The Playstation 3
May 16, 2005 5:14 PM   Subscribe

The Playstation3... Theres a few images out, and so far its all looking official. Full specs here, and Engadget has coverage.
posted by lemonfridge (54 comments total)
But I hear the new XBox will be better...

kidding. man am I tired of the vaporware hype coming out of the tech press lately.
posted by anthill at 5:30 PM on May 16, 2005

Oh man. Oh man. Oh man.

How I wish Linux or even a proprietary BeOS-like thing gets made for this (anything with a Java API basically).

I'm a pretty big Mac chauvinist, but getting an open Java environment on this puppy would make it the next Amiga 500 and I'd be all over it as a developer, like white on rice.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:41 PM on May 16, 2005

I'll be buying the x-box first.
posted by BackwardsHatClub at 5:42 PM on May 16, 2005

Let me get the ball rolling by saying that the controllers are just hideous.
posted by Evstar at 5:43 PM on May 16, 2005

Round top. Can't stack anything on top of it. Bad.
posted by Nelson at 5:46 PM on May 16, 2005

Can we just settle on some standard-sized white lozenge for all electronic components? Maybe pass a law or something? Every single company seems to be drifting this way already...let's get it over with.
posted by odinsdream at 5:47 PM on May 16, 2005

is, are, I'm throwing myself into the good.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 5:48 PM on May 16, 2005

The controllers are truly crap. However, this: is purported to be an IN GAME screenshot from an upcoming ps3 title...
posted by stenseng at 5:48 PM on May 16, 2005

anthill: technically, to qualify as "vaporware" (see Duke Nukem Forever) these devices would have to never see the light of a store shelf. The XBOX360 and PS3 are done deals that will launch and be sold. Is it shameless marketing hype? Hell yes. Vaporware? Not so much.
posted by stenseng at 5:51 PM on May 16, 2005

The PS3 is backwards compatible, and last I knew it was unconfirmed whether the same was true for the Xbox 360. If not, I'll take the PS3 first for sure barring some absolute must-have Xbox launch titles.

Design-wise, the PS3 kills the Xbox 360, though I'll be replacing that controller with an aftermarket for sure. I prefer the vertical position and stack my crap on the Xbox, so Nelson's complaint doesn't apply here.

Finally, is it me or is the "Playstation 3" on the unit really similar to the Spiderman movie font?
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:56 PM on May 16, 2005

Actually, the comments on Engadget reveal that the design in those images is old and not likely accurate. So I'll reserve judgment.
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:00 PM on May 16, 2005

It's not just you, schoolgirl report. That type is exactly the same as the one used for Spider-man. What a weird decision.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:04 PM on May 16, 2005

Wow, pretty much every link in the FPP timed out for me. Engadget just loaded up a second ago actually.

As long as the next Playstation I buy doesn't make sounds like a dying goat every time I start it up, I'll be happy.
posted by fenriq at 6:05 PM on May 16, 2005

Those controllers are... different. I can't decide if they look ultra ergonomic, or super uncomfortable for hours of gaming. They look odd, though. Like some bizarre future boomerang.

I'll be getting the xbox first, but not for at least a year. I bought a first generation the last time around and regret it to this day. I'm the only person I know with a (semi) functional first generation game system of any kind.
There will be bugs in both of them, but it may take getting a few thousand in circulation before they're discovered. I'd prefer to drop my week's pay after they're ironed out. (and wait until they shave a hundred off the price.)

The screenshot does look cool, as do the xbox ones from E3. I really wonder, seeing what the two major contenders are launching, where we go from here. Full on virtual reality? Graphics so realistic that you literally can't tell them apart from a live action movie?
posted by Kellydamnit at 6:08 PM on May 16, 2005

The new XBox looks way past amazing... if they can ship that thing for $300, it's gonna have some serious momentum by the time the PS3 ships. They really got it right, from what I can see... they didn't skimp on RAM like they did in the first XBox. (in fact, if they had given the first XBox 128 megs of RAM, it would still be picking up steam instead of petering out... 64 megs is just crippling on a system that's still quite powerful in other respects.) 512 megs is very respectable and should last a good long time. You can do A LOT with 512 megs, even at the higher resolutions in HD. They got it to the point of diminishing returns.... under 512 would have been limiting, but over 512 is just wasteful at the moment. I'm very pleased with their decision.

I'm sure I'll end up owning both, just like I do now. In the current generation, I think the XBox is by far the strongest technically and has the longest 'legs'. The PS2 is looking pretty wimpy, when XBox games still look great. But I really like HDLoader on the PS2. Wish they had something like that for XBox. Almost instant-load games are SO nice.

Anyway, the new XBox looks surpassingly powerful, so even if the PS3 is better, big deal -- for the first couple years, it won't matter much, and by then everyone who really cares will own both anyway.

The XBox 360 looks like it will just spank my $2K, hand-built, carefully tuned PC, which is incredibly impressive.

I strongly suspect this is the largest technical jump consoles will ever make, and I also believe that further improvements will be in different areas. Three 3.2ghz CPUs is just a boatload of processing power. It's gonna take a long time to figure out how to fill all that up. I think further improvements may be much more incremental.... considering that PC development has slowed so much, I'm guessing that this generation of console is going to last a good long time.

If you like gaming, I think buying an XBox 360 is pretty much a no-brainer.

OP: Kelly, I have one of the first generation XBoxes. The first unit was DOA. The second unit was fine until recently, when the DVD started to go. I replaced it with a custom, faster DVD drive. This cost me $75 and took about an hour of hacking on the XBox to get it intstalled, but it runs like greased lightning now, WAY faster than stock. If you buy early into a console, it'll be both less reliable and more hackable... the problems and bugs can work in your favor too.
posted by Malor at 6:15 PM on May 16, 2005

Oh, another thing I just spotted... the tech specs page finally loaded. It looks like the PS2 is using the 'normal' method of having some RAM be for the CPUs and some RAM be allocated to the GPU, much like how PCs work.

It sounds like the Xbox will use a unified architecture, where all the RAM is accessible to both units. (there's also supposedly about 10mb of local cache on the GPU to accelerate things). This is slower, because you can get contention when trying to access RAM, but more flexible... you can allocate different amounts of RAM for different purposes depending on how your app is coded. And I STRONGLY suspect that 256 megs of VRAM is probably too much when your 'system RAM' is only 256; Sony might have done better with a 384/128 split.

I'm not sure which is better... I'm tending to think that the flexibility will matter more than the raw speed... but the only way to be sure will be seeing what the games look like.

Both systems look to be jaw-droppingly amazing. I'm very much looking forward to them.
posted by Malor at 6:28 PM on May 16, 2005

I'll get whatever has the best games. I can only afford one console at a time, so that probably will mean I'll wait until all three are out and get more than just the first round of games.
posted by zsazsa at 6:31 PM on May 16, 2005

After getting burned buying a Japanese XBox only to find out that almost every single game I wanted was released only in America (or, rather, released everywhere except Japan), I've decided to wait at least a year before sinking my money in either one.
posted by Bugbread at 6:44 PM on May 16, 2005

Round top. Can't stack anything on top of it. Bad.

At first I thought an xbox 360 might stack on top but then I realized the 360 was concave along a different axis.
posted by bobo123 at 7:08 PM on May 16, 2005

It would be quite amusing if the only home electronics that you could stack on top of a PS3 was an XBox360 and vice versa.
posted by Bugbread at 7:20 PM on May 16, 2005

I just like to shoot bad guys and blow things up.
posted by MrZero at 7:28 PM on May 16, 2005

Another in-game screenshot.
posted by furtive at 7:34 PM on May 16, 2005

The spiderman font is a baffler. If this wasn't all over the place, I would've sworn it was a hoax. Did ya notice 3 ethernet ports, described as "1 input and 2 output"? Is this thing going to be a router or firewall? If not, WTF?
posted by ulotrichous at 7:35 PM on May 16, 2005

Is anyone else having a hard time envisioning being able to purchase one of these things without taking out a second mortgage? I will be *stunned* if the X-box 360 retails for less than $500 (and even then, MS will be eating some serious loss) and I can't imagine this being much less than $400.

Really, all Nintendo would have to do is maintain the $200 price point for the Revolution, and they'd regain market share. As nifty as the Sony and MS boxen look, they're almost certainly going to price themselves out of the game.
posted by InnocentBystander at 7:42 PM on May 16, 2005

Gamespot has posted links to Sony's E3 PS3 game demos.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:43 PM on May 16, 2005

But I really like HDLoader on the PS2. Wish they had something like that for XBox.

software mod
posted by jimmy at 7:43 PM on May 16, 2005

The AnandTech story bobo123 posted says it's a 2-port gigabit hub, which makes sense when they also mention an HD IP camera. The crazy thing's gonna have gigabit ethernet peripherals... combined with the shocking SD and CF slots, this is a set of very interesting moves by Sony.
posted by ulotrichous at 7:50 PM on May 16, 2005

Christ, how am I going to afford the HD tv that I will need to appreciate this?
posted by jmgorman at 8:25 PM on May 16, 2005

From the AnandTech story: The RSX (the graphics chip in the PS3, supported by 512 megs of vram) is more powerful than two GeForce 6800 Ultra video cards, which would cost roughly $1,000 total if purchased today.


(or maybe it should be $$)
posted by PurplePorpoise at 8:25 PM on May 16, 2005

posted by PurplePorpoise at 8:26 PM on May 16, 2005

That thing pushes two teraflops! Are you kidding me, two fucking teraflops? A 3.06Ghz P4 chip tops out at 12 gigaflops. That means the PS3 has the 3D math capability of ~166 P4 CPUs.

That is insane...
posted by SweetJesus at 9:22 PM on May 16, 2005


Don't drink the Kool-aid! Note that this is "system capability" - essentially the floating point power of every chip in the system lined up and added together. And also that these in-order execution chips behave extremely poorly when faced with things other than 3D math. Like, you know, gameplay code.
posted by Ptrin at 9:40 PM on May 16, 2005

What's wrong with the controllers? Those look comfy.

Conversely: Attention industrial stylists of all sorts: Round, chunkily exciting shapes for actual device boxes belong in science fiction novels and films. Sure, they look cool. But they stack like crap.
posted by loquacious at 10:12 PM on May 16, 2005

I have a feeling that was intentional. You can't stack anything on it, so darn it, you'll just have to set it on top where everyone who comes to your place can get a good look at it.
posted by 4easypayments at 10:29 PM on May 16, 2005

What's wrong with the controllers? Those look comfy.

You are apparently not one of us dumbflicks who cannot run with our right hand, and look with our left.
I have not been able to use one of these controllers since whatever system had "James Bond; Goldeneye" ..
N64? it was a friends of mine, so I only played it sporatically, but I had to play it with my hands crossed.. even then, I was deadly...

I much prefer PC formats where you can define keys.. every key.. to do a specific function..and I love mouse controll with "look" mode, reguardless of movement.
I'll stick with PC games..
Maybe I'm just too old fangled and .. well.. old.
posted by Balisong at 11:38 PM on May 16, 2005

Christ, how am I going to afford the HD tv that I will need to appreciate this?

What he said. The change for one of the consoles I probably got covered, but it's hard to justify buying a tv when I got one that, y'know, works (albeit not in even the weakest form of HD). Makes me want to arrange an "accident" for my television.
posted by juv3nal at 12:05 AM on May 17, 2005

Watched the entire 1 hour 50 minute 3 second presentation on Gamespot. It was pretty interesting, lots of technical data. Still suspicious ever since the "Toy Story in real time" claims from the ps2. I did like the amount of content shown, it just made me more pissed at microsoft for that mtv xbox presentation that had only a minute and a half total of game footage ("pimp my xbox", jeesh).

Killzone 2 looked really good, the best graphics I've ever seen from a game. The smoke coming out after the explosions looked wonderful. Only a couple of clips really looked to me like actual gameplay, some game from Insomniac Games (some FPS that starts out like a WWII game but has HL2 like aliens) and a Ubisoft game (another FPS). I noticed in a clip from a Formula 1 game showed a car crashing that had the word "BOX" on it.

I was amused they used as part of the tech demo a cg Alfred Molina. Not remotely realistic looking but it had some nice details like the ears were slightly translucent when a bright light was moved behind them.

On Preview: One neat thing they mentioned is that the PS3 supports dual screens, like you could have stats and inventory on one monitor and your game on another. So maybe you could have your old tv and a new HDTV hooked up at the same time? Anyway I'm sure these new systems will look nice even you don't have a HDTV.
posted by bobo123 at 12:17 AM on May 17, 2005

Balisong: I'm the same way.
I've never been make as many frags with a control, even N64's, than with a mouse and a keyboard. Didn't Microsoft come with a control where you could rotate half of it to look around places? Has anyone used this?
Honestly, I'm looking forward to the day where I can experience total immersion in first-person shooters without actually having to go to war.
posted by Tlahtolli at 1:33 AM on May 17, 2005

Coming at this from a position of absolutely loathing the Xbox 360 (frankly, Microsoft's ideology re: competitive play, online-focused games, 'achievement'-based oneupmanship and focus-testing (see: '360', male avatars in games) irritates me to the point where I plan to track down J Allard to his home and throw things at him all day), I have to say I'm impressed and relieved that Sony have come up with the goods. Although why on earth they decided to show the silver version of the PS3 rather than the much nicer black and white shells is completely beyond me. Also, MS: tangible support from non-American developers is a good thing. Not everyone wants to play Tom Clancy games and get screamed at by snotty Yank children.

I think I'm alone amongst everyone on all the forums I've read this morning in really, really liking the new banana-controller. I've always thought the Dual Shock was a pretty horrendous, uncomfortable piece of design (the stick placement, the shape of the triggers etc), and it's a great relief to see Sony actually redesigning the thing instead of shipping exactly the same pad again. The D-pad and buttons on the new controller look exactly like those on the PSP, to be honest (and with all the talk of connectivity between the two, I'm not surprised), which is good since the controls on the PSP (shoulder buttons notwithstanding) are some of the nicest I've used. I wouldn't be massively surprised if the shipped version of the PS3 pad had slightly shorter grips, mind. I've only one further hope with the thing - for the love of god, make the sticks tighter this time.

Oh yeah, and if you're stacking things on top of current-gen consoles, that's why they're making noises like goats. Although the 360 being concave and the PS3 being convex is weird... I wonder if it's related to the old rumour about MS making the top of the Xbox slightly rounded to stop people putting their PS2s on top of it.
posted by terpsichoria at 2:01 AM on May 17, 2005

A factor that hasn't been given due consideration in this thread is the online aspect. Microsoft have a tried and tested system in Xbox live -- I haven't used my PS2 online but I gather they are certainly behind in this respect.

Halo 3 is the only killer app for Xbox 360 as far as I'm concerned. The release line-up does nothing for me, whereas I am sure the PS3s will have at least two, perhaps three titles I consider to be must-have.

I don't care much about which is more powerful. It's the least of several factors as far as I am concerned, including the controller design. It's a tough one to call at this stage.
posted by nthdegx at 4:12 AM on May 17, 2005

Round top. Can't stack anything on top of it. Bad.

And how are you supposed to stick it under your TV if it's not squared-off and flat? If that is the final case design, I think they've really dropped the ball.
posted by tapeguy at 4:18 AM on May 17, 2005

The deciding factor for me is the launch titles. Those DS burns on my back are still a long time a-heal'n. I'll prolly end up owning 2 out of 3 systems, one of which will likely be the Revolution due to the rumors of it playing well with the DS.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:32 AM on May 17, 2005

Penny Arcade had an interesting take on HDTV and the next-gen series of consoles.
posted by ruddhist at 5:39 AM on May 17, 2005

Sure, they look nice, but will they run Gorilla?
posted by The Dryyyyy Cracker at 7:51 AM on May 17, 2005

How I wish Linux or even a proprietary BeOS-like thing gets made for this (anything with a Java API basically).

Sony has mentioned that they'll be using the cell processor in embedded Linux devices, so it's not much of a stretch to assume that the PS3 is already running Linux.

Also, an IBM employee has been submitting kernel patches to allow the Linux PPC branch to run on BPA ("cell") processors, so your wish will probably be granted before you can even buy a PS3.
posted by cmonkey at 9:35 AM on May 17, 2005

The asthetic of the new PS3 controller aside, does anyone know if they're finally going to add analog triggers to it? The XBox, and the Dreamcast before it, had the best controllers for racing games short of a steering wheel & pedal set, and I still just don't have a good place to mount that other than my computer desk (which has a lovely red Logitech MOMO Force mounted on it). The analog triggers for gas & brake are SO much better than using one of the dual shock's analog sticks, the throw is longer and you can hit the gas and the brake at the same time if you need to stabilize a twitching car.
posted by Swervo at 10:44 AM on May 17, 2005

A lot of y'all are missing the point of the ps3...where to start oh where to start...

* It is indeed round, and I think more for functionality than style. This thing will be pumping out *tons* of heat, and you really dont want anything on top of it, or have it shoved in a tight space where it wont get enough fresh air..
* The controllers do indeed look like boomerangs, but they are BLUETOOTH !!! No more wires, no crappy IR thing to aim at and best of all, no more multitaps to buy, as 7 controllers can run at once...I have a pc controller that looks almost exactly like it, and it is quite comfortable. I will grant that the *original* US dual-shock controller was the best ever made (it was much bigger than the ones they make now, perfect for large hands) yet there was only one revision of it and nothing since.
* It is signifigantly faster than the xbox (anywhere from 10-30%) and uses Cell (the APUs crunch through vector calculations, and there are 8 on the chip) processors, XDRAM (insane bus speeds), and a graphics chip that wont be available for PCs for many months (said to run twice as fast as TWO 6800 Ultras). This is very different from the xbox architechture, and much better. All of this will help push these technologies to the mainstream and help bring prices down.
* Finally, all this will run up to 1080p (1080i and 720p as will only do 720p and 1080i) so there will be a storm of HD sets being sold, bringing the price down on those as well.
The integration of SD and CF memory slots is very cool, I can only hope this will be for game saving, and not just photo slideshows and the like. I am so frelling tired of paying $30/MB for console'd be nice to get some news on that soon.
In all, both systems are quite impressive, but my money is still on sony pulling out the superior box, tho a year later than the xbox debut. It will be very fun to watch the price wars over this, they can't be too expensive, since that would defeat the whole point of console systems and bite them in the ass. It would be great to see M$ price the xbox too high and get a huge public backlash with poor can watch to see what we will pay for such a system.
posted by gren at 10:52 AM on May 17, 2005

Is it just me, or does this negate the need for conventional pc's? Shouldn't AMD/Intel be extremely concerned?

The performance of the cell processor is simply a level above - all media professionals/individuals who engage in high performance computing will want one and the price point is clearly not going to be prohibitive (as the console won't be above $3-400).

With the bluetooth connectivity, all you need is a bluetooth keyboard, mouse and a HD lcd panel for your monitor. Or two monitors.

Operating system is, of course, a concern, but I'm sure some flavour of linux will run on it just fine if they want it to (as above posts)
posted by Mossy at 11:35 AM on May 17, 2005

To the comment above about pricepoint - the whole model for xbox360 and ps3 is selling the consoles at a loss and making up the difference in title sales.

The estimated price point for both is ~300 bones.

The new controller is awful. Yeesh. It looks like a $10 saitek gamepad I used to have, and the ergonomics were craptastic.

The Dualshock controller is far and away the best gamepad ever, as far as ergonomics, button placement, and balance between game types goes. I'd expect to see people snapping up dualshock form factor controllers left and right to go with their shiny new ps3

on preview: mossy, this would only negate conventional pcs if there weren't a few things missing, such as standardized hardware compatibility, a functional generally compatible operating system (some flavor of XP or OSX), harddisk storage of decent speed, size, and upgradeability, and oh, a ton of other factors.

The ps3 isn't a pc killer. The Xbox360 is closer, but really both are still just game consoles, with the xbox looking to push into the media center market.
posted by stenseng at 11:56 AM on May 17, 2005

Is it just me, or does this negate the need for conventional pc's? Shouldn't AMD/Intel be extremely concerned?

If the memory were upgradable, and if Sony didn't have a history of keeping software proprietary , it would be.
posted by cmonkey at 12:30 PM on May 17, 2005

I was thinking more of the cell processor architecture than the ps3 as a whole.

They've clearly intimated that they're going to have it outside of the ps3 as its not only a sony thing.. Considering current pc processors are over $500 for a fraction of the performance in media, I am sure there would be a ready market even if the processor itself is above that.

However, with reference to the possibilities of the ps3 by itself, they mentioned it had removable 2.5inch HD and 6 USB 2.0 sockets. I wonder if the HD will be serial ata or e-ide..

I don't think memory would be that much of a bottleneck if done correctly..

Suppose it depends on the app you want to run on it.
posted by Mossy at 1:42 PM on May 17, 2005

Well, it's a laptop hd, so for the pricepoint it's at it's likely it'll be along the lines of what apple is doing with the mini (a relatively inexpensive ~40gig 4800rpm ide, toshiba maybe)

As for the cell architecture itself, hecks yeah, if I could strap xp pro or osx 10.4 on top of that bad boy, I'd never even glance at intel or amd's wares again.
posted by stenseng at 2:34 PM on May 17, 2005

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