PlayStation 3



PlayStation 3 is the name of Sony's seventh generation era video game console, third in the PlayStation series. It is the successor to PlayStation and PlayStation 2 and will compete against Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii.

The PS3 is scheduled for release on November 11, 2006 in Japan, November 17, 2006 in the United States and Canada, and March, 2007 in Europe and Australasia, and will ship in two initial configurations. Sony officially unveiled the PS3 to the public on May 16, 2005 during an E3 conference. A functional version of the console was not at E3 2005 or the Tokyo Game Show in September 2005, although at both events, demonstrations were held on devkits (e.g. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots) and comparable PC hardware, and video footage based on the predicted PS3 specifications was produced (e.g. Mobile Suit Gundam). It wasn't until E3 2006 that games were shown on actual PlayStation 3 systems. In preparation for launch, Sony demonstrated 27 playable PS3 titles during the Tokyo Game Show in September 2006 on final hardware. SCEA will determine ten applicants to attend a Launch Party in Los Angeles on November 8, 2006.

Sony's initial retail strategy for the PlayStation 3 will involve two configurations detailed in a Sony press release. The "premium" version of the PlayStation 3 will come with an internal 60 GB Serial ATA 2.5" hard drive, Wi-Fi connectivity, and multiple flash memory card readers, and features a brighter cosmetic silver-colored trim. Both consoles now feature a silver-colored logo, to add to the cosmetic appeal of the packages. The second, alternate configuration of the console will have a 20 GB internal hard drive, but will not feature Wi-Fi or a memory card reader. The hard drive is upgradeable, and memory card and Wi-Fi support can be added through adapters.

David Wilson, Head of Public Relations at Sony Computer Entertainment UK, stated that both models will likely be sold in the UK market, but both may not be available at launch. Previously, Sony Computer Entertainment UK Marketing Director Ray Maguire had stated that only the 60 GB version would be available at launch. Sony announced on September 6, 2006 that the PAL (European and Australasia) launch has been delayed until March, 2007 due to a shortage of diodes used in the Blu-ray drive. Sony have said that they will take legal action against anyone selling imported consoles to EU consumers.

In Japan, Sony has opted to go with an open pricing scheme for the 60 GB model, allowing retailers to set a price point themselves. Rakuten, one of the biggest Japanese online retailers, has set their price point at ¥71,800, or ¥75,390 with taxes added (about US$675). A Merrill Lynch research report estimates the production cost to Sony of a PlayStation 3 console - not including the hard drive but including two more USB ports and another HDMI Output - to be US$800 if they were manufactured for a launch in Spring. Sony has just recently announced that the HDMI cable will not be included, instead Composite[citation needed] video cables will be included.

There have also been statements by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) President and CEO Kaz Hirai suggesting games may cost somewhere between US$60 and US$100, more than the US$60 standard for higher-priced games. The official Sony website, as of 2006-10-15, offers game preorders at US$59.99.

Sony has stated that the PlayStation 3 will have backward compatibility with the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, and that every PS1 and PS2 game that observes its respective system's TRC (Technical Requirements Checklist) will be playable on PS3 at launch. SCE president Ken Kutaragi asked developers to adhere to the TRC to facilitate compatibility with future PlayStations, stating that the company was having some difficulty getting backward compatibility with games that had not followed the TRCs. "Either it's accidental or on purpose; there's actually a lot of games that don't follow the TRC." It has been reported that initial PS3 units will include the CPU/rasterizer combination chip used in slim PS2 (EE+GS) to achieve backward compatibility.

The PlayStation 3 does not include interfaces for legacy PlayStation devices, but there will be an adapter for the memory cards so users can save their PS1/PS2 data on to a virtual memory card in the hard drive. USB devices for PlayStation 2 may be compatible with PlayStation 3. PlayStation 3 can use Memory Sticks to store save data for PlayStation and PlayStation 2 software.

The PlayStation 3, unlike the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 systems[citation needed], is based on open and publicly available application programming interfaces. The PlayStation 3 development kit system distributed by Sony was recently praised by IGN as having "distinct lack of noise and heat coming from the system". Despite earlier rumours of programming being difficult, IGN reports that they were told that the dev kit "seemed extremely adaptive and easy to program for". Sony has selected several technologies and arranged several sublicensing agreements to create an advanced software development kit for developers. In addition, in 2005 Sony purchased SN Systems, a former provider of Microsoft Windows-based development tools for a variety of console platforms; including PlayStation 2, GameCube, PSP and Nintendo DS to create additional GNU development tools. Sony is providing all developers with GNU toolchains[citation needed], and SN Systems will provide customer-oriented wrappers for GNU tools at an additional cost.

The open standards are specified by the Khronos Group, and are intended to work with Nvidia's Cg programming language. Scene data are stored with COLLADA v1.4, an open, XML-based file format.[30]. Rendering uses PSGL, a modified version of OpenGL ES 1.0 (OpenGL ES 2.0 compliant except for the use of Cg instead of GLSL), with extensions specifically aimed at the PS3[31]. Other specifications include OpenMAX, a collection of fast, cross-platform tools for general "media acceleration," such as matrix calculations, and OpenVG, for hardware-accelerated 2D vector graphics. These specifications have GPL, free for any use, and/or commercial implementations by third parties.

Sublicensed technology includes complete game engines, physics libraries, and special libraries. Engines include Epic's Unreal engine 3.0. Physics libraries include AGEIA's PhysX SDK, NovodeX, and Havok's physics and animation engines. Other tools include Pixelux's Game Asset Synthesis Technology[citation needed] (a toolkit for advanced procedural synthesis) and the Digital Molecular Matter engine plug in for Maya and 3d Studio Max, Nvidia's Cg 1.5 (a C-like shading language, which HLSL was based upon), SpeedTree RT by Interactive Data Visualization, Inc. (high-quality virtual foliage in real time), and Kynogon's Kynapse 4.0 "large scale A.I."

Sony has considered using IPv6, the next generation of the Internet Protocol.

The PlayStation 3 version of the Cross Media Bar demonstrated at E3 2006 (video) included options for different user profiles, the ability to explore photos, play music and movies from the hard drive, compatibility for a USB Keyboard and Mouse, a full Internet browser and a Friends menu. In a separate demo Sony presented the "Marketplace" where users can buy and download music. Linux will be pre-installed on the PS3 hard drive. Currently it is unknown if Linux will be the operating system used to run everything, including the Cross Media Bar, or if the system will operate as a dual boot environment, where Linux would be loaded from the Cross Media Bar menu.

Sony has also worked with Stanford University to bring the Folding@home project to the PS3. When downloaded, the program will run when the system is idle.

Because we have plans for having Linux on board the PS3, we also recognize Linux programming activities… Other than game studios tied to official developer licenses, we'd like to see various individuals participate in content creation for the PS3.

——Izumi Kawanishi on the presence of the Linux in the PS3.

In response to Microsoft's successful Xbox Live network, Sony announced a unified online service for the Playstation 3's console at the 2006 PlayStation Business Briefing meeting in Tokyo; tentatively titled "PlayStation Network Platform". Sony has confirmed that the service will be always connected, free and include multiplayer support. However, developers are permitted to charge a subscription fee, as is common with MMO games.

On September 12th, it was believed to be confirmed that the PNP would be combined with a modfied version of the Xfire client to provide various match-making facilites, such as Friends Lists, among other features. However, Xfire CEO Mike Cassidy later clarified: "Xfire is not part of the PlayStation Network Platform. We are in discussions with Sony Online Entertainment, but I cannot comment any further."

In Tokyo Game Show on September 21st, it was revealed that users will be able to download some of the thousands of PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 titles from the PlayStation Network Platform for a fee, starting with those with the smallest game data. The reason to allow this kind of functionality is that Sony wants to allow the users to choose the games of their preference. Ken Kutaragi also announced functionality with other consoles, similar to Nintendo upcoming Virtual Console, including confirmed Sega Genesis and Turbo Grafx 16 functionality. However, SEGA has replied that Sony has been too hasty with calling it a fact. SEGA is currently reviewing the possibilities, but have not yet made a decision on it.

The PlayStation Portable can connect with the PS3 in many ways, including game connectivity, including a racing game shown at E3 2006 which uses the PSP as a rear-view mirror. Sony also will allow the PS3 to send PlayStation 1 games to the PSP that will be able to be used on the PSP's PlayStation 1 Emulator, which will be released alongside the PS3.

Sony have also demonstrated the PSP playing back video content, including 1080p content from the PS3 hard disk across a Ad-Hoc wireless network, it's also been rumoured it's capable of playing movies on the PSP, from the PS3's Blu-Ray drive. This featured it referred to as Remote Play.

Sony asked PlayStation Underground members to rank features they would like concerning PSP interaction with the PS3. Possible features listed include using the device to complete side missions for PS3 games, transferring media wirelessly from the PS3 to the PSP, using the PSP as an additional weapon/utility while playing PS3 games, and recording PS3 gameplay video to the PSP.

On 17 October 2006, a month before the console release, Terrasoft announced a version of Yellow Dog Linux for PlayStation 3. Terrasoft will be using the PS3 for their own supercomputing clusters as well. Yellow Dog Linux is not yet confirmed to be the official version, which Sony initially said would be pre-installed on the PS3 hard drive. Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 is already listed in Terrasoft's store, for US$50 including a printed manual and DVDs for sources and pre-compiled applications; the applications include recent versions of the Linux kernel, the GNU Compiler Collection, Firefox, and OpenOffice.org. Terrasoft stated the installer "enables absolutely anyone to install without instruction." Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 integrates code from the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Sony, and Red Hat's Fedora Core 5.

Unless otherwise noted, the following specifications are based on a press release by Sony at the 2005 E3 Conference, and slides from a Sony presentation at the 2006 Game Developer's Conference.

The PS3's 3.2 GHz Cell processor, developed jointly by Sony, Toshiba and IBM ("SIT"), is an implementation to dynamically assign physical processor cores to do different types of work independently. It has a PowerPC-based "Power Processing Element" (PPE) and six accessible 3.2 GHz Synergistic Processing Elements (SPEs), a seventh runs in a special mode and is dedicated to OS security, and an eighth disabled to improve production yields. The PPE, SPE's and other elements ("units") are connected via an Element Interconnect Bus which serves to connect all of the units in a ring-style bus. The PPE has a 512KB level 2 cache and one VMX vector unit. Each of the SPEs is a RISC processor with 128 128-bit SIMD GPRs and superscalar functions. Each SPE contains 256KB of non-cached memory (local storage, "LS") that is shared by program code and work data. SPEs may access more data in the main memory using DMA. The floating point performance of the whole system (CPU + GPU) is reported to be 2.18 TFLOPS[45]. PlayStation 3's Cell CPU achieves 204 GFLOPS single precision float and 15 GFLOPS double precision. The PS3 will ship with 256 MB of Rambus XDR DRAM, clocked at CPU die speed.

Regarding real world results on high computing power, the Cell processor allows programmers to assign SPE's to do different work by instructing the SPE cores to run special programs, and programmers may arrange their data flow in different ways, for example using parallel, pipelined or streamed processing data flow models. As an example for parallel processing performance gains, you can instruct one core to work on decoding and multiplexing audio, another core to perform computations on realistic projectiles subject to changing gravity constraints and yet another to govern the activities of the main character. The programmer still has 3 more cores not yet assigned but the only remaining task is to collect the work performed and display the results on the screen. Now that each core can be dedicated to one task instead of being interrupted and switching contexts repeatedly like conventional architectures, the efficiency and throughput goes up. In addition, since the program code on each SPE core is executed from its local LS memory, much more Element Interconnect Bus bandwidth is available to transfers of work data, thus allowing more efficient use of the bus, again increasing efficiency and throughput. A possible downside is that this also places a 256KB size restriction on the SPE program code, which may present a challenge for certain programming tasks.

The Graphic processing unit is based on NVIDIA G70 (previously known as NV47) architecture, which focuses on maximizing per-pixel computation in favor of raw pixel output. The GPU will make use of 256 MB GDDR3 VRAM clocked at 550 MHz. The GPU has access to the XDR main memory as well.

It also supports a wide array of standard and HDTV resolutions (up to 1080p) and connectivity options (such as HDMI and Component video). In terms of audio, the PS3 will support a number of advanced audio formats, including 7.1 digital audio, Dolby TrueHD, and others. For the optical drive, a wide variety of DVD and CD formats are supported, as well as Blu-ray Disc. A 20 GB / 60 GB 2.5" SATA150 Hard Disk Drive is pre-installed and coupled with Linux. In the 60GB configuration, Flash Memory can also be used — either Memory Stick, CompactFlash, or SD/MMC. For communication, the PS3 will have one Gigabit ethernet port, four USB 2.0 ports, and will support Bluetooth 2.0 EDR.

The console uses heat pipes and Sony claims the system will be as quiet as a slim PS2, at 22db. Physically, the PLAYSTATION 3 is approximately 5 kg (11 lb), 9.8 cm × 32.5 cm × 27.4 cm (3.9 in. × 12.8 in. × 10.8 in.). The power supply will be built into the console. A standard 3-pin IEC connector is present at the base of the console.

The PS3 SIXAXIS is a controller that is nearly identical to that of the predecessor's DualShock. The Sixaxis features finer analogue sensitivity,[48] more trigger-like R2 and L2 buttons, an OX button[verification needed], and a USB mini-B port for charging the internal battery and use for wired play. There are four numbered LED indicators as well, to identify and distinguish multiple wireless controllers. The PlayStation 3 supports up to 7 simultaneous controllers over Bluetooth. The Sixaxis is named for its ability to detect motion in the full six degrees. Unlike the previous DualShock however, this new controller has no vibration feature; Sony says this would interfere with the motion sensor.

Using Bluetooth, the PLAYSTATION 3 BD Remote will retail for 3,800 Yen (about US$35).

The SIXAXIS controller will retail for $50, the offical PS3 Blu-Ray remote will retail for $30, the Memory Card adapter will retail for $15, and the official PS3 HDMI cable will retail for $50. No HDMI cable will be included with the PS3 system. The Blu-Ray movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby will be included with the initial 400,000 release copies of the PS3 in North America.

The high launch price of the PS3 has been subjected to much criticism, from analysts and developers alike. Sony executive Phil Harrison has defended the price by citing its Blu-ray support and overall value. A drop in Sony's stock price following its fourth-quarter earnings report has been speculated to be in part due to uncertainties about the company's game business; analysts have voiced concerns about the viability of the PlayStation 3.

In what could be the first big advertising campaign, the PLAYSTATION 3 was featured in the advertising boards of 16 stadiums across Europe, during the Matchday 1 of the UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 Group Stage, on September 12, 2006 and September 13, 2006. Similar advertising was present at other matches for a short time but has since been replaced by PSP advertising, perhaps as a result of the system's launch delay.

Television advertisements also began airing in the United States, carrying the slogan "PLAY B3YOND – 1117."Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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