SONY PLAYSTATION 3

Quantity of Kits: 4

  • Can only be checked out by Interactive Game and Development (ITGM) Students enrolled in Montgomery Hall classes with permission from the ITGM Department Chair.
  • 5 hour check-out limit

(1) Console
(1) AV Cable
(1) AC Power Cord
(1) USB Cable

May or may not also contain:

(2) Wireless SIXAXIS Controllers or
(1) Wireless DUALSHOCK 3 Controller

The PlayStation 3 (officially marketed PLAYSTATION 3, commonly abbreviated PS3) is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment, and the 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.

A major feature that distinguishes the PlayStation 3 from its predecessors is its unified online gaming service, the PlayStation Network,which contrasts with Sony's former policy of relying on game developers for online play. Other major features of the console include its robust multimedia capabilities, connectivity with the PlayStation Portable, and its use of a high-definition optical disc format, Blu-ray Disc, as its primary storage medium. The PS3 was also the first Blu-ray 2.0-compliant Blu-ray player on the market.

Hardware

The PlayStation 3 was first released on November 11, 2006 in Japan, November 17, 2006 in North America, and March 23, 2007 in Europe and Oceania. Two SKUs were available at launch: a basic model with a 20 GB hard drive (HDD), and a premium model with a 60 GB hard drive and several additional features (the 20 GB model was not released in Europe or Oceania). Since then, several revisions have been made to the console's available models.

The PlayStation 3 is convex on its left side when vertical (the top side is convex when horizontal), and has a glossy 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."

The PlayStation 3 features a slot-loading 2x speed Blu-ray Disc drive for games, Blu-ray movies, DVDs, CDs, and other optical media. 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, and 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 Sony, Toshiba, 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). Only six of the seven SPEs are accessible to developers as one is reserved by the OS. Graphics processing is handled by the NVIDIA RSX 'Reality Synthesizer', which can output resolutions from 480i/576i SD up to 1080p HD. The PlayStation 3 has 256 MB of XDR main memory and 256 MB of GDDR3 video memory for the RSX.

The system has Bluetooth 2.0, gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 and HDMI 1.3a built in on all currently shipping models. Wi-Fi networking is also built-in on the 40, 60 and 80 GB models while a flash card reader (compatible with Memory Stick, SD/MMC, and CompactFlash/Microdrive media) is built-in on 60 GB and CECHExx 80 GB models. The system supports up to 7 controllers that are connected via Bluetooth 2.0 technology.

The PS3's hardware has also been used to build supercomputers for high-performance computing. Terra Soft Solutions has a version of Yellow Dog Linux for the PlayStation 3, and sells PS3s with Linux pre-installed in single units, and 6 and 32 node clusters. In addition, RapidMind is pushing their stream programming package for the PS3. Also, on January 3, 2007, Dr. Frank Mueller, Associate Professor of Computer Science at NCSU, clustered 8 PS3s. Mueller commented that the 256 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 v 2.5, GNU Compiler Collection and CellSDK 1.1.

On March 22, 2007, SCE and Stanford University released the Folding@home project for the PlayStation 3.This program allows PS3 owners to lend the computing power of their consoles to help study the physical process of protein folding.

Numerous accessories for the console have been developed including the wireless Sixaxis and DualShock 3 controllers, the BD Remote, the PlayStation Eye camera and the PlayTV DVB-T tuner/digital video recorder accessory.

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.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. It was released in Japan on November 11, 2007,in North America on April 15, 2008,in Australia on April 24, 2008, in New Zealand on May 9, 2008, in Europe on July 2, 2008,and in the United Kingdom and Ireland on July 4, 2008.

Software

Sony announced a unified online service for the PlayStation 3 system at the 2006 PlayStation Business Briefing meeting in Tokyo. Sony also confirmed that the service will always be connected, free, and include multiplayer support. When the network launched, the registration interface could only be accessed through the PS3 or PSP system interfaces. This has been changed since to allow users to sign up from the Playstation Network website.

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 and PlayStation 2 titles from the PlayStation Network for about US$5–$15, starting with those with the smallest game data.

On May 8, 2007 Sony Computer Entertainment announced PlayStation Network Cards, 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. They are also available at 26,000 post office ATMs, although registration is required first at a special mobile website.

A similar PlayStation Network Card system based on actual cards instead of tickets was introduced in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan in Summer 2007 and in Spring 2008 in North America.

During the 2007 Game Developers Conference, Sony announced PlayStation Home, a virtual community-based service for the PlayStation Network. Home allows users to create a virtual avatar for their PlayStation 3 system. Avatars will have their own apartment, known as a "HomeSpace", which can be decorated with items that users can either purchase or receive following various achievements attained from certain games. In the future the service will expand, allowing players to choose from a wider variety of clothing, as well as pets. Home is a Second Life-like experience that allows PlayStation Network users to interact in a virtual world, and acts as a meeting place for users that want to play multiplayer games with others.

A closed beta began in Europe from May 2007 and expanded to other territories soon after, while an open beta was scheduled for availability in October 2007. However, at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show, Sony delayed the release of Home to "Spring 2008", and again on April 21, 2008, this time until "Fall 2008". SCEI President and Group CEO Kaz Hirai later stated that the launch was delayed for further testing and feedback evaluation to provide the best possible experience upon launch. The open beta was released on December 11, 2008 and is accessible to all PlayStation Network users free of charge directly from the Xross Media Bar (XMB), without the need of a firmware update or PlayStation Store download.

PSP 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. In addition, it is possible to download PlayStation I games to the PlayStation 3 from the PlayStation Store. These games were not originally playable on the PS3. They could only be sent to a PSP, and played using the PSP's PlayStation Emulator. Sony added support for playing downloaded PlayStation I titles on PS3 on April 18, 2007, with the update to firmware revision 1.70.

Sony has also demonstrated the PSP playing back video 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 PlayStation 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.