The PlayStation 3 was Sony’s flagship console from the last generation and had a glorious 10-year life cycle. In honor of this great console, I want to talk about the highlights of its time in the market. I’ll be talking about what games helped the platform stand out and lay the foundations for Sony’s success in recent years with the continuous development of awesome exclusives and great player services for the PlayStation 4.
We’ll take a look at what the console did for gaming as a whole, as We will also be taking a look at it’s hardware, some highlight games for the system.
The PS3 (known as the PlayStation 3) was developed by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is the successor to PlayStation 2, and is part of the PlayStation brand of consoles. It was first released on November 11, 2006, in Japan, November 17, 2006, in North America, and March 23, 2007, in Europe and Australia.
Early History and Development
The original prototype was shown in May 2005 featured two HDMI ports, three Ethernet ports and six USB ports; however, when the system was shown again a year later at E3 2006, these were reduced to one HDMI port, one Ethernet port and four USB ports, presumably to cut costs. Two hardware configurations were also announced for the console: a 20 GB model and a 60 GB model, priced at US$499 (€499) and US$599 (€599), respectively. The 60 GB model was to be the only configuration to feature an HDMI port, Wi-Fi internet, flash card readers and a chrome trim with the logo in silver. Both models were announced for a simultaneous worldwide release: November 11, 2006, for Japan and November 17, 2006, for North America and Europe.
On September 6, 2006, Sony announced that PAL region PlayStation 3 launch would be delayed until March 2007, because of a shortage of materials used in the Blu-ray drive. At the Tokyo Game Show on September 22, 2006, Sony announced that it would include an HDMI port on the 20 GB system, but a chrome trim, flash card readers, silver logo and Wi-Fi would not be included. Also, the launch price of the Japanese 20 GB model was reduced by over 20%, and the 60 GB model was announced for an open pricing scheme in Japan. During the event, Sony showed 27 playable PS3 games running on final hardware.
In September 2009, the Slim model of the PlayStation 3 was released. It no longer provided the hardware ability to run PS2 games. It was lighter and thinner than the original version and featured a redesigned logo and marketing design, as well as a minor start-up change in software. A Super Slim variation was then released in late 2012, further refining and redesigning the console.
The Slim Model
Following the speculation that Sony was working on a ‘slim’ model, Sony officially announced the PS3 (Slim) model on August 18, 2009, at Sony’s Gamescom press conference. New features included a slimmer form factor, decreased power consumption, and a quieter cooling system. It was released in major territories by September 2009.
The Super Slim Model
September 2012, Sony announced that a new slimmer PS3 redesign was due to be released in late 2012 and that it would be available with either a 250 GB or 500 GB hard drive.
In PAL regions, the 250 GB model is not available; a model with 12 GB of flash memory is available in its place. A standalone 250 GB hard drive is available to upgrade this model. In the UK, the 500 GB model was released on September 28, 2012, while the 12 GB model was made available on October 12, 2012.
CECH-4000B consoles (those with hard drives) weigh approximately 2.1 kg (4.6 lb), while the CECH-4000A weighs approximately 2.0 kg (4.4 lb). Both are roughly 25% smaller and about 20% lighter than the original PS3 Slim. This version has a sliding disc cover rather than the slot-loading drive found on previous PlayStation 3 consoles.
The system had a slow start in the market, but it did manage to recover, particularly after the introduction of the Slim model. PlayStation 3 was first released in Japan on November 11, 2006, at 7:00, the system itself was able sell over 80,000 units within its 24 hours of its introduction in Japan. Soon after its release in Japan, PS3 was released in North America on November 17, 2006. Time to do a flashback and see what the PlayStation 3 release titles looked like.
Blazing Angels Squadrons
Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII players test their air-combat skills as they experience the most famous battles of World War II. As a squadron leader players can fly up to 38 WWII aircraft in both single-player and multiplayer missions. The game features squadron-based combat in which each artificial intelligence wingman’s specialized skill can be used to the pilot’s advantage.As a squadron leader and ace fighter pilot, you take command of your fighting craft with the Wii controller to experience intense dog fighting in the famous air battles of WW II. Pilots fly in close to Germany s industrial terrain during a bombing raid or emerge from the fog and cloud cover over London to engage the enemy.
Call of Duty 3
Call of Duty 3 delivers the intensity of World War II combat closer than ever. In this next-generation game, you’ll experience the Normandy Breakout — the historic campaign that made the liberation of Paris possible and brought the Allies a step closer to Berlin. Call Of Duty 3 delivers the most immersive and cinematically intense war experience. Team-based Multiplayer with vehicles for team-based combat with up to 24 players battling it out online Play as an infantryman, or commandeer multiple-occupancy vehicles like tanks, jeeps & motorcycles.
Genji: Days of the Blade
Set three years after the last chapter of Genkuro Yoshitsune’s life, Genji: Days of the Blade™ continues to expand on the historical accounts of feudal Japan. Genji: Days of the Blade unveils beautiful next generation visuals and sword slashing gameplay.
Madden NFL 07
Madden NFL 07 is an American football video game based on the NFL that was published by EA Sports and developed by EA Tiburon. It is the first in the video game series to be released for the PlayStation 3 and Wii consoles and the last one to be released on the Game Boy Advance.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is an all-new action/RPG where players create their Marvel dream team from the largest roster of Super Heroes ever in an epic quest that will determine the fate of Earth and the Marvel universe. For decades, Earth’s Super Heroes have opposed evil in their own cities, and on their own terms. But now, Dr. Doom and a newly reformed Masters of Evil – the greatest collection of Super Villains ever assembled – have plans for world domination, and the heroes must band together to defeat them.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire
Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire is your chance to choose a side in the war that defined the classic anime series! Nine months have passed since Zeon forces invaded the Earth. At the brink of annihilation, the Earth Federation Forces are mobilizing to launch a massive counter assault against the occupying forces. Form your own mobile assault force, strategize their next moves and battle with them side by side while you command them to triumph.
NBA 2K7 is a basketball simulation video game developed by Visual Concepts and published by 2K Sports. It is the eighth installment in the NBA 2K franchise and the successor to NBA 2K6.
NHL 2K7 is an ice hockey video game made by 2K Sports and published on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360 consoles. It features San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton on its cover.
Resistance: Fall of Man
In Resistance: Fall of Man, US and British forces band together in a last-ditch effort to save England from a horrific scourge — the Chimera. This parasitic species infects other life forms with a virus that rapidly mutates victims into new Chimera.
Ridge Racer 7
Ridge Racer 7 is the seventh console installment in the Ridge Racer series of racing games, released on PlayStation 3. The game has around 40 cars, many of which return from Ridge Racer 6 and the PSP incarnations of the game.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007 takes golf gaming to a new level of realism. Experience the next generation of technology as Tiger Woods comes to life; you’ll see and feel each emotion in detail, as it’s displayed onscreen in the faces and movements of the golfers. Play under pressure just like pros, and go further in your game with the enhanced career mode.
Tony Hawk’s Project 8
Tony Hawk’s Project 8 (THP8) is a skateboarding video game, the eighth installment in the Tony Hawk’s series. It was released on PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Portable. It also complements the release of Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam, which is conversely available on Nintendo systems.
To say that the PlayStation 3 got off on the wrong foot would be the understatement of all understatements. Whether Sony got to a big headed attitude concluded that thanks to the unprecedented success of the PlayStation 2 or just assumed that anything with a PlayStation name would be untouchable, gamers weren’t impressed with what they saw at first. The PlayStation 3 stumbled out of the gate miraculously, it was already behind the Xbox 360, which had a huge head start and plenty of quality games to its name at the time.
Never will you find this better represented than in Sony’s epic E3 2006 press conference. You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that this is where the idea of an Internet meme actually became a viable phenomenon because there wasn’t a second of this show that still isn’t mocked to this very day. Anyone remember those memes?! “Riiiiiidge Racerrrr!” “Giant Enemy Crab” in “battles which actually took place in ancient Japan!”
The Last of Us
Undoubtedly one of the best video games ever created came from the PS3 line-up and showcased how far the gaming medium has come as a platform for video game storytelling. The Last of Us, was a game developed by Naughty Dog, that put the PlayStation 3 far ahead of its competition in terms of exclusives. Not only did the game look astonishing, but the gameplay and story were so good that it wowed gamers around the world. It was even incredibly well received in Japan, despite it being a North American IP — something that doesn’t happen often.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
To be honest, I had a hard time deciding between Uncharted 2 or 3. One of them had to make it in here. I just had a better time with the third installment. It had the better graphics, atmosphere and action sequences. It was a bit more varied in environments and simply was more impressive overall. The Uncharted series brought some fresh air to the struggling genre that Tomb Raider had monopolized at the time. Lara Croft was starting to fade entirely and only through Nathan Drake did developers finally find a way to bring “tomb raiding” back to the mainstream.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
The supposedly ultimate conclusion to the Metal Gear franchise (excluding Metal Gear Solid V, which was not that impressive story-wise and wasn’t on PS3). Guns of the Patriots is an epic and strange adventure with an absolutely contradictory story that lies somewhere between reality and fiction. The game looks impressive and is one of those exclusives that just perfectly embodies what makes a great Hideo Kojima game. It has the staple weird humor, ridiculously long cutscenes (over 20 hours in total), awkward characters, and the most epic action scenes in video games.
From Software’s march to victory laid its roots with Demon’s Souls on the PlayStation 3. The game was praised for its masterful level design and soul-crushing (pun intended) difficulty. It was the game that went against current trends. Instead of being too easy or holding your hand, the game simply threw you into this massive world with no tutorial or any sort of explanation. You had to figure it all out on your own.
Without Demon Soul’s and the PlayStation 3 with its perfect user base for the game, the game industry would not be the same today.
Introducing the PlayStation Network
The PlayStation Network Store (PSN) was first introduced with the PS3 is now one of largest and most successful online video game stores in the world. The service is outstanding and provides gamers with updates, DLC, games, and now even shows and movies. It is almost unbelievable that it only started 10 years back—it sure feels longer.
Launched alongside PS3 firmware 3.40 and PSP firmware 6.30 on June 29, 2010, the paid-for subscription service provides users with enhanced services on the PlayStation Network, on top of the current PSN service which is still available with all of its features. These enhancements include the ability to have demos and game updates download automatically to PlayStation 3. Subscribers also get early or exclusive access to betas, game demos, premium downloadable content and other PlayStation Store items. North American users also get a free subscription to Qore. Users may choose to purchase either a one-year or a three-month subscription to PlayStation Plus.
The PlayStation Store is an online virtual market available to users of Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3) and PlayStation Portable (PSP) game consoles via the PlayStation Network. The Store offers a range of downloadable content both for purchase and available free of charge. Available content includes full games, add-on content, playable demos, themes and game and movie trailers. The service is accessible through an icon on the XMB on PS3 and PSP. The PS3 store can also be accessed on PSP via a Remote Play connection to PS3. The PSP store is also available via the PC application, Media Go. As of September 24, 2009, there have been over 600 million downloads from the PlayStation Store worldwide.
The PlayStation Store is updated with new content each Tuesday in North America, and each Wednesday in PAL regions. In May 2010 this was changed from Thursdays to allow PSP games to be released digitally, closer to the time they are released.
What’s New was announced at Gamescom 2009 and was released on September 1, 2009, with PlayStation 3 system software 3.0. The feature was to replace the existing [Information Board], which displayed news from the PlayStation website associated with the user’s region. The concept was developed further into a major PlayStation Network feature, which interacts with the [Status Indicator] to display a ticker of all content, excluding recently played content (currently in North America and Japan only).
The system displays the What’s New screen by default instead of the [Games] menu (or [Video] menu, if a movie was inserted) when starting up. What’s New has four sections: “Our Pick”, “Recently Played”, latest information and new content available in PlayStation Store. There are four kinds of content the What’s New screen displays and links to, on the sections. “Recently Played” displays the user’s recently played games and online services only, whereas, the other sections can contain website links, links to play videos and access to selected sections of the PlayStation Store.
The PlayStation Store icons in the [Game] and [Video] section act similarly to the What’s New screen, except that they only display and link to games and videos in the PlayStation Store, respectively.
PlayStation Home was a virtual 3D social networking service for the PlayStation Network. Home allowed users to create a custom avatar, which could be groomed realistically. Users could edit and decorate their personal apartments, avatars, or club houses with free, premium, or won content. Users could shop for new items or win prizes from PS3 games, or Home activities. Users could interact and connect with friends and customize content in a virtual world. Home also acted as a meeting place for users that wanted to play multiplayer games with others.
Impact and Legacy
PlayStation 3 console had a rocky start. It was the first console however to feature an integrated Blu-Ray player since the games were also using this format. This was a big advantage as the Microsoft Xbox 360 still only had an HD-DVD system at the time.
Sony’s stable system and exclusive roster of games let it prevail over Microsoft’s 360 gaming console. The fact that Microsoft had a lot more technical issues (we all lived in constant fear of The Red Ring of Death) and wasn’t a good provider of exclusives (outside of having Halo and Forza) caused the Xbox 360 to lose in the end. Although both consoles had similar power, multi-platformed games seem to run a lot better on PlayStation 3, for the most part (excluding Skyrim, obviously).
A couple last thoughts. I did like the 360 and always thought the 360 had a cool design; but the PS3 just looked sleeker, looked so much cooler, especially with its black finish. The PS3 also had stereoscopic 3D was first shown on the PlayStation 3 with games like Wipeout HD or Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. Although it never really reached the mainstream, it was a neat gimmick that further established the PlayStation 3’s dominance.
Just like the PlayStation 1 and 2, the PlayStation 3 will be remembered fondly for its brilliant collection of exclusives and innovative features. Sony truly established itself as the dominant force in gaming and home consoles through the PS3. Let’s celebrate this not as an ending, but as the beginning of a new era building on the foundations that the PlayStation 3 laid.
What are your thoughts on the PlayStation 3 and its tenure? What are your favorite games? Please let me know in the comments!