2001-2006 was a very interesting era for gaming. It was a generation painted in the mindset of the East (Sony, PlayStation 2) versus West (Microsoft, Xbox), beginning of of the end of Sega’s console development, as the Dreamcast was discontinued. Nintendo’s console, the Gamecube, sold quietly in the background and had a consistently strong line up of games for players to enjoy. During this era, it was clear that the Playstation 2 was beating Xbox by a landslide, as it’s known as the most successful console to ever sell (it sold 155+ million units compared to Xbox’s 24 million). Playstation 2 also had one of the strongest gaming libraries bolstered by great exclusives (Final Fantasy X, Kingdom Hearts, and Gran Tursimo to name a few). However, around 2004-early 2005, rumors and reports began circulating that both Sony and Microsoft were going to be unveiling the successors to both their respective consoles.
On May 16, 2005 during Sony’s Conference for E3, then-president Ken Kutaragi walked onstage and presented what we now know as the Playstation 3. Though it wasn’t playable, the conference went on to show off tech demos displaying what the Playstation 3 was able to render, one most notably being Final Fantasy VII (which I’ve just forgiven with the remake coming out for the Playstation 4) and Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots. The conference also broke down how the system was built, the specs it had, as well as having 6 USB ports, 2 HDMI ports and 3 Ethernet ports, which was exciting and also terrifying. The system was also introducing a brand new technology for discs at the time, Blu-Ray. The Playstation 3 was promising to do a lot, and many wondered if it’d be able to live up to that.
Unfortunately, like the majority of its lifetime, Sony’s E3 2006 conference proved problematic. The system was reduced to 4 USB ports, 1 HDMI and 2 ethernet ports for cost-cutting. Furthermore, two different types of the Playstation 3 were to be released simultaneously: the 20GB model ($499 US, 499 Euros), and the 60GB model ($599, 599Euros). Comparatively, the Xbox 360 released at $399 US. The system’s launch was also very rocky, ranging from pre-order and shelf quantity shortages, to full on delays in release. However, the Playstation 3 was able to launch on November 17, 2006.
Playstation 3’s woes continued with the launch day gaming line-up. Although 14 games were originally slated to be released, there were several major titles that experienced setbacks and delays. Only 12 games were able to make it out on launch day: Resistance: Fall of Men, Call of Duty 3, NBA and NHL 2k7, Madden NFL 07, Genji: Days of the Blade, Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire, Ridge Racers 7 and Tiger Wood’s PGA Golf 07. One of the bright spots coming out from the mired launch was Resistance: Fall of Man being a critic darling and Game of the Year winner. What also made the console unique was its ability to use the internet, run Linux, and be backwards compatible for Playstation and Playstation 2 games. Nothing beat being able to revisit classics without having to switch consoles!
Although it lagged behind the Xbox 360 in units sold and console gaming preference, the Playstation 3 was able to come out of the dismal launch and produce some stellar console-exclusive gems. Games like the Uncharted franchise, Killzone, Ni no Kuni to HD remakes like Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and Kingdom Hearts 1& 2 provided plenty of reason for having a Playstation 3. It also helps that the PS3 was the only gaming console to be using Blu-Ray discs (which was able to beat out HD-DVD).
The Playstation 3 also went through some rebranding, marketing (hello Kevin Butler!) and various models. It also received a much needed upgrade in system memory but lost some features that drew original supporters to the system (linux support and backwards compatibility). In the end, it seems like the system was able to find the right mix to go from being a system that was losing money, to a system that was actually profitable.
Happy Birthday Playstation 3!
About Terry Randolph
The moment he was born, Terry Randolph knew he would play video games. Okay....not the exact moment he was born, but definitely at an early age. His affinity for video games was cemented in the multiple tantrums he threw while being dragged away from playing Sonic the Hedgehod at his daycare when his parents came to pick him up. Since then, Terry continues to enjoy all the experiences gaming provides. He also loves to write short stories and ambitious novel projects. Last Token Gaming was born from both his love of writing and video games. Twitter: @wanderinganbu Email: firstname.lastname@example.org