The PlayStation 3 (PS3) will be Sony's seventh generation era video game console in the PlayStation series. It is the successor to the PlayStation 2 and will mainly compete against the Nintendo Revolution and the Xbox 360. Sony has announced that the PS3 will be backward compatible with earlier PS1 and PS2 games. At the moment, little is known in public about the PS3 apart from its hardware specifications and the reports that it will be based on open APIs for the game development.
The PS3 was officially unveiled on May 16, 2005 by Sony during an E3 conference, where the console was first shown to the public. A functional version of the console was not at E3 or the Tokyo Game Show in September 2005, although at both events, demonstrations were held on devkits (for example Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots) and comparable PC hardware, and video footage based on the predicted PS3 specifications was produced (for example for Mobile Suit Gundam).
Sony was originally aiming for a spring 2006 launch as announced at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo, but Sony revealed during a press conference in Japan on March 15, 2006 that there will be a delay due to issues over the finalization of Blu-ray disc copy protection technology, and as a first for any PlayStation console, Sony is now aiming for a worldwide release in early November 2006.
Sony has not yet announced the pricing for PlayStation 3. Sony Computer Entertainment president and "father of the PlayStation" Ken Kutaragi has been quoted as saying "It'll be expensive" and "I'm aware that with all these technologies, the PS3 can't be offered at a price that's targeted towards households. I think everyone can still buy it if they wanted to" and "but we're aiming for consumers throughout the world. So we're going to have to do our best in containing the price". Ken Kutaragi believes that customers would be willing to pay extra for a superior product, as they had in the past for the original PlayStation (¥39,800 vs. ¥12,500 for the Super Famicom).
Games in development
As of March 2006, there are already over 230 PS3 games announced by multiple developers and publishers, like SCEA, Electronic Arts, Konami, Namco, Capcom, Square Enix and many others. As well as announced titles there are likely to be many 'secret projects' already under development. Since then the PS3 will be delayed until November.
Most developers have already announced games for the PS3. Some anticipated ones include Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Killzone PS3, Resident Evil 5, Devil May Cry 4, Shin Megami Tensei, Armored Core 4 , Unreal Tournament 2007, Resistance: Fall of Man, Grand Theft Auto 4 (provisional title), Sonic the Hedgehog (tentative title), and Tekken 6.
At the E3 2005 Press Conference, Sony showed some pre-rendered and some real-time videos of games in development with the codenames Eyedentify, Vision Gran Turismo and MotorStorm. Also shown at E3 was a Final Fantasy VII technical demo of the opening sequence remade for the PlayStation 3 system. Square Enix stated afterwards that there isn't any plans for a remake at the moment, but it is in consideration. However, recently a magazine reported that Square would indeed remake Final Fantasy VII for the PS3.
At this time, three games have been mentioned as PS3 launch titles: Lair from Factor 5, Warhawk from Incognito Entertainment, and Unreal Tournament 2007 from Epic Games.
The PlayStation 3 will be compatible with PlayStation 2 and PlayStation. In a recent interview Ken Kutaragi stated that backward compatibility will be achieved through a combination of hardware and software.
At the PlayStation briefing on March 14, 2006 in Japan, Sony revealed that the PlayStation 3 will display legacy recoded PlayStation titles in high-definition resolutions. However, backwards capability will be limited to only games that have passed Sony's TRC (Technical Requirements Criteria). Estimates by game developers put the number of PS and PS2 titles that have passed the TRC to be around 50-85%.
The PS3 will not be backward-compatible with some of the hardware peripherals of the PS2. For example, memory cards for the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 will not work on the PlayStation 3 hardware. Instead it was announced that the PS3 will use the Sony Memory Stick, and SD/MMC memory cards to save games. The Memory Sticks will be able to store saved games for both PS1 and PS2 games, unlike the PS2's memory card. However, with the announcement of a standard 60 GB HDD with the PS3, a hard drive game saving system is very likely.
Peripherals such as MaxAction for PS2, are able to transfer PS1 and PS2 saves to a PSP Memory Stick, making the saves compatible to be read from the PS3.
Online services (PNP)
To answer to Microsoft's Xbox Live, Sony has confirmed a unified online service at the 2006 PlayStation Business Briefing meeting in Tokyo. The name of the service has been given the working title "PlayStation Network Platform". Sony has confirmed that the basic online service will be free and will have sufficient functionality for online gaming. The online service is being developed jointly by Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Online Entertainment.
* Voice/Video chat
* Friend list/Avatar
* Game data upload/download
* Shop (accessible from inside games)
* Content Download
* Micro Payment
* Entitlement (user access rights) management
* User Registration
* Login ID/Handling of name issues
Interface and operating system
According to DevStation Conference, the PS3 will use the Cross Media Bar already used in the PlayStation Portable and PSX devices. The hard disk will come pre-installed with a Linux distribution, possibly with Cell extensions developed by IBM and Sony.
According to a press release by Sony at the May 16 2005 E3 Conference, the specifications of the PlayStation 3 are as follows:
Central processing unit
3.2 GHz Cell BE multi-core processor: PowerPC-based 'Power Processing Element' and 7 Synergistic Processing Elements (SPEs). The PPE has a 512 KB L2 cache and one VMX (AltiVec) vector unit. Each of the eight SPEs is a RISC processor with 128-bit 128 SIMD GPRs and superscalar functions. Each SPE has 256 KB of software-addressable SRAM.
Only seven SPEs are active; the eighth is redundant, to improve yield. If one of the eight has a manufacturing defect, it is disabled without rendering the entire unit defective.
Graphics processing unit
Custom RSX or "Reality Synthesizer" design co-developed by NVIDIA and Sony:
* Clocked at 550 MHz
* 1.8 TFLOPS
* 136 shader operations per clock
* 74.8 billion shader operations per second (100 billion with CPU)
* Full high definition output (up to 1080p) x 2 channels
* Multi-way programmable parallel floating point shader pipelines
* 128-bit pixel precision offers rendering of scenes with high dynamic range imaging
* 512 MB Graphics Render Memory
* Sony has hinted it may also handle audio (possibly Nvidia's Soundstorm 2) PS3 Block Diagram
* 256 MB Rambus XDR DRAM clocked at CPU die speed (3.2 GHz)
* 256 MB GDDR3 VRAM clocked at 700 MHz
Theoretical system bandwidth
* 25.6 GB/s to Main Ram XDR DRAM: 64 bits × 3.2 GHz
* 22.4 GB/s to GDDR3 VRAM: 128 bits × 700 MHz × 2 accesses per clock cycle (one per edge)
* RSX 20 GB/s (write), 15 GB/s (read)
* SB 2.5 GB/s write and 2.5 GB/s read
* 204.8 GB/s Cell Element Interconnect Bus (Theoretical peak performance)
* Cell FlexIO Bus: 35 GB/s outbound, 25 GB/s inbound (7 outbound and 5 inbound 1Byte wide channels operating at 5 GHz) (effective bandwidth typically 50-80% of total)
* Supported screen sizes: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
* Two HDMI (Type A) outputs (Dual-screen HD outputs)
* S/PDIF optical output for digital audio
* Multiple analog outputs (Composite, S-Video, Component video)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 minimum, DTS, LPCM (DSP functionality handled by the Cell processor)
* May be handled by a Soundstorm 2 embedded in the RSX link Article
* Sampling Frequency: 44.1/48 kHz.
* Blu-ray Disc: PlayStation 3 BD-ROM, BD-Video, BD-R, BD-RE.
* DVD: PlayStation 2 DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW
* CD: PlayStation CD-ROM, PlayStation 2 CD-ROM, CD-DA, CD-DA (ROM), CD-R, CD-RW, SACD, SACD Hybrid (CD layer) SACD HD
* Hard Drive: Standard 60 GB, 2.5", detachable/upgradeable, with Linux pre-installed.
* Memory Stick standard/Duo and standard/mini slots
* CompactFlash Type I and II slot
* SD/MMC slot
It was announced on the 14th of March 2006 that all PlayStation 3 games will ship on Blu-Ray Rom discs.
* Gigabit Ethernet Hub (one IN and two OUT connections)
* IEEE 802.11 b, g Wi-Fi
* Bluetooth 2.0
* USB 2.0 (four front and two rear ports)
SCEI's press release indicates that controller connectivity to the PlayStation 3 can be provided via:
* 802.11b, g Wi-Fi. Integrated for mesh networking and connectivity with the PlayStation Portable
* TCP/IP networking (wired ethernet)
* USB 2.0 (wired)
* Bluetooth 2.0 (up to 7 controllers)
On 23 March, 2006 at the Game Developers Conference, Phil Harrison announced that the "boomerang" design has indeed been scrapped and that a new controller design will be revealed in May at E3.
* 32 cm (L) x 24 cm (W) x 8 cm (H)
Overall floating-point capability
In a slide show at their E3 conference, Sony presented the "CPU floating point capability" of the PlayStation 3's Cell CPU, and compared it to other CPUs. In their official press release, the same statistic regarding the PS3 as a whole was reported to be 2 TFLOPS.
The figures are rounded estimates based on addition of the theoretical maximum floating point performances of the processing units in the Cell CPU and those of the RSX GPU. Inevitably, real-world performance for both systems will be lower. Additionally, programmers may find it difficult, initially, to optimize their game engines to make the best use of the highly parallel architectures of both systems, further reducing real-world performance.
* Two simultaneous High-definition television streams for use on a title screen for a HD Blu-ray Movie.
* High-definition IP video conferencing.
* EyeToy interactive reality game, Eyedentify.
* EyeToy voice command recognition.
* EyeToy virtual object manipulation.
* Digital photograph display (JPEG).
* MP3 and ATRAC download and playback.
* Simultaneous World Wide Web access and gameplay.
* Hub/Home Ethernet Gaming Network.
* Parental Controls
* The ability for the PlayStation Portable to connect to the PlayStation 3 as a video-enabled controller.
* up to 7 wireless controllers at once.
* up to 6 wired controllers at once.
* evidently up to 13 (likely more) controllers at once, from a total of the known seven wireless Bluetooth ports and six wired ports.