As DVD playback made the PlayStation 2 more than just a game machine, hefty multi-media features make the PlayStation 3 an even more versatile home entertainment machine. Features such as video chat, internet access, digital photo viewing, and digital audio and video will likely make it the central component of your media set-up. Still, it is first and foremost a powerful gaming console.
Under the Hood
The PS3 features IBM's "Cell" processor and a co-developed Nvidia graphics processor that makes the system able to perform two trillion calculations per second. That makes the PlayStation 3 40 times faster than the PS2. Along with the traditional AV and composite connections, it also boasts an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) port, which delivers uncompressed, unconverted digital picture and sound to compatible high-definition TV and projectors. The system is capable of 128-bit pixel precision and 1080p resolution for a full HD experience. This console also provides for a sound experience by supporting Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, as well as Linear PCM 7.1. A pre-installed 40 GB hard disc drive allows you to save games as well as download content from the internet. Unlike the other models of the PlayStation 3, the 40GB does not offer backwards compatibility.
Blu-Ray Is the New Way
Sony's PlayStation 3 games are encoded onto the Blu-Ray disc media format, which can hold six times as much data as traditional DVDs. This increase in capacity, combined with the awesome power of its processor and graphics card, promises mind-blowing games once developers have learned how to fully harness the new console's power. The PS3 will also support CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD+R formats.
New gamers intuitively move the controller while playing, even though that movement has traditionally had no relation to what's going on in the game. Sony has picked up on this tendency and is using it to bring a new level of control to the PS3. Inside the controller is a high-precision sixaxis sensing system that accurately detects fine movements in pitch, roll, and yaw, as well as three dimensions of movement. This means that future PS3 games will be controlled by the movements of your hands rather than just your thumbs. For example, you might be able to steer a car by holding the controller like a steering wheel.
While the PS3 controller looks much like its Dual Shock predecessors, it will lack the force-feedback vibration since that would only interfere with the sensing system. It uses Bluetooth 2.0 wireless technology and can support wireless controllers. It's a hot-swappable system, so if your controller is running low on power, just pause your game and connect a USB 2.0 cable. You can continue playing while your controller recharges automatically.
A Slew of New Games
A whole host of game publishers back the PS3. Current and future titles for the system, include The Eye of Judgment, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, Final Fantasy XIII, Metal Gear Solid 4, Devil May Cry 4, Tekken 6, and Heavenly Sword.
Sony has stated that the PS3 will have similar online connectivity and services as the next generation of Xbox Live. Calling it "an always on, always connected device," SCEI's chief technical officer Masa Chatani said the PS3 would be constantly in touch with a "PlayStation World" network "fundamentally based on community, communication commerce, and content." Technically, the infrastructure is there to make that connection. The PS3 supports 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T Ethernet, as well as IEEE 802.11 b/g wireless networking protocols.
What's in the Box?