Now, back to ‘Console Retrospective’!
There has never been any other console in the market that has had two successors, and was simply named in numerical order. That was until Sony came along and gave sweet birth to the Playstation, and trust me the afterbirth looked just as great. But we’re not here to talk about the original Playstation or Playstation 2, no, we’re here to talk about the Playstation 3 and the many wonders inside it. One of which is ‘Home’, but we’ll get to that a little later.
The PS3 was shown off in May 16th 2005, at E3. Where not only did we get the first look at the PS3, but we also got a look at the prototype of the sixaxis controller.
“RIP you beautiful silver boomerang.”
Tech demos were also shown, ranging from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of Patriots and a high-res version of Final Fantasy 7 that won’t ever be remade…ever. As extraordinary as it was to see MGS4 in action for fans, sadly it seemed to be ways off. However during the launch window, owners were treated to other such titles like Mobile Suit Gundam: CROSSFIRE, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Ridge Racer 7. Some would even say that the best launch title was Resistance, with it being an FPS that featured aliens and was set during WW2. I’m sure the kids loved that, but what about those who just wanted decent home media hardware?
Well, let me put it this way, the PS3 was a mechanical beast that didn’t reach its full potential until several years after the launch. The system started out with a 3.2 GHz PowerPC-based ‘PPE’, basically it had a very meaty processor. It came in two versions, 20 GB and 60 GB, the problem here is that if someone wanted a HDMi port and Wi-Fi internet then that person would have to purchase the 60 GB model. Unlike the Wii, the PS3 was a much heavier investment considering not only how powerful the system was, but also the fact that you were much better off getting the 60 GB model.
Of course it was also what skyrocketed Blu-Ray into success, with Microsoft giving its own answer to the next phase of home entertainment with HD-DVD. I can’t imagine who won that debate, but more to come on that later when I talk about its ‘imminent downfall’. Ooops, spoilers!
When the PS3 first launched on November 2006 (11th for Japan, 17th for NA and Europe) it didn’t have much competition to worry about, other than obviously Microsoft. Luckily after 6 weeks, Sony manged to make over 1 million sales of the PS3. Proving if that you add a ‘3’ next to your console name, make it really expensive, and have a dedicated consumer base in Japan then you too can have a successful piece of hardware. Just ask the Phantom…oh.
Sony tried hard to keep fans happy in the meantime before the bigger titles were finished. They tried it with Lair, an aerial combat game where you controlled a dragon, but that didn’t work. They tried it with Playstation Home, a virtual interactive social network that allows people to live out their twisted fantasies, but that still didn’t quite hit its potential and looked really weird. Resistance and the Blu-Ray drive were helping keep the console afloat, until NaughtyDog came in with a new IP called ‘Uncharted‘.
An idea that took Indiana Jones, but made him young, snappy, had a half-tucked shirt, and put him in a videogame. That sounds like a terrible idea, but it worked because the studio knew what they were doing. In fact by the time the second game came around, it was what helped propel the system’s awareness. It was also a great way to showcase just what the PS3’s processor was capable of in terms of having games run as smoothly as silk. It was also fabulously pretty to boot as well, however not every studio was able to cope with the PS3’s tech.
Studios such as Bethesda had a very difficult time trying to get games like Skyrim and New Vegas to run properly on the system, but unfortunately seemed to need more time to help code things out. Skyrim had it the worse, with the game having to constantly be patched and postponing the DLC so that fewer errors could pop up. While some 3rd party publishers had the most difficult time trying to adapt to the systems requirements, first party developers on the other hand were illustrating just how gorgeous their games could look when understanding the utilization of the processor. It was just an advanced and complex piece of machinery that not every studio was able to 100% figure out.
While there were drawbacks for the system, it did vastly succeed with its first party software around 2010 after the release of Uncharted 2. Establishing new properties like inFamous, Little Big Planet, and developing new smaller titles like Journey. It was ahead of the competition when it came to making brand new experiences, and actually took chances.
On the media forefront, what made the PS3 special was having access to Wi-Fi internet connection without paying a yearly/monthly fee. Another option for users was Playstation Plus, a premium program that allowed you to get early access to demos, get discounts, and other exclusive trinkets that you wouldn’t normally get with a regular account. What made it frustrating for certain owners though, were the constant updates the system would had to go through. The system had bugs that ranged from randomly changing the time zone, to firmware updates that made things a bit messy. There was also that little hacking incident not too long ago, I think someone would remember it.
As for the models, the original Playstation 3 one had quite a lot of hate going for it at first. Although in time the size of the console got reduced, forming the slim edition, the super slim edition, and in time probably a Heidi Klum slim edition. One other key component that got added to the PS3 was the Move, which was a unique motion controller with a blue orb on in it that bested the Wii remote in most sexually comparative devices. In due time though, the PS3 gained a lot of respect back and wound up being a very entertaining home media system/gaming console.
Although it was inevitable that the PS3 would run across technical errors, that still didn’t stop it from becoming one of the most renown consoles to ever sit in a living room. The software started out kind of slow, but ended up becoming the much more dominant lineup of the three major publishers. Sony, I tip my hat off to you, but I’m sorry I can’t dip Kaz Hirai in gold. That would be wrong.
[Part 2 is down! What will happen next in the finale of the console retrospective? Will this madness end?! Tune in to find out!]