Sony Playstation 3
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Second revision PlayStation 3 with two USB sockets (reduced from four) and a 40GB hard disk drive, down from 60GB. The memory card slots were also removed, along with Playstation 2 backward compatibility.
The original PlayStation 3 was released on 23rd March 2007, and initially had a rather shaky start, the machine cost £429.99, way more than their rival Xbox 360 that had released a year and a half earlier, that already had a comfortable market share in the UK, thanks to the excellent Gears of War series and continuation of the Halo franchise, as well as the Xbox live service that Sony was just not able to match at that time.
The hardware on paper was impressive, a built in Blu Ray drive, 4 memory card slots, 60GB hard drive, four USB ports and a good deal of the PS2 library was backwards compatible with the new machine.
The main problem was the Blu Ray drive was slow for games, meaning large installs, to avoid longer loading times, and the memory of the machine was not as efficient as the Xbox 360, added to this was a sluggish main processor, which relied on sub processors to deal with more advanced graphical functions, making the machine very difficult and expensive to develop for.
The first party games from Sony were slightly under par from previous machines too, with only Motorstorm really standing out.
Also the marketing videos from the previous two years at trade shows, showed games like Motorstorm running, but when the titles finally appeared, they looked far less impressive.
With the launch of the PlayStation 2, Sony was quick to market it as having the new DVD technology built in and overthought that people would upgrade from their DVD players to the new Hi Res Blu Ray format of the PS3, when in reality most were happy with what they had got, and were not willing to spend more money on a new machine and film collection, like they had with the PlayStation 2 seven years earlier.
So for all these reasons ports of third party games did not run as well on the PS3, for the first couple of years of it's market life at least, and the machine was seen as less of a games machine, more of a multimedia jack of all trades that played games, first party offerings such as Lair and Folklore did little to capture the public's imagination, an image and situation that was only dispelled with the launch of games such as Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Killzone 2.
Also the first DualShock 3 did not have a rumble feature, something players had long got used to, favouring motion controls instead, it took over a year for a pad with that function to appear, due to pressure from the consumer.
The price issue was solved to a degree with the launch of cheaper models, however PS2 compatibility was lost, along with the memory card slots and a couple of USB ports, much cheaper still models such as the slim were released in the coming years, which were an even more cut down experience, losing the eject drive mechanism in favour of a sliding door.
Also the quality of first party games soon improved, as did the third parties output, and new features such as PlayStation + for an online service, and some great downloadable software made the machine much more attractive to own.
Gradually the PS3 began to overtake the Xbox 360 in much of the world, and eventually would sell a couple of million more worldwide, but in the UK and the US, Microsoft had a clear lead, a situation now reversed with the PS4 and Xbox One.
Manufacturer: Sony Corporation
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This exhibit has a reference ID of CH43559. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
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