PlayStation 3

The Sony PlayStation 3

The PlayStation 3 (PS3) is 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 reports that it will be based on open APIs for game development.

The PS3 was officially unveiled on May 16, 2005 by Sony during the E3 conference, where the console was first shown to the public. A functional version of the console was not at E3 nor the Tokyo Game Show in September 2005, although at both some 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).

Cost and release date

Sony was originally aiming for a spring 2006 launch as announced at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), but Sony revealed during a press conference in Japan on March 15, 2006 that there will be a delay due to issues over a Dual Shock Technology Patent Infringement and 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 before the 11th of November 2006.

As of March 2006, Sony has not announced a price for the PS3. 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.

Sony has yet to release an official price.

Manufacturing costs

Merrill Lynch estimated, based on a May 2006 launch, the PS3's initial bill-of-materials may have approached $800 per unit. Merrill Lynch expects Sony to sell the PlayStation 3 for less than its manufacturing cost. Common pricing practice in the video game industry is to sell the hardware at a loss and then recoup the losses from game sales and developer licensing.

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.

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 and Tekken 6. In 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 video of Final Fantasy VII's opening sequence remade in PlayStation 3 graphics, at the time recent to the show, Square Enix stated there are no plans for a remake, although at the Final Fantasy XII launch in Japan, a fan asked a head of Square Enix if they were going to remake it, and he said "We will think about it." Square Enix is listed for a Final Fantasy game along with 70 other Japanese developers during TGS 2005. Final Fantasy XIII will also be made.

Controversial games developers Rockstar North have also hinted that they are planning the provisionally named Grand Theft Auto 4, primarily for the PS3. One of the most, if not the most anticipated PS3 game up to this point is Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, which had its first trailer shown at the Tokyo Game Show 2005 event. At this time, only three games have been mentioned as PS3 launch titles: Lair from Factor 5, Warhawk from Incognito Entertainment, and Unreal Tournament 2007 from Epic Games. In the November issue of PSM Magazine, SCEA Chief Operating Officer Jack Tretton mentioned both Lair and Warhawk as launch titles, although Sony would not expand further on his comments. In the January issue of the same publication, it was stated that Epic Games is going to get Unreal Tournament 2007 ready for Spring 2006. However, Epic stated in response that they are working to release the PC version first and that the PS3 version has no priority for release over the PC version. Insomniac Games has also announced a game in the Ratchet & Clank series to be released on the PlayStation 3 sometime in 2007. Silent Hill 5 and Soul Calibur IV are both expected to be released for the PS3 soon after launch.

Backward compatibility


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 only use the Sony Memory Stick to save games via MagicGate. This means that the PS3 will not be able to use PS1 and PS2 memory cards; however, the Memory Stick will be able to store saved games for both PS1 and PS2 games, unlike the PS2's memory card.

However, 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)

On March 15 at the 2006 PlayStation Business Briefing, Sony confirmed that they are preparing an Xbox Live-like online service named "PlayStation Network Platform" (PNP).

Unlike Xbox Live, the PNP will allow licensees to connect their own game servers to the network. SCE will provide a common infrastructure for the service, but the PNP will use the standard Internet.

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 GNU/Linux with Cell extensions developed by IBM.

Hardware specifications

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 8 Synergistic Processing Elements (SPEs). The PPE has a 512 KiB L2 cache and one VMX (AltiVec) vector unit. Each of the eight SPEs is a RISC processor with 128-bit SIMD and superscalar functions. Each SPE has 256 KiB 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:


Theoretical system bandwidth

Audio/video output



It was announced on the 14th of March 2006 that all Playstation 3 games will ship on Blu-Ray discs only (although depending on the success of Blu-Ray may possibly change in the future) however this may not necessarily apply to other Playstation 3 related multi-media software (web browsers, cheat products, PC compatible software and other non-game products due to less susceptability from piracy).



SCEI's press release indicates that controller connectivity to the PlayStation 3 can be provided via:


The design of the concept controller has been likened to a boomerang or a banana by many observers (or even less flattering likenesses). According to the Japanese video game publication Famitsu, Sony Computer Entertainment chief technical officer Masayuki Chatani said that the controller design is a "prototype, so there could be some small adjustments."[13] On March 23, 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. [14]

Physical dimensions

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.


Software development

The PlayStation 3, unlike the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 systems, is based on open and publicly-available application programming interfaces.

The list of open standards includes:

Sublicensed technologies includes:

The list of standards they are reported to be considering includes:

Sony has selected several technologies and arranged several sublicensing agreements to create an advanced software development kit for developers. In addition, Sony recently purchased SN Systems, a former provider of Microsoft Windows based development tools for a variety of console platforms including the PlayStation 2, GameCube, PSP and Nintendo DS to create additional GNU/Linux development tools. Sony is providing all developers with GNU/Linux toolchains where SN Systems will provide more customer-oriented GNU/Linux tools at an additional cost.

Region coding

During a Q&A session at the 2006 Game Developers Conference, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios President Phil Harrison confirmed that the PlayStation 3 will indeed feature region-free gaming.

Blu-ray movies will use a region code. However, the Blu-ray region code will be different from the DVD region code.

Region code Area
1 United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Japan and East Asia (excluding China)
2 Europe and Africa
3 China, Russia, India, Pakistan and all other countries.