May 17, 2005 In case you’re wondering why the ground is shaking, the game console giants are preparing for the launch of their next generation gaming devices at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) tomorrow. Last time around, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft sold more than 100 million units between them with Sony winning the round convincingly. Penetration into loungerooms is so high in most countries that this next generation of consoles will probably be the centrepiece of the home entertainment system – this is an incredibly important strategic battle to win in the convergence war. Last week Microsoft was the first to come out swinging when it unveiled its next generation X-Box 360 and although little detail about the machine was released, there was plenty of hype and chest thumping. In most markets, Microsoft is the heavyweight, take-no-prisoners market leader, so it's interesting to see the company attempting to come from behind in the game console market. Last night Sony revealed its PLAYSTATION3 (PS3) but unlike Microsoft, which sold the sizzle and not the sausage, Sony has unveiled the detail of a technological masterpiece. The PS3 incorporates what is arguably the world's most advanced Cell processor with supercomputer-like power plus backwards compatibility with the PS2 which sold roughly two thirds of all game consoles in the current generation. In the new console game, Microsoft may have fired the first shots, but Sony has leapt to the fore with its first foray and it’ll be one hell of a fight. Now all that remains is for Nintendo to enter the fray.
PS3 combines state-of-the-art technologies featuring Cell, a processor jointly developed by IBM, Sony Group and Toshiba, graphics processor (RSX) co-developed by NVIDIA Corporation and SCEI, and XDR memory developed by Rambus. It also adopts BD-ROM (Blu-ray Disc ROM) with maximum storage capacity of 54 GB (dual layer), enabling delivery of entertainment content in full high-definition (HD) quality, under a secure environment made possible through the most advanced copyright protection technology. To match the accelerating convergence of digital consumer electronics and computer technology, PS3 supports high quality display in resolution of 1080p as standard, which is far superior to 720p/1080i. Note that when using1080p/720p/1080i: "p" stands for progressive scan method, "i" stands for interlace method. 1080p is the highest resolution within the HD standard.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
With an overwhelming computing power of 2 teraflops, entirely new graphical expressions that have never been seen before will become possible. In games, not only will movement of characters and objects be far more refined and realistic, but landscapes and virtual worlds can also be rendered in real- time, thereby elevating the freedom of graphics expression to levels not experienced in the past. Gamers will literally be able to dive into the realistic world seen in large screen movies and experience the excitement in real-time.
In 1994, SCEI launched the original PlayStation (PS), followed by PlayStation2 (PS2) in 2000 and PlayStation Portable (PSP) in 2004, every time introducing the latest advancement in technology and bringing innovation to interactive entertainment software creation. Over 13,000 titles have been developed by now, creating a software market that sells more than 250 million copies annually. PS3 offers backward compatibility enabling gamers to enjoy these enormous assets from PS and PS2 platforms.
PlayStation family of products are sold in more than 120 countries and regions around the world. With cumulative shipments reaching more than 102 million for PS and approximately 89 million for PS2, they are the undisputed leaders and have become the standard platform for home entertainment. After 12 years from the introduction of the original PS and 6 years from the launch of PS2, SCEI brings PS3, the newest platform with the most advanced next generation computer entertainment technology.
With the delivery of Cell based development tools that has already begun, development of game titles as well as tools and middleware are in progress. Through collaboration with world's leading tools and middleware companies, SCEI will offer full support to new content creation by providing developers with extensive tools and libraries that will bring out the power of the Cell processor and enable efficient software development.
Preparations are under way for launch of PS3 and new generation software in the spring of 2006.
PS3 Partner Quotes
Ken Kutaragi, President and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc: "SCEI has continuously brought innovation to the world of computer entertainment, such as real-time 3D computer graphics on PlayStation and the world's first 128 bit processor Emotion Engine (EE) for PlayStation 2. Empowered by the Cell processor with super computer like performance, a new age of PLAYSTATION 3 is about to begin. Together with content creators from all over the world, SCEI will accelerate the arrival of a new era in computer entertainment."
Shin Unozawa, Managing Director, Leader, Game Software Group, President, Video Game Company, BANDAI: "With the new generation PlayStation platform, we can create "GUNDAM WORLD" with the quality no one has ever imagined. The philosophy, connecting millions of Cell together, makes reality get closer to the world of SF films. We are delighted to share the vision of Ken, ARCHITECT, Kutaragi."
Keiji Inafune, Managing Executive Officer, Research & Development Division,Capcom: "The PLAYSTATION 3 has us really excited! So much so in fact that we are already working our hardest to get Devil May Cry 4 out for this new platform. New hardware always yields more options for developers to create exciting and fresh gameplay experiences. I believe that the PS3 is one piece of hardware that will test the mettle of our development team and help us to create some of the most amazing games, limited only by our imagination."
Larry Probst, Chairman and CEO, Electronic Arts : "Each generation of PlayStation has made a dramatic improvement in how we create and play videogames. PLAYSTATION 3 will be a breakthrough in how the world experiences entertainment. EA is fully aligned with Sony Computer Entertainment -- we share their vision and applaud their success."
Keiko Erikawa, Chairman & C.E.O., KOEI: "President Kutaragi has thrown down a gauntlet. That gauntlet is called the PLAYSTATION 3. We here at Koei have gladly taken up the challenge, and are striving day and night to take full advantage of all the PS3's new possibilities. Our goal is to combine cutting-edge technology with a full range of artistic expression to deliver the ultimate form of entertainment, and please people everywhere."
Kazumi Kitaue, CEO, Konami Digital Entertainment: "With the arrival of the next generation computer entertainment system PLAYSTATION 3, I believe it will be possible for graphic expressions, more beautiful than before, to coexist with more deep and evolved game play which utilize the Cell architecture. I also have high expectations for the evolution by the online features that will be enhanced. We will utilize the features of the new platform and will strive to create contents that will bring new excitement for our users world wide, so please have high hopes for Konami."
Sam Houser, President, Rockstar Games (Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.): "Each time SCEI launches a console, the video games business moves to the next level. With PLAYSTATION 3 it looks as if it might be time for interactive entertainment to become, finally, the world's dominant artistic medium."
Shigeru Yokoyama, CT Company President, Namco Ltd: "We at Namco have used and will continue to use the advancements in audio- visual technology to deliver games that are not only appealing to the eyes and ears, but that stir emotions, speak to the heart, and remain in players' minds for years to come. We are confident that the PLAYSTATION 3 is an entertainment system that will enable us to do just that."
Hisao Oguchi, President and Chief Operating Officer, SEGA Corporation: "Next-generation hardware platforms will enable SEGA to create new game concepts that offer more immersive interactive experiences. SEGA continues to pursue the fusion of creativity and technology by publishing only the best, more innovative content to gamers around the world."
Yoichi Wada, President, SQUARE ENIX: "Square Enix is extremely honored to have had the chance to provide you with this technical demonstration of what the Cell processor can bring to the PLAYSTATION 3 and the world of gaming. We are committed to fully backing SCEI's new computer entertainment system and plans to bring the FINAL FANTASY series to the PS3 are just beyond the horizon."
Yves Guillemot, President and CEO, Ubisoft: "Ubisoft was one of the first major international developers to have its teams start focusing on next generation consoles. We are looking forward to developing outstanding games on Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s new system. Its powerful features will help take the industry to an even higher level in the very near future."View gallery - 5 images