventh generation console in the period January through April.[81] Additionally, the PS3 saw the largest drop in sales of the three systems, selling 37% less in April than the previous month; Sony has attributed the poor sales in April to a lack of new software for the console.[81] In many cases, the system has been outsold by its predecessor, the PlayStation 2.

Sony has stated that the PS3 has been consistently outselling its competitors in Australia, although it still lags behind both in total units sold.[82]



The PlayStation 3 launched in North America on November 17, 2006 with a total of twelve titles, while another three were released before the end of the year.[83] After five days of sales it was confirmed that first person shooter Resistance: Fall of Man from Insomniac Games was the top-selling game, and was heavily praised by numerous video game websites, including GameSpot and IGN, both of whom awarded it with their PlayStation 3 Game of the Year award for 2006.[84][85] Some titles missed the launch window and were delayed until early 2007, such as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, F.E.A.R. and Sonic the Hedgehog. During the Japanese launch, Ridge Racer 7 was the top-selling launch title, while Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire also fared well in sales; both of which were offerings from Namco Bandai. The PlayStation 3 launched in Europe with twenty-four titles, including games that were not offered in the North American and Japanese launched, such as Formula One Championship Edition, MotorStorm and Virtua Fighter 5. Resistance: Fall of Man and MotorStorm have been the most successful titles so far; each has sold over one million copies worldwide.[86] Subsequently both games are to receive sequels.[87][87] As of November 29, 2007, over a year after its release, the PlayStation 3 only has two games that have sold more than one million copies, whereas the PlayStation 2 has had nearly 100 games sell more than a million copies during its seven year lifespan.[88]

At E³ 2007, Sony were able to show off a number of their upcoming video games for the PlayStation 3, including Heavenly Sword, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, all of which are set for release in 2007. They also showed off a number of titles set for a 2008 release; most notably Killzone 2, the highly-anticipated sequel to the 2004 first person shooter. LittleBigPlanet was also demonstrated during the event and subsequently won the award for 'Most Original' game of the show.[89] A completely new title called Infamous was also presented to the media, expanding on the ever-growing sandbox genre. Several PlayStation Network titles were also on display, including SOCOM: Confrontation and Warhawk, both of which will be released as downloads via the PlayStation Store as well as on Blu-ray Disc.[90][91] It was also revealed that the first-person shooter Haze will be exclusive to the PlayStation 3,[92] adding to the selection of exclusive titles available for the holiday season. Perhaps the biggest announcement, however, was that the highly-anticipated Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots will be released only on the PlayStation 3, amid rumors that the game would appear on other platforms. Two other important exclusive titles to be released by Square Enix for the PlayStation 3, Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII, a dual installment in the Fabula Nova Crystallis compilation, were shown at TGS 2007 in order to appease the Japanese market,[93] as well as other exclusive titles such as White Knight Story and Yakuza 3.



The PlayStation 3 is based on open and publicly available application programming interfaces. Sony has selected several technologies and arranged several sublicensing agreements to create an advanced software development kit for developers.

Open standards for OpenGL, matrix algorithms, and scene data are specified by the Khronos Group, and are intended to work with nVidia's Cg programming language. Scene data are stored with COLLADA v1.4, an open, XML-based file format.[94] Rendering uses PSGL, a modified version of OpenGL ES 1.0 (OpenGL ES 2.0 compliant except for the use of Cg instead of GLSL), with extensions specifically aimed at the PS3.[95] Other specifications include OpenMAX, a collection of fast, cross-platform tools for general "media acceleration", such as matrix calculations, and OpenVG, for hardware-accelerated 2D vector graphics. These specifications have GPL, free for any use, and/or commercial implementations by third parties.

Sublicensed technology includes complete game engines, physics libraries, and special libraries. Engines include Epic's Unreal engine 3.0. Physics libraries include AGEIA's PhysX SDK, NovodeX,[96] and Havok's physics and animation engines.[97] Other tools include Nvidia's Cg 1.5 (a C-like shading language, which HLSL was based upon), SpeedTree RT by Interactive Data Visualization, Inc. (high-quality virtual foliage in real time), and Kynogon's Kynapse 4.0 "large scale A.I."[98]

Sony has considered using IPv6, the next generation of the Internet PrPlayStation 3Station 3Station 3ol.[99]

Some titles, such as Genji: Days of the Blade and Ridge Racer 7, allow users to install 4–5 GB of game data to the hard drive, which dramatically improves load times. In Genji, for example, the cached data reduces load times from 15 seconds to around 4 seconds.[100]

Recently, Sony announced a new tool set that will be free to all developers known as "PlayStation Edge" that will offer highly optimized lightweight libraries for CELL SPUs. These libraries will provide code for animation, compression (expected to greatly improve loading times), and many more features. The package will also provide 'GCM Replay', a powerful RSX profiling tool to allow developers to gain the most out of the PlayStation 3's graphics chip.[101]

It is also claimed that even though that the RSX is clocked at 550MHz, (which is 50MHz faster than the Xbox 360's Xenon GPU). It has difficulties copping with some lighting effects. This can be seen in some cross platform games like, Need for Speed Carbon, Tony Hawks, Fight Night Round 3, Ghost Recon, etc... Sony claim that this is developers not having time to get to grips with the hardware fully, even thought the system was released a year later that the Xbox 360. By comparing the image quality of the last generation high end GPU's from ATI and nVidia, ATI's cards were always praised for their better image quality and lighting detail, even though the nVidia cards could perform just as well as their ATI counter parts.

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Backward compatibility

Sony stated that every PlayStation and PlayStation 2 game that observes its respective system's TRC (Technical Requirements Checklist) would be playable on PS3 at launch. SCE president Ken Kutaragi asked developers to adhere to the TRC to facilitate compatibility with future PlayStations, stating that the company was having some difficulty getting backward compatibility with games that had not followed the TRCs. Initial NTSC PS3 units include (see circuit board image) the CPU/rasterizer combination chip used in the slim PS2 (EE+GS) to achieve backward compatibility.[102] The backward compatibility function is region-locked.[103]

Initially, at launch, approximately 3% of PlayStation and PlayStation 2 titles had minor compatibility issues, including poor audio, system freezes or controller malfunctions.[104] Popular games reported to have these glitches included Tekken 5 and Gran Turismo 4.[105] Many games had also been reported to have problems with garbled or unreadable text on-screen and generally blurry image quality, but the January 24, 2007 software release, which updated the system to version 1.50, had resolved some of the issues.[106]

Removal of hardware support

In order to reduce manufacturing costs,[107] the Emotion Engine (EE) is not included in European, Australian and South Korean systems.[22][108] The 80 GB model released in North America also lacks hardware support for legacy titles.[109] Software emulation is used in place of hardware support and as a result, backward compatibility for PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games is reduced.[107] Backward compatibility is improved periodically through PlayStation 3 System Software updates, however Sony has stated that its focus will eventually shift to developing content exclusively for the PS3.[110][107][111] In the 40 GB model, backwards compatibility with PlayStation 2 titles was omitted completely;[30] compatibility for most PlayStation titles will still be provided through software emulation.[32]

On March 20, 2007 Sony released a compatibility list; 1,782 of the 2,451 PS2 games (72%) released in Europe were playable on the European PS3, subsequent system software updates have improved software backwards compatibility and added support for upscaling of PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games up to 1080p resolution.[112] Upscaling can improve picture quality in some situations.[113]

The Japanese PlayStation and PlayStation 2 game compatibility database has been updated with system software update version 1.93 in September 2007 and is also available on the official Japanese PlayStation website.[114]


Operating system

Sony has added the ability for the operating system, referred to as System Software, to be updated. The update process is similar to the firmware updates for the PlayStation Portable (PSP). The updates can be downloaded from the PlayStation Network directly to the PS3 and subsequently installed. Sony has also provided users with the ability to download system software updates from the Official PlayStation website to their PCs and then storage media, from which the update can be installed to the system. Updates can also be installed from game discs that require the updates to be able to play the game.

The latest version of the software, 2.01, was released on November 19, 2007. Version 1.93, was released on September 13, 2007. This update fixes the random disconnecting issue caused by installation of the previous software update. Although Version 1.94 is bundled with Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction providing support for the PS3's yet to be released DualShock 3 Controller, it was not available for download. Version 1.92, released on September 4, 2007, changed the playability status of some PlayStation 3 games on Europe [115] and changed PS2 games playability status (expanded backwards compatibility on the 80 GB model) on the US. The update was apparently released to fix a problem where users were not able to connect when playing Warhawk and game crashes during Warhawk play, but caused other errors which 1.93 fixed. [116]

Version 1.90, released on July 23, 2007, added Chinese character input options, allows the user to change the wallpaper on the XMB, and increases the speed of the Web browser. Also, users can now add emoticons to chats and messages with Friends and eject discs using the controller. Finally, controller buttons are shown on-screen to identify menu shortcuts and options.

Version 1.82 expanded codec support to allow for playback of AVC High Profile (H.264/MPEG-4) format video.[117] Version 1.80 provided the ability to upscale DVDs, along with PS1 and PS2 games, to 1080p resolution, as well as the ability to downscale Blu-ray video to 720p. It also enabled users on a home network to use the PS3 to view images, listen to music, or play videos that are stored on their DLNA-compatible devices (including PCs and laptops) elsewhere in the house, on the same network as the PS3. Software version 1.80 added support for the xvYCC color space for AVCHD-encoded media and set the stage for improvements in the PSP Remote Play function; thanks to the firmware update, PSP owners are now able to access their PS3 from anywhere in the world — as long as a broadband connection is available and firmware 3.50 for the PSP is installed. A new type of slideshow display pattern was added, along with zoom and trim functions for images. In addition, the Memory Card Adaptor can now be used to transfer PS/PS2 game saves from the PS3 hard drive to a PS/PS2 memory card; the update also allowed for the transferral of copy-protected PS/PS2 game saves. CD information can now be edited, and users can submit information to All Music Guide. Finally, software version 1.80 included the ability to print photos stored on the PS3’s hard drive or inserted storage media with a selection of Epson printers via USB.[118] Users with version before 1.6 will not be able to restore their backed up data on another PlayStation 3 with 1.6 or later. The user will need to update his/her firmware on his/her PlayStation 3 before backing it up in order to restore onto another PlayStation 3.

Graphical user interface

The PlayStation 3 version of the XrossMediaBar (pronounced Cross Media Bar, or abbreviated XMB) includes 8 categories of options. These include: Users, Settings, Photo, Music, Video, Game, Network and Friends (similar to the PlayStation Portable media bar). The PS3 includes the ability to store various master and secondary user profiles, manage and explore photos with or without a musical slideshow, play music and copy audio CD tracks to an attached storage device, play movies and video files from the hard disk drive, an optional USB mass storage or Flash card, or an optical disc (Blu-ray Disc, DVD-Video or VCD), compatibility for a USB keyboard and mouse, and a full web browser supporting in/compatible file download function. The Friends menu allows mail with emoticon and attached picture features and video chat which requires an optional PlayStation Eye or Eyetoy webcam. The Network menu allows online shopping through the PlayStation Store.

Also, the PlayStation 3 adds the ability to multitask in ways such as listening to stored audio files while surfing the web or looking at pictures.[119] The PlayStation 3 XMB supports a variety of file formats (audio, image, video). Because the PlayStation 3 is capable of running Linux, other formats can be played through the operating system, assuming the correct codec is present. In a separate demo Sony presented the "Marketplace" where users can buy and download music. The PS3 reserves 64 MB of RAM at all times for XMB functions, this is twice as much compared to the Xbox 360 Dashboard, which only uses 32MB.

The XMB's default background color changes depending on the current month of the year, and it changes brightness depending on the time of day. However, a later firmware revision (1.90) lets users change the background of the XMB to display anything saved under "Image" in the XMB. This was released on July 23, 2007.[120]Firmware update 2.00 gives users the option of changing the colour of the default XMB theme's background and applying various other themes.This was released on November 8, 2007

Q-Games Ltd, a small development company based in Kyoto, Japan, developed the graphics technology behind the XMB, its stylized background, and the built-in music visualizers. The PlayStation 3 uses a version of the NetFront browser by Access Co. as its internal web browser. It is the same browser used in the PlayStation Portable (Sony-branded NetFront 2.81) with the same interface, menus and virtual keyboard. Sony has also worked with Stanford University to bring the Folding@home project to the PS3.[121] Once downloaded, the program can be configured to run when the system is idle or executed manually from the XMB.

Media Playback Features

Media Type Codec
  • JPEG (DCF 2.0/Exif 2.21 compliant)
  • PNG
  • GIF
  • TIFF
  • BMP
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
  • Audio CD
  • SACD (not available in 40 GB version)
  • MPG
    • MPEG-1 (MPEG Audio Layer 2)
    • MPEG-2 PS (MPEG2 Audio Layer 2, AAC LC, AC3(Dolby Digital), LPCM)
    • MPEG-2 TS (MPEG2 Audio Layer 2)
  • AVI
    • Motion JPEG (Linear PCM)
    • Motion JPEG (μ-Law)
  • AVCHD (.m2ts / .mts)
  • DVD Video (Region Locked)
  • BD Video format on Blu-ray Disc (Region Locked)
  • BD Video format on DVD-ROM
  • MP4 Audio
    • MPEG-4 Part 3
      • AAC Low Complexity (unprotected)
  • MP4 Video
    • MPEG-4 Part 2
      • Simple Profile (MPEG-4 SP; MPEG-4 ASP is unsupported as of now)
      • DivX (in AVI)
    • MPEG-4 Part 10 (also known as H.264/MPEG-4 AVC)
      • Main Profile
      • High Profile


Sony has included an option in the XMB menu to install other operating systems.[122] Among other Linux distributions, Ubuntu, Fedora 8, Gentoo, Debian, and Yellow Dog have been run on the PS3.[123][124][125][126]

Sony currently implements a hypervisor restricting RSX access,[127] though the graphics are fast enough for emulation of some old systems. Linux has access to 6 of the 7 SPEs, and IBM provides an introduction to programming parallel applications on the PlayStation 3.

As of Linux kernel 2.6.21, the PlayStation 3 has official Linux support and does not require any special patching to function. An up to date Linux kernel source with all the latest PlayStation 3 bug fixes and improvements is listed here; and a frequently updated user friendly build (currently based on the Linux kernel 2.6.23) is also available.

“Because we have plans for having Linux on board the PS3, we also recognize Linux programming activities… Other than game studios tied to official developer licenses, we had like to see various individuals participate in content creation for the PS3.”

—Izumi Kawanishi, on the presence of Linux in the PS3.[128]

PlayStation Network

In response to Microsoft's success on their Xbox Live network, Sony announced a unified online service for the PlayStation 3 system at the 2006 PlayStation Business Briefing meeting in Tokyo. Sony has confirmed that the service will be always connected,[129] free and include multiplayer support; however, developers are permitted to charge a subscription fee, as is common with MMO games.

At the Tokyo Game Show on September 21, 2006, it was revealed that users will be able to download some of the thousands of PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 titles from the PlayStation Network for about US$5–$15, starting with those with the smallest game data. The reason to allow this kind of functionality is that Sony to allow the users to choose the games of their preference. Ken Kutaragi also announced functionality with other systems, similar to Nintendo's Virtual Console, including confirmed Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx 16 functionality; however, Sega replied that Sony had been too hasty with calling it a fact, and that it was still "under examination".[130]

The registration interface can only be accessed through the PS3 system interface.[131] As of firmware update 1.60, there are three methods for typing on the PS3, which includes an on-screen T9 "dial pad" system (similar to writing a text message on a mobile phone) that predicts words as they are typed. Another is a traditional on-screen keyboard, and finally the use of a physical USB or Bluetooth keyboard is also available.[132] The predictive text does not predict any capitalized words, causing users that want to make use of this feature to input all words in lowercase and then go back and capitalize the first letters (if needed). An alternative is to add words to the system’s built-in predictive text dictionary; also, the unit automatically keeps track of any inputted terms.[132]

Credit cards and electronic money (via the Edy system) are two ways PlayStation 3 owners in Japan can purchase content through the Japanese PlayStation Store. On May 8, 2007 Sony Computer Entertainment announced PlayStation Network Cards,[133] a form of electronic money that can be used with the Store. PlayStation Network Tickets, available in units of 1,000, 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 yen, can be purchased at convenience stores throughout Japan. Each ticket contains a 12 alphanumeric code which can be inputted to the PlayStation Network to place credits in the virtual wallet.

The tickets are available through electronic kiosks at 26,000 convenience stores, including Lawsons, Family Mart, Daily Yamazaki, Ministop and Sunkus. There is also 26,000 post office ATM machines for use to pay for the tickets, although registration is required first via a special mobile website.

A similar PlayStation Network Card system based on actual cards instead of tickets has been introduced in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan in summer 2007.

PlayStation Home

During the 2007 Game Developers Conference, Sony announced PlayStation Home, a new free-to-download community based service for the PlayStation Network, which allows users to create an avatar character for their PlayStation 3 system. This avatar will get its own apartment, which can be adorned by items players can receive in several achievements. In the future the service will also expand, allowing players to have more sorts of clothing, as well as hold pets. Home will be a Second Life-like experience and will allow gamers everywhere to interact in a virtual world. Home will also act as a meeting place of sorts for players who want to play multiplayer games on the PlayStation 3. During a video demonstration of Home, Sony said that a Home icon and options will be added to the Cross Media Bar (XMB), so it is expected to be available through a firmware update or separate download from within the PlayStation Store. A closed beta is currently in progress in Europe, while an open beta will be available sometime this fall.[134] At the 2007 Tokyo Game Show, Sony announced that the final worldwide launch of Home, which had originally been scheduled for the fall of 2007, will now take place in the spring of 2008. SCEI President and Group CEO Kaz Hirai later explained that the launch was delayed for further testing and feedback evaluation to provide the best possible experience upon launch.[135]

PlayStation Portable connectivity

The PlayStation Portable can connect with the PlayStation 3 in many ways, including in-game connectivity. For example, Formula One: Championship Edition, a racing game, was shown at E3 2006 using a PSP as a real-time rear-view mirror.[136] Although this feature did not make it in the final release, Sony confirmed that such connectivity between the two systems remains an option for the future.[137] In addition, it is possible to download PlayStation 1 games to the PlayStation 3 from the PlayStation Store. These games were not originally playable on the PS3; however, they could be sent to a PSP, and played using the PSP's PlayStation Emulator. Sony added support for playing downloaded PS titles on PS3 on April 18, 2007, with the update to firmware revision 1.70.[138][139]

Sony has also demonstrated the PSP playing back video content, including 1080p content from the PlayStation 3 hard disk across an ad-hoc wireless network. This feature is referred to as Remote Play located under the browser icon on both the PlaySation 3 and the PlayStation Portable. Remote play has since expanded to allow remote access to the PS3 via PSP from any wireless access point in the world.[140]

PlayStation 3 cluster

Given the computing capabilities of the machine, there is some interest in using PS3 to build supercomputers for high-performance computing,[141] as the NCSA has already built a cluster based on the PlayStation 2.[142] Terra Soft Solutions has a version of Yellow Dog Linux for the PlayStation 3,[143] and sells PS3s with Linux pre-installed,[144] in single units, and 6 and 32 node clusters.[145] In addition, RapidMind is pushing their stream programming package for the PS3.[146]

On January 3, 2007, Dr. Frank Mueller, Associate Professor of Computer Science at NCSU, clustered 8 PS3s. Mueller commented that the 512 MB of system RAM is a limitation for this particular application, and is considering attempting to retrofit more RAM. Software includes: Fedora Core 5 Linux ppc64, MPICH2, OpenMP v2.5, GNU Compiler Collection and CellSDK 1.1.[147][148][149]

On March 15, 2007, SCE and Stanford University announced that the Folding@home project would be expanded to the PS3.[150] Along with thousands of PCs already joined over the Internet, PS3 owners are able to lend the computing power of their game systems to the study of improper protein folding and associated diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's, cystic fibrosis, and several forms of cancer. The software was included as part of the 1.6 firmware update (March 22, 2007), and can be set to run manually or automatically when the PS3 is idle through the Cross Media Bar. The processed information is then sent back to project's central servers over the Internet. Processing power from PS3 users is greatly contributing to the Folding@home project, and PS3s have overtaken all other participating operating systems in teraflops contributed.[151][152] As of April 23, 2007, more than 250,000 PS3 owners have allowed the Folding@home software to be run on their systems, averaging over 400 teraflops and peaking at over 700. By comparison, the world's most powerful supercomputer, Blue Gene has a peak performance of 280.6 teraflops.[153]

The Computational Biochemistry and Biophysics Lab in Barcelona has launched a distributed computing project called PS3GRID. This project is expected to run sixteen times faster than an equivalent project on a standard PC. Like most distributed computing projects, it is designed to run only when the computer is idle.


The original unit is convex on its left side (when vertical; the top side is convex when horizontal) and has a sleek black finish, with the Playstation logo on the left side. Playstation designer Teiyu Goto stated that the Spider-man-font-inspired "logo was one of the first elements [SCEI president Ken Kutaragi] decided on and the logo may have been the motivating force behind the shape of PS3."[154]

The Playstation 3 features a slot-loading 2x speed Blu-ray Disc drive for games, Blu-ray movies, DVDs and many other formats. It was originally available with hard drives of 20 and 60 GB (only the 60 GB model was available in PAL regions). An 80 GB model has since been introduced in NTSC regions (see above), while a 40 GB model has been introduced in all regions. All PS3 models have user-upgradeable 2.5" SATA hard drives. The PlayStation 3 uses the IBM-designed Cell microprocessor as its CPU, utilizing seven of the eight "synergistic processing elements" (often shortened to SPE). The eighth SPE is disabled to improve chip yields i.e. chips do not have to be discarded if one of the SPEs is defective. Graphics processing is handled by the NVIDIA RSX, which can output resolutions from 480i/576i SD up to 1080i/1080p full HD, the PlayStation 3 has 256 MB of XDR main memory and 256 MB of GDDR3 video memory for the RSX.

Numerous accessories for the console have been developed for the system, including the wireless SIXAXIS controller, the BD Remote controller, the PlayStation Eye camera and the upcoming PlayTV DVB-T tuner/digital video recorder accessory.[155]

The system has Bluetooth 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 and HDMI 1.3a built in on all models. Wi-Fi networking is also built-in on the 40, 60 and 80 GB models while a flash card reader (which is compatible with MemoryStick, SD/MMC, and CompactFlash/Microdrive media) is built-in on 60 and 80 GB models.

At its press conference at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show, Sony announced the DualShock 3 (trademarked DUALSHOCK 3), a PlayStation 3 controller with the same function and design as the SIXAXIS, but with vibration capability included.[156] Hands-on accounts describe the controller as being noticeably heavier than the standard SIXAXIS controller, and capable of vibration forces comparable to the DualShock 2.[157] It will be released in Japan in November 2007, while a Spring 2008 release date has been scheduled for Europe and North America.

Publicity and reception

v  d  e
Selected home game consoles
First generation
Magnavox Odyssey • Philips Odyssey
Pong • Coleco Telstar
Second generation
Fairchild Channel F • Atari 2600 • Interton VC 4000 • Odyssey² • Intellivision • Arcadia 2001 • Atari 5200 • ColecoVision • Vectrex • SG-1000
Third generation
Nintendo Entertainment System • Master System • Atari 7800
Fourth Generation
TurboGrafx-16 • Genesis/Mega Drive
CD-i • Neo Geo • SNES
Fifth generation
3DO • Amiga CD32 • Jaguar • Saturn
PlayStation • NEC PC-FX • Nintendo 64
Sixth generation
Dreamcast • PlayStation 2 • Xbox • GameCube
Seventh generation
PlayStation 3 • Wii • Xbox 360

The PlayStation 3 was first advertised in the U.S. in September 2006, in which several TV advertisements demonstrated some of the features of the system. In early 2007, Sony Computer Entertainment began to market the system in Europe, with the marketing slogan "This is Living".

Some journalists have judged the relative ease with which it is possible to buy a PlayStation 3 in stores in the U.S. and Japan, compared with the scarcity of the Wii, as evidence of lukewarm consumer demand for the system.[158] There have also been reports that some Japanese retailers were discounting the system as early as January 2007 to stimulate demand.[159]

CNET United Kingdom reviewed the PlayStation 3 saying, "the PS3 is a versatile and impressive piece of home-entertainment equipment that lives up to the hype … the PS3 is well worth its hefty price tag."[160] CNET awarded it a high score of 8.8 out of a possible 10 and voted it as its number one "must-have" gadget,[161] praising its robust graphical capabilities and stylish exterior design while criticizing its limited selection of available games.[162] Hexus Gaming reviewed the PAL version and summed the review up by saying, "…as the PlayStation 3 matures and developers start really pushing it, we’ll see the PlayStation 3 emerge as the console of choice for gaming."[163] At GDC 2007, Shiny Entertainment founder Dave Perry stated, "I think that Sony has made the best machine. It's the best piece of hardware, without question."[164]

European Imaging And Sound Association awarded the PS3, top honors for its media center capabilities.[165] Both Home Theater Magazine and Ultimate AV have given the system's Blu-ray playback very favorable reviews, stating that the quality of playback exceeds that of many current standalone Blu-ray players.[166][167] Audiophile Audition said of the PS3 "The PS3 is an amazing product both in terms of performance as well as flexibility."[168][169]

Conversely, the PS3 was given the number-eight spot on PC World magazine’s list of “The Top 21 Tech Screwups of 2006,” where it was criticized for being “Late, Expensive, and Incompatible.”[170] GamesRadar ranked the PS3 as the top item in a feature about game-related PR disasters, asking how Sony managed to "take one of the most anticipated game systems of all time and — within the space of a year — turn it into a hate object reviled by the entire internet", bd that despite its protem had &quo Electronic Gaming Monthly to feature a main story titled "BattleStation!" in its February 2007 issue, in which the magazine voiced much of the gamer, analyst, and developer criticism against the PS3. EGM also interviewed Sony's US Chief of Operations, Jack Tretton.[172] In the interview, Tretton attributed the negative reception to people "waiting for [the PS3] to slip up, and we haven't, so people try to create stories that aren't there." Tretton also scoffed at a comment made by EGM that PS3s were not flying off store shelves, telling the interviewers, "If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it."[173] In the same article, Tretton was asked about the missing 2nd HDMI port and the missing LAN hub. He claimed that he has no knowledge of Sony ever saying such a thing, even after being shown the E3 handout from 2005. Some have speculated that this, along with many other reasons, helped turn off some of the more intense gamers to not buying the system for the first couple of months (and even help spread the negative press about it), since it lacked in those capabilities.

Many review sites have criticized its pricing of $500/$600 for a mass-consumer gaming device, comparing it to the Wii ($250[174]) and the Xbox 360 (MSRP $349).[175] Others noted the lack of high quality launch titles,[176][175] with Business Week stating it was "more impressed with what it could do than with what it currently does."[177]

References and Notes

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