PlayStation 3: Inside and Out
Sony has released tons of information on the upcoming PlayStation 3. This special feature sums up and analyzes what's important.
The PlayStation 3 system will be available with two different hard-drive options in Japan and the United States in November 2006, and in Europe and Australasia in March 2007. The later date for the European and Australasian launches (as well as those planned for Russia, the Middle East, and Africa) has been blamed on delays in blue-laser diode production. The console will hit Japan first on November 11. The 20GB model will sell for 49,980 yen (about $429), roughly $85 lower than the 59,800 yen price Sony originally announced for the console at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2006. Sony will let Japanese retailers name their own price for the 60GB version. The PlayStation 3 will launch in the United States on November 17. In the US, the 20GB version will retail for $499, and the 60GB version will retail for $599. In Europe, the 20GB version will retail for 499 euros, and the 60GB version will retail for 599 euros. In Australia, the 20GB version will retail for AU$829.95, and the 60GB version will retail for AU$999.95.
The new PlayStation 3 console has an elegant design featuring clean lines and pleasing curves. In contrast to the Xbox 360's puckered "inhale" shape, the PS3 sides expand outward, barely containing the hardware inside. Designers had to build the case around the advanced cooling system built to handle heat output from the Cell processor, the Nvidia GPU, and the system power supply. PC or even Xbox 360 owners would expect a system with as much power as the PS3 to sound like a small aircraft on power up, but the system is actually remarkably quiet. "When it starts to notice a heat issue, it can ramp up the fan RPMs, but in general, it's as quiet as the PlayStation 2 was," according to Sony's Richard Marks.
Early prototypes showed consoles in white, black, and silver--but initial models will only be black. Sony used material choice to add extra sophistication to the console design. The console exterior appeared to be a glossy, opaque black in official preview images, but the system casing is actually a very dark, semi-transparent black similar in style to the PSP's exterior. The curved top of the console suggests that the PS3 will need to sit at the very top of your equipment stack if placed horizontally. The console will weigh in at a solid 11 pounds. In comparison, the Xbox weighs 8.5 pounds and the Xbox 360 weighs 7.7 pounds. The PS3 measures 12.8"(W) x 3.8"(H) x 10.8"(L), which is in line with the other consoles.
Like the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii, the PlayStation 3 will be able to stand vertically or sit horizontally on an AV rack. PS3 owners will be able to reposition the console while the system is running without worrying about accidentally damaging a game or movie disc. "We've been doing that for six years now, I think, so we're confident that we'll have no issue with that," said Marks.
|PlayStation 3 60GB||PlayStation 3 20GB|
|CPU||Cell Processor||Cell Processor|
|GPU||Nvidia RSX||Nvidia RSX|
|System Memory||256MB XDR||256MB XDR|
|Graphics Memory||256MB GDDR3||256MB GDDR3|
|Hard Disk||2.5" SATA 60GB||2.5" SATA 20GB|
|Flash Memory Slots||Memory Stick, SD, Compact Flash||None|
|Wi-Fi||Built-in 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi||None|
|Bluetooth 2.0 EDR||Yes||Yes|
|Resolutions||480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p||480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p|
|Digital Optical Out||Yes||Yes|
The 60GB console features a front-slot-loading Blu-ray optical-disc drive and four USB ports, as well as memory stick, compact flash, and SD card reader support to provide for an absurd level of media connectivity. The 20GB PlayStation 3, in comparison, won't have memory stick, compact flash, or SD card ports. The 60GB version will also come with Wi-Fi built-in, but the 20GB version will only have the Ethernet port.
The Blu-ray optical-disc drive can play games and movie discs. Each Blu-ray disc can hold up to 54GB worth of data, which should virtually guarantee that games won't be left wanting for extra media space. Games will be region-free, but movies will still have region locks preventing multiregion playback. The Blu-ray spec has North America, South America, and Asia (except for China) in region A. If the spec doesn't change, that means your US PlayStation 3 should be able to play those Blu-ray Godzilla movies imported from Japan. The first 500,000 PS3 units will ship with a full-length Blu-ray movie, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. The PS3's Blu-ray drive will also support many of the older disc formats, including CD-ROM, CDR+W, DVD, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, and DVD+R.
The 2.5" portable hard drives supply the system with much-needed storage space for PlayStation Network downloads, applications, and media files. Games will use the hard drive for game saves, and it will cache game files for decreased load times. During the Gran Turismo HD E3 2006 demonstration, Sony's Kaz Hirai boasted that load times would be reduced to two to three seconds. The game took around six to seven seconds to load during the E3 demo, but loading times will likely drop once developers have more time for game optimization. The 60GB PS3 will be more useful than the 20GB version if you wish to take advantage of the system's media functionality, but Sony has stated that upgrading the hard disk will be as simple as dropping a larger capacity 2.5" SATA notebook hard drive into the system.Do you think the PlayStation 3 has the right mix of hardware, games, media capabilities, and online support? Are you planning on buying a system at launch on November 17?
The PlayStation 3 will have a 3.2GHz Cell processor that consists of a single PowerPC-based core with seven synergistic processing units. The Cell is the result of a joint effort between IBM, Sony, and Toshiba. The primary PowerPC core has a 512KB L2 cache, and each SPE has 256KB of its own memory to work with. The CPU has an eighth SPE for "redundancy," which means that each Cell chip only needs seven working SPEs to pass muster for the PS3.The Cell processor will be powerful enough to drive a new class of gameplay physics impossible to run on older console hardware, including cloth and fluid simulations, as well as large-scale rigid-body interactions with hundreds and thousands of objects colliding onscreen. Today's PCs in comparison will need a physics add-on card or find a way to tap the GPU for physics processing to run PS3-level physics effects. Additionally, developers will be able to use the Cell's SPEs to give games new audio effects previously only available on the PC with dedicated audio processing.
The industry-wide shift to multicore processing platforms will have a major impact on developers in the coming years. A lot of the burden will fall upon the hardware manufacturers themselves to design systems and provide tools that will make it easier for programmers to write games. Sony has announced that the PS3 will use Open GL/ES, a specialized API closely related to Open GL, and programmers will be able to access the Cell's SPEs using C or C++ tools, instead of having to program on the assembly level as they did with the PS2.
Sony will pair the Cell with a very powerful graphics processor based on advanced Nvidia technology. You may remember that Nvidia did the graphics for the first Xbox system, but with reports of contract disputes between Nvidia and Microsoft, few were surprised when both companies chose to change dance partners for the next console cycle. Microsoft went with ATI for the Xbox 360, and Nvidia hooked up with Sony on the PlayStation 3. The end result of that collaboration is the PlayStation 3 RSX "Reality Synthesizer" graphics-processing unit, a massive 550MHz, 300-million-transistor graphics chip based on GeForce 7800 GTX graphics technology.
The PlayStation 3 has 256MBs of Rambus XDR memory and 256MBs of GDDR3 memory dedicated to graphics. Nvidia claims that the RSX can take advantage of the combined 512MBs of memory, since it is capable of writing directly to system memory. The increased graphics-memory bandwidth and storage space will let developers use high-resolution textures and enable antialiasing to provide detailed, jaggy-free graphics. The RSX's programmable shader capabilities greatly increase graphics efficiency and will let game developers use advanced effects such as subsurface scattering to simulate human skin.
Wireless Sixaxis Controllers
The new PS3 controller heavily resembles the traditional Dual Shock gamepad design. The L2 and R2 shoulder buttons located on the top of the controller have been enlarged, with increased depth in stroke for more subtle game control. Sony has also enlarged the tilting angle of the analog joysticks to enable more delicate manipulation and a wider range of motion. Whereas the analog sticks on the Dual Shock controller for the PlayStation 2 had 8-bit sensitivity, the new controller will have 10-bit motion detection.
The new controller has two analog sticks, the usual four-button complement on the right side, and four top-side trigger buttons. However, the new PlayStation 3 controller will also have six-axis motion-sensing capabilities. The controller is capable of sensing motion in six degrees: up, down, left, right, forward, and backward. The new six-axis movement control will let players use body English to help control a game. For example, tilting the controller upward in the jet fighter game Warhawk will point the aircraft's nose in the air and shifting the sides of the controller up and down will cause the aircraft to tilt in a similar manner. The controller will weigh no more than the wired Dual Shock controller, even with the added six-axis functionality, but that might be due to the loss of force feedback support.
Like the Xbox 360 controller, the new PlayStation 3 controller will be wireless, but it'll get its freedom from Bluetooth rather than the traditional 2.4GHz RF. Devices operating with Bluetooth generally have a range of around nine meters, but Sony has stated that the PS3 controller will have a 20-meter wireless range. The controller will have a 30-hour battery life, a figure that seems to be in line with other Bluetooth devices but far short of the 300-hour 2.4GHz models available for current consoles. You will be able to recharge the controller by connecting it to the PlayStation 3 with a USB cable. The controller will be functional while tethered to the system and will also be hot pluggable, which means you can plug and unplug controllers while the system is on.
However, you won't be able to replace the controller battery. If the rechargeable battery ever dies, you'll have to buy a new controller or send the dead one back to Sony for replacement. We're guessing it'll take several years before the battery dies, so let's hope we've all moved on to the PlayStation 4 by then. Sixaxis wireless PS3 controllers will sell for $50.Do you think the PlayStation 3 has the right mix of hardware, games, media capabilities, and online support? Are you planning on buying a system at launch on November 17?
Sony has announced that the PlayStation 3 will have 21 games available "through the holidays," which means anytime between the system's launch on November 17 and the end of the year. But that might only be the conservative estimate. Sony Computer Entertainment America president Kaz Hirai told GameSpot in an interview that he estimates that we'll see "upward of 30 titles or so between first- and third-party [publishers] for the PlayStation 3" by the end of December.
SCEA will have three games ready for launch: Resistance: Fall of Man, NBA 07, and Genji: Days of the Blade. Highly anticipated third-party games include Tony Hawk's Project 8, Fight Night Round 3, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, and Sonic the Hedgehog. First-party games will retail for $60, and we expect third-party games to follow Sony's pricing lead.
If you can't afford to buy all the PS3 titles at launch, you can dip into the PS2 game catalog while you wait for the initial PS3 games to fall in price. The system will be backward compatible with PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games. You'll be able to transfer saved games from older PlayStation memory cards to the PS3 hard disk with a $15 Memory Card Adaptor. PS3 owners will also be able to buy and download arcade-style games from the PlayStation Network, which should cost under $15. Announced games include Blast Factor, flOw, Criminal Crackdown, Lemmings 2, Go! Sudoku, and Go! Swizzleblock2.
PlayStation 3 Launch Games
*PS3 exclusive* US and British troops join forces to defend England from the alien Chimera invasion force in Insomniac Games' Resistance: Fall of Man.
*PS3 exclusive* NBA 07 features all new gameplay modes, mini games, and authentic NBA teams. The PlayStation 3 version will allow you to use the sixaxis controller to execute juke and spin moves.
*PS3 exclusive* Slash your way through epic Japanese battles in Genji: Days of the Blade. Choose between four playable characters each with unique fighting styles and swap players mid-fight to execute combo attacks.
Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII is a arcade-like WWII flight game from Ubisoft. Use the sixaxis controller to tilt your way to victory.
Call of Duty 3 continues the series of World War II shooters, this time focusing on the battle for the liberation of Paris - known as the Normandy Breakout.
Electronic Arts brings its boxing franchise to the PlayStation 3 with Fight Night Round 3. Now players can use the sixaxis controller to throw headbutts, elbows, and other dirty shots.
The fourth chapter in the Elder Scrolls series takes the game to new levels with gameplay and graphical enhancements, and features over 200 hours of play time. The PS3 version includes an additional race, the Knights of the Nine.
F.E.A.R. is an intense combat experience with rich atmosphere and an engaging story presented entirely in first person.
*PS3 exclusive* Sega is bringing the sequel to the Xbox 360's trigger-happy racing game exclusively to the PlayStation 3.
Madden 07 continues the perennial football series from EA Sports. The PS3 version allows you to tilt and move the sixaxis controller to fake snaps and execute finesse or timing moves like jumping the snap.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance continues the X-Men Legends franchise with more than 20 playable characters.
*PS3 exclusive* Lead your Mobile Suit battalion to victory in Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire.
NBA 2K returns for the 2007 season. The sixaxis controller gives us a new twist on free throw shots.
Form a street racing crew and take over turf in Need For Speed Carbon, the first NFS game for the PlayStation 3.
2K Games brings the NHL 2K7 season to the PlayStation 3. Check your opponent and help your goalie make all the stops with the sixaxis controller.
*PS3 exclusive* Riiiidge Racer! The seventh game in the Ridge Racer series is coming to the PS3. Select from over 40 different cars and 20 courses.
Sega is working on a brand new Sonic title for next-gen systems, with exciting speed changes.
Tiger Woods swings his way into the 2007 season. Add spin to the ball with the sixaxis controller!
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas is the fifth title in the Rainbow Six series, and pits players against terrorists who have taken the city of Vegas hostage.
Tony Hawk skates onto the PlayStation 3 with Tony Hawk's Project 8. Use the sixaxis controller to steer, keep your balance, and pull off tricks.
*PS3 exclusive* Dark Kingdom marks the next-gen debut of the Untold Legends series, with support for online play and downloadable content.
Anyone who has played online games with the PlayStation 2 has a pretty good idea of Sony's online strategy with that platform. That is to say, there wasn't much of a strategy at all. The network-adapter peripheral was released separately from the console itself. Each game publisher had to run its own servers, which meant that logging into every new game, or at least games from different publishers, meant creating and keeping track of several different login names and passwords. If playing online games on the PS2 felt like a chaotic free-for-all at times, that's because it basically was one.
Sony is moving in a more cohesive direction in regard to its online service with the PS3. The new console has built-in networking capabilities, and Sony will launch a new online service to coincide with the system's release.
The PlayStation Network will be similar to Microsoft's Xbox Live service and will provide community features such as personal login accounts, friends lists, avatars, and matchmaking, as well as communication options including messaging and eventually voice and video chat. The PS3 won't have a camera accessory ready at launch, but SCE CTO Masa Chatani has talked about developing an HD IP camera peripheral that will let you broadcast an HD-quality video stream for video messaging and conferencing.
The free PlayStation Network service will include community features and online multiplayer gameplay. Resistance: Fall of Man, for example, will feature a 40-man online multiplayer mode and a robust lobby system with buddy lists, as well as support for parties, clans, stats, and persistent experience levels. Xbox Live Silver, Microsoft's free basic service, provides community options, too, but Silver-level subscribers can only play massively multiplayer games online. Players must upgrade to a paid Xbox Live Gold service subscription to access online multiplayer gameplay for non-MMO games.
Sony's service will offer an Xbox Marketplace-like PlayStation Store where players can go to download a variety of content including games, game demos, additional game content, and video files such as movie trailers and music videos. John Smedley from Sony Online Entertainment demonstrated the working store at Gamers' Day 2006. Developers will have the option to integrate shops directly into games, letting players buy items from within the game experience. PS3 users can transfer cash to their "PlayStation 3 Wallet" by credit card or with prepaid cards. All items will be priced in dollars and cents rather than "points" as in other online systems. Sony has suggested that the commerce service can also handle subscriptions for massively mulitplayer online games or other games that may require constant upkeep.
Upon system boot up, PS3 console owners will be greeted with the familiar cross media bar (Xross Media Bar in Sony marketing-speak) menu system already in use on the PSP and Sony televisions. The XMB lets you navigate horizontally through top-level selection categories: users, system settings, and media options such as photos, music, videos, games, network, and friends. Each top-level category, when selected, will display a vertical list of related available options. The user menu, for example, will let you create new users or switch user accounts. Parents can set up "child" accounts that can limit games access based on ESRB and MPAA ratings.
The photo options offer several slide show styles, including one particularly impressive show that uses the system hardware to render the images as physical photographs gently falling into place over a white work surface. The system can also play music while running a slide show. The PS3 supports several major music-file types (MP3, ATRAC, AAC, and WAV) and has a built-in music visualizer. Users can import songs from a flash memory card through the USB port or rip songs directly from a CD. Sony gave the video menu a next-gen feel by using 15-second video clips as video thumbnails. A selection screen with several moving video thumbnails has a much more powerful effect than a line of boring still images. Users won't be able to transfer files directly from a PC to the PS3 over a local area network, but you will be able to transfer or play video directly from flash memory cards or over USB.
The network menu provides access to the PS3's built-in Web browser, the PlayStation Store, and the PSP Remote Play feature that will let the PSP stream video from the PS3 over a Wi-Fi connection. Harrison demonstrated the Remote Play feature at Sony's Gamers' Day 2006 by playing the first half of the movie trailer for Casino Royale on the PS3, pausing the video, and then resuming playback on the PSP's screen. Streams will be limited to the local Wi-Fi network at first, but Sony has plans to extend the feature to PS3-to-PSP connections over the Internet. PS3 games will also support the PSP at some point in the future. At E3 2006, Sony demonstrated a preview build of Formula 1 that could output a video stream to the PSP that lets the player use the portable as a rearview mirror while playing the game on the PS3.
The Web browser looks to be fully functional with all the must-have features such as Flash support, which Harrison demonstrated at Gamers' Day by opening YouTube and playing a video of Kaz Hirai's "Riiiidge Racer!" E3 presentation a couple of times. You can open multiple browser windows and switch between them fairly quickly. The PS3 uses the same cell phone-style text-input interface used on the PSP, which means you should plug in a USB keyboard if you're serious about using the console for Web browsing.
The friends list is the final icon on the XMB. We haven't seen a lot of the friends-list functionality outside of text messaging, but in Harrison's Gamers' Day demo, we noticed that several of the people on his friends list had PlayStation-affiliated avatars like Kratos from God of War and Sly Cooper.
Keep your eye on this space! GameSpot will be updating this feature with new information as it's released!Do you think the PlayStation 3 has the right mix of hardware, games, media capabilities, and online support? Are you planning on buying a system at launch on November 17?
Now, It's a Race
Sony came up fierce in that press conference. I was really impressed. First of all, I'm glad that none of that stuff leaked. On the heels of weeks and weeks of Xbox 360 rumors, it's nice to have gotten tons of conclusive info straight from the horse's mouth.
I like the design of the system. I thought the original PlayStation looked great, but I remember being shocked by how ugly the PlayStation 2 was when it was first revealed (yeah, I got used to it). The PS3 doesn't seem to have a lot of personality as a console, but it's certainly slick and doesn't scream "I'm a loser who plays video games" or anything like that, so you wouldn't mind having that thing in your living room. The Spider-Man 2 typeface for the PlayStation 3 logo is a little bit disturbing to me, but that probably has to do with my fear that the system will be a big cash-in simultaneous release with the next Spider-Man flick. As for that controller...I haven't heard a single person say anything nice about it yet. It looks functionally identical to the Dual Shock 2 (one of the best stock game controllers of all time, in my opinion), but that shape is just crazy.
Then there's the games. You see, I want to play these games. I'll buy that system for Tekken 6. I'll buy it for Metal Gear Solid 4. Hell, I'll buy it for Warhawk 2. Warhawk 2! I'm excited by the prospects of all that stuff. I appreciate that Sony split between showing a bunch of high-profile sequels and a bunch of never-before-seen titles. It's refreshing to have seen such a focus on promoting the system's lineup rather than just the glitz and glamour of the announcement itself.
I'll tell you, one thing's for sure: It's going to be a real savage fight between Microsoft and Sony...
How It's Done
So, in case you were wondering, that is how you introduce a console to the world. Not to harp on the Xbox 360's MTV debut too much, but I don't think I've spoken with one person who had anything nice to say about it. Not enough games, not enough details, and an incredibly fake feel made that Xbox 360 special feel like the infomercial it probably was.
By contrast, Sony didn't screw around. It skipped all the PlayStation 2 business details and cut right to the chase, devoting 95 percent of the press conference to information about the PlayStation 3. It started slow with a bunch of numbers and tech specs, but the pace just kept picking up throughout the event. The tech demos looked interesting but hardly mind-blowing. But once it came time to actually show games, it was practically information overload. One game after another, rapid-fire and with reckless abandon. Warhawk? They're making a new Warhawk after all these years? Finally! A new Tekken? Sign me up. And then there's that Killzone footage. If you had told me three days ago that I would find footage of a Killzone game to be totally amazing, I would have called you a filthy, filthy liar. It was the talk of the Microsoft press conference, which went down just after Sony's.
But Sony struck a balance, and that's the important part. It wasn't just "here are more sequels to games you already like." It was also "here are a bunch of games that you've never heard of before." By showing a great mix of existing and all-new products, it really seemed like Sony had something for everyone. Plus, it had volume on its side. We saw a lot of games, even if some of them were little more than a name and some prerendered stuff (Devil May Cry 4).
The technical aspects sound insane, and the features--like the crazy wireless HD IP-based camera and the fact that you'll be able to hook up two HDTV monitors to it at once--sound like they've got a lot of potential. About the only thing that didn't look so hot there is probably the controller, which looks a little crazy. OK, it looks a lot crazy. But beyond that, this looks like the best thing going, at the moment. Now I just want to know when I'll be able to play something on it for myself.
Game Guides Editor
Shocked and Awed
My gut reaction to the PS3 launch is one of outright shock. Sony kept the lid on the PlayStation 3 before E3, and it paid off in spades, as the perception here is definitely that Sony beat Microsoft about the face and neck quite vigorously, at least when it comes to the relative strength of its press conferences. The games look incredible, and what's more, they're recognizable names, with things like Tekken, Gran Turismo, and Warhawk--Warhawk!--among the announced titles.
Let me say that again: The games look incredible. The first thing I saw when I started watching the press conference was the re-creation of the FFVII intro, and it was quite literally the kind of thing that could suck the breath out of your body as effectively as any sucker punch. That had the benefit of the comparison with the obviously dated CGI intro to FFVII on the PlayStation, though, as anyone who remembers that game recalls the blocky models and stumpy hands of the characters in it. The characters in the PS3 tech demo, though, are incredibly rendered and, yes, appear to rival even the pure CGI characters of FFVII: Advent Children. Simply put, that's the most impressive piece of game video I've ever seen.
At least, it was the greatest piece of video I've ever seen: That impression lasted until I happened to track down the Killzone 2 footage, with its landing sequence that seemed like an updated interpretation of Medal of Honor's Normandy invasion sequence. One of the things that made me feel like cringing was the explosion near the end of the video that sent a cloud of dust into the air. After years of seeing smoke and particle effects absolutely choke most video cards and consoles into single-digit frame rates, I was worried that it was going to show some kind of weakness in the PS3, some kind of unshielded porthole through which Microsoft or Nintendo might hope to launch their proton torpedos, but no, the frame rate appeared to remain constant throughout.
After watching each of the video segments a couple of times, I can say that Warhawk, Motor Storm, and the Killzone 2 footage are all pretty jaw-dropping. It's still different to really grasp the ass-kickingness of Sony's presentation, in that Sony didn't bother to hype its presence at all but instead decided to just walk the walk by bringing its A game. You can apend whatever sports metaphor you wish to that last sentence, but it's obvious that Microsoft isn't going to match the PS3's impressive lineup by just bringing FFXI to bear; the game's been out three years!
All I can say is that the next year or so is going to be a mighty interesting one. And while it might be tempting to speak of all this as a two-horse race, it's worth remembering that Nintendo has talked very little about the Revolution.
Like the other editors, I couldn't help but be excited about the gameplay footage from the Sony press conference. But when the initial rush from seeing Warhawk, Killzone, and the other games subsided, I remembered Sony offering up similarly jaw-dropping demos of the PlayStation 2 when that console was announced. Everyone swooned then, began quoting Revelations, prophecied the death of PC games, dogs and cats living together, and so on. Well, we all know how all that power turned out. Aside from the odd exception like Gran Turismo or God of War, the PS2 was without question the graphical ugly duckling of this generation. So pardon me while I keep my pants on and hang onto this boulder I call a grain of salt (while secretly praying that the Killzone 2 footage wasn't a marketing mirage).
I also want to know if the industrial designers responsible for the PS3 controller will be publicly outed and shamed, or if they're just going to be quietly fired and then giggled at discreetly. I mean, seriously. When I first spotted a picture of the controller and showed the other editors, they all said it was too ugly to be real. It had to be fake. When we came to the horrified realization that the batarang was in fact real, we didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Harsh? You bet. But if published vitriol is what it's going to take to get Sony to reconsider that controller design, then here's my contribution. Xbox 360 controller: elegant. PS3 controller: joke.
So what do I like about the PS3? A lot, actually. I like the slot loading drive. I like the wide array of media slots. I loved all the game footage from the press conference and the raw amount of power available for designers. After seeing or hearing about all three next-gen consoles now, the PS3 has the clear edge in games at this early stage. And I'm excited to hear about possible PSP connectivity options that aren't dumb. Wouldn't it be great to grab movies and music off your PS3 remotely, through the Internet, using your PSP?
Hi there, Xbox 360. Boy that was a nice shiny 15 minutes you had there, wasn't it? That whole MTV thing was fun--I liked all the bands especially; they were a riot. And the way your sexy sleek design has that sort of "inhale" design aspect to it. Pretty cool. I think Carson Daly thinks so too. Only one thing was missing--something sort of important. You know...footage. I saw plenty of people talking about the console and its potential but didn't see much action in the way of gameplay.
Then there was today's PS3 unveiling--sure it was probably too long, and if I saw one more PowerPoint slide describing Cell architecture I was going to scream. But then there was that eight-minute little chunk of heaven called the game demo reel, and what a reel it was--especially that harrowing Killzone footage. Hell, it was as if Kaz and the Gang were dipping directly into my mind this evening, framing the demo with two racing games--F1 and a jam-packed Gran Turismo 5 that had my blood pumping. I feel bad even mentioning games like Metal Gear 4 and Tekken 6, just because it kinda seems unfair right now.
It's amazing how perceptions can change over the course of a day. This morning, I thought that Bill Gates' Time Magazine quote that Halo 3 would meet the PS3 head-on on launch day was a brilliant idea. Now I'm not so sure. With all the heavyweight software Sony boasted today, it may be too much for even Master Chief to handle.
Associate PC Editor
The View From the PC
Give it to Sony--the company really knows how to make an entrance. The videos and tech demos are all jaw-dropping, but I'm someone who's going to need to see what the actual games look like. Remember that Sony also introduced some pretty amazing stuff when it unveiled the PS2, but the actual games ended up looking more like high-res PlayStation games. There's a big debate going on right now about what was actual gameplay and what was prerendered simulations of gameplay, much like EA Sports' Madden commercial last month.
Unreal Engine 3 looks really good, but it looks really good on the Xbox 360, and it looks really good on a very high-end PC. That's very telling for me, because I think that, when you get down to it, the consoles and the PC are going to be very close in terms of power for a little while. The PC will do what it always does and leap ahead of the consoles. But, let's face it, the common factor unifying the PC, PS2, and Xbox 360 is that they use graphics chips from either Nvidia or ATI. So for all the vaunted power of the PS3's Cell processor, it can't improve graphics. That's what the Nvidia chip is for. So I imagine that all the games across all the platforms will look the same. It just depends on the skill and resources of each developer.
Associate Hardware Editor
I'm getting rather jaded by the spec sheets rolling out with these consoles. Two teraflops, something billion dot product operations per second, the numbers mean next to nothing. I'm half waiting for Nintendo to announce that the Revolution does four teraflops and has a reservoir on the heat sink that lets you make fondue. Personally, I've started looking at the inputs and outputs more closely, and what I see scares me into thinking that these specs might not be too far off from the truth.
We saw the Xbox 360 and came away wowed. Now we see the PlayStation 3 and we're running out of levels of stunned. The words "dual screen 1080p" leave my mouth filled with enough drool to fill a pint glass. At the same time, some latent fear is building inside of me with regard to the new consoles. The price of the new consoles will be less worrisome than all the gadgets I'll need to make them function optimally. Even though HDTVs have gone down in price, very few of the low-cost sets do 1080i, let alone 1080p. Let's say that a 1080p set will cost at least $1,500-3,000 by the time the PlayStation 3 is released; double that figure to get two of them, and now tack on a decent sound system. We're looking at well over $5,000 to get your PlayStation 3 running superpretty. Sick.