PlayStation 3

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Template:Future product Template:CVG system The PlayStation 3 (PS3) (Japanese: プレイステーション3) is Sony's seventh generation era video game console in the market-leading PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 is slated for release in Spring 2006 in Japan and later worldwide. Specifically, Sony representatives have informed video game store clerks to expect a Summer 2006 shipment, more narrowly defined as "somewhere between June and September. It is the successor to the PlayStation 2 and will mainly compete against the Nintendo Revolution and Xbox 360. Sony has announced that the PS3 will be backward compatible with earlier PS1 and PS2 games. At the moment, little more is known in public about the PS3 apart from its hardware specifications and reports that it will be based on open APIs for game development .

Contents

History

The PS3 was officially unveiled on May 16, 2005 by Sony during the conference, where the console was first shown to the public. A functional version of the console was not at and the Tokyo Game Show in September 2005, although some demonstrations were held on devkits and videos of soon-to-be released games created to run on systems with the same specs as the PS3 were presented, such as Metal Gear Solid 4 and Killzone 3.

Cost and release date

More information on the price and release date may be made available at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held from January 5 to January 8 2006 in Las Vegas.[1][2]

The system's retail price has not yet been confirmed. To compete with the upper price ceiling of the Xbox 360, the PS3 will most likely sell in the U.S. for $300-$400 (£283, 416).[3] Sony Computer Entertainment president and "father of the PlayStation" Ken Kutaragi points out "It'll be expensive" and "I'm aware that with all these technologies, the PS3 can't be offered at a price that's targeted towards households. I think everyone can still buy it if they wanted to," said Kutaragi to a mostly Japanese crowd. "But we're aiming for consumers throughout the world. So we're going to have to do our best [in containing the price]". In contrast Kazuo Hirai, president of Sony Computer Entertainment America, says the PS3 will not be expensive and that it will be competitively priced against the Xbox 360.[4]

More recently, however, a report [5] compiled by Merrill Lynch Japan and published in the business magazine Toyo Keizai estimated the total cost of producing a PS3 at launch time at ¥54,000, or US$451 (£263, 385) (the most expensive components, the Cell microprocessor, the RSX graphics processing unit, and the BD-ROM drive are each estimated to cost US$101 (£59, 86), with the additional cost going into the motherboard, RAM, wireless chipsets, and probably system-on-a-chip implementations of the PS1 and PS2 systems for backwards compatibility). Sony is already making efforts to control manufacturing costs, and may even go as far as dropping the system's planned integrated router to reduce expenses. In the same report, Merrill Lynch predicts that Sony will initially sell the PlayStation 3 for ¥44,800 (US$374) in Japan, and US$399 (£232, 340) in the USA, taking a financial loss (as it did with the PlayStation 2) in order to build the console's install base, losing as much as US$1 billion in the first year after release. Sony would later recoup this loss (as well as the Cell's US$1.8 (£1.01, 1.53) billion ( R&D expenses) through software licensing fees and future reduced hardware manufacturing costs. The report also notes that Microsoft may plan to disrupt the normal console business cycle by choosing to cut the price of the Xbox 360 at the same time the PS3 launches, which the report estimates would cause Sony to lose an additional US$730 (£426, 622) million in its second year, and US$457 million in its third. It is not known whether these hypothetical losses would be due to Sony being forced to further cut the price of the PS3 hardware, or suffering reduced revenue from game purchases due to stiff competition from Microsoft.

For the consumer this means one will be able to buy a PlayStation 3 at a lower price than its actual manufacturing cost.

In the same magazine, Ken Kutaragi was interviewed, and expressed little concern over the PS3's possibly high launch price, believing that customers would be willing to pay extra for a superior product, as they had in the past for the original PlayStation (¥39,800 vs. 12,500 for the Super Famicom).

During its E3 presentation, Sony confirmed the PlayStation 3 will be available around early 2006. Reports quoting high-ranking Sony officials suggest the PlayStation 3 may be launched simultaneously in Japan and North America (not worldwide), a tactic that would differ significantly from the PlayStation (launched December 1994 in Japan and September 1995 in North America) and PlayStation 2 (launched March 2000 in Japan and October 2000 in North America).

Some industry critics had speculated that due to many of its monumental technical challenges, Sony could delay the release of the PlayStation 3 up to early 2007. However, according to German website Gamefront, chairman and CEO of the European brand Sony Entertainment, Sir Howard Stringer has added confirmation to Sony’s E3 press release that the company indeed launches its next generation console in the first half of 2006. It should also be noted that in a recent issue of PSM magazine, the Sony President and Chief Executive Officer Kaz Hirai was interviewed and was asked whether the public could squash rumors about the PS3 being released in 2007. He responded with an affirmative "yes", unless there was no software available, which he said was highly unlikely. Hiral also reiterated the point that the PS3 is still on track for a Spring 2006 release.

Hardware specifications

A simple comparison of the system architectures appears to indicate that the floating point capability of the PS3 is better than that of the Xbox 360. This comparison is based on the combined floating point capacity of the Cell microprocessor and the RSX GPU in the PS3 compared to the combined capacity of the Xenon CPU and Xenos GPU in the Xbox 360. The amount of completely programmable floating point capacity afforded by the Cell microprocessor for general-purpose tasks, like procedural content generation and game physics, is higher than the Xbox 360's CPU, while the floating-point performance of the two systems' GPUs, which are designed specifically for graphics rendering tasks, are somewhat closer to parity. These comparisons are based on estimates of theoretical maximum performance. Real-world performance for both systems will naturally be less, and the specifications of the PS3 may undergo major changes before the system is launched. Please see the section entitled overall floating-point capability for more details on this.

According to a press release by Sony at the May 16 2005 E3 Conference, the specifications of the PlayStation 3 are as follows. [6]

Central processing unit

3.2 GHz Cell processor:

  • 1 PPE (PowerPC-derived)
  • 7 SPE (Synergistic Processing Elements) vector processor units [7]
    • 256 KB SRAM local memory for each SPE
    • 218 GFLOPS(billion floating point operations per second)
    • 26 billion shader operations per second (100 billion with GPU)
    • 128×128-bit SIMD general purpose register files
  • 234 million transistors [8]
  • 213 million available transistors due to the one disabled SPE [9] [10]
  • 2.3 MB SRAM total (512 KB L2 cache and 1.79 MB SPE local memory)

Each chip includes 8 SPEs, but one is most likely disabled to improve yields and reduce costs

Graphics processing unit

Custom "RSX" or "Reality Synthesizer" design co-developed by NVIDIA and Sony:

  • Clocked at 550 MHz
  • 1.8 TFLOPS (trillion floating point operations per second)
  • Full high definition output (up to 1080p) x 2 channels
  • Multi-way programmable parallel floating point shader pipelines
  • 136 shader operations per cycle
  • 74 billion shader operations per second (100 billion with CPU)
  • 51 billion dot products per second (with CPU)
  • 128-bit pixel precision offers rendering of scenes with high dynamic range imaging

NVidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang stated during Sony's pre-show press conference at E3 2005 that the RSX will be much more powerful than two GeForce 6800 Ultra video cards combined. Current industry speculation is that the RSX may be based on the G70 architecture used in NVidia's GeForce 7 Series GPUs which were introduced in June of 2005, but implementing many more parallel pixel and shader pipelines than any consumer PC GPU (NVidia's top-of-the-line GeForce 7800 GTX currently contains 24 pixel and 8 vertex pipelines), and clocked higher than any PC GPU based on G70 (with speculation that the RSX chip will be reworked using the new G71 architecture topping 650-700 MHz and an improved vertex pipeline support, as well as an increased 512mb memory) (again, the 7800 GTX is clocked at 430 MHz, compared to 550-600 MHz for the RSX). An nVidia spokesperson was quoted in PlayStation Magazine as saying that the 7800GTX "shares a lot of similar inner workings with the PS3's RSX chip, only it (the 7800GTX) isn't nearly as fast (as the RSX)."

Memory

Theoretical system bandwidth

  • 25.6 GB/s GPU to XDR DRAM: 64 bits × 3.2 GHz
  • 22.4 GB/s GPU to GDDR-3 VRAM: 128 bits × 700 MHz × 2 accesses per clock cycle (one per edge)
  • 35 GB/s GPU to CPU (Aggregated 20 GB/s (write), 15 GB/s (read))
  • 5 GB/s System Bus (Aggregated 2.5 GB/s upstream and downstream)
  • 300 GB/s Cell EIB
  • 76.8 GB/s Cell FlexIO Bus (44.8 GB/s outbound, 32 GB/s inbound)

Since the RSX is connected to the XDR DRAM and GDDR3 RAM similar to a Turbo Cached GPU it can access both memory locations at the exact same time. This gives the RSX an effective 48GB/s when sending data to/from GPU and RAM.

Overall floating-point capability

File:8784671701491003.jpg
Sony comparison of PS3 performance in FLOPS with Xbox 360.

In a slide show at their E3 conference, Sony presented the "CPU floating point capability" of the PlayStation 3's Cell CPU, and compared it to other CPUs. The presentation shows that one PS3 Cell CPU alone is capable of 218 GFLOPS, compared to the Xbox 360's Xenon CPU's 115 GFLOPS. In their official press release, the same statistic regarding the PS3 as a whole was reported to be over 2.1 TFLOPS. The figures are likely rounded estimations. It was unclear how these numbers were exactly calculated, possibly based on addition of the floating point capabilities of the processing units in the Cell CPU and those of the RSX GPU. The performance statistics given for the PS3 and XBox 360 in Sony's presentation were based on the theoretical maximum performance of the systems. Inevitably, real-world performance for both systems will be lower. Additionally, programmers may find it difficult, initially, to optimize their game engines to make the best use of the highly parallel architectures of both systems, further reducing real-world performance.

According to an in-depth report compiled by IBM, the theoretical peak performance of a single SPE is 25.6 GFLOPS. The seven SPEs in the PS3, in addition to the VMX unit in the PPE, would yield a total combined single-precision floating point performance of 218 GFLOPS (the same figure quoted by Sony). It should be noted that this figure is an estimate based on absolutely ideal, 100% efficient operation of the processor.

Please note that all the above figures are based on the theoretical performance of components which may change considerably before product launch. Also, real-world performance WILL be less than the theoretical maximum. Finally, whether the PS3's advantage in floating-point performance will be readily apparent in games depends entirely on whether developers are able to effectively make use of the system's unique architecture.

In should also be noted that floating-point performance is a single-dimensional metric for comparing computers, and that many other considerations (including integer performance, memory size and bandwidth, etc.) determine the "overall" performance of a computer system. Floating point calculations are very important for graphics, multimedia, and game physics, but considerably less important for other tasks like artificial intelligence.

Audio/video output

Sound

Storage

  • Blu-ray Disc: PlayStation 3 BD-ROM, BD-Video, BD-ROM, BD-R, BD-RE, BD-RW.
  • DVD: PlayStation 2 DVD-ROM, PlayStation 3 DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW
  • CD: PlayStation CD-ROM, PlayStation 2 CD-ROM, CD-DA, CD-DA (ROM), CD-R, CD-RW, SACD, SACD Hybrid (CD layer) SACD HD
  • Detachable 2.5" hard drive with Linux pre-installed. Optional but not required for most games.
  • Memory Stick standard/Duo and standard/mini slots
  • CompactFlash Type I and II slot
  • SD slot
  • MMC slot for mp3s, ogg vorbis, nokia music, and aacs

Physical dimensions

  • 32 cm (L) x 24 cm (W) x 8 cm (H)[11]

Communications

  • Three Gigabit Ethernet ports (Sony has indicated that because of cost reduction there is a possibility that the PlayStation 3 may act only as an accessory interface and hub and perhaps not as a router, as originally planned.)[12]
  • IEEE 802.11g Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • USB 2.0 (four front and two rear ports)

Controller

SCEI's press release indicates that controller connectivity to the PlayStation 3 can be provided via:

The design of the controller has been likened to a boomerang or a banana by many observers (or even less flattering likenesses). However, some suggest that the controller, while a little un-traditional in contrast to the DualShock and DualShock 2 controllers, might provide adequate comfort for extended hours of play. According to the Japanese video game publication Famitsu, Sony Computer Entertainment chief technical officer Masayuki Chatani said that the controller design is a "prototype, so there could be some small adjustments."

[13] In an interview with Edge, SCEE's Chris Deering echoed these statements by describing the E3 controller as "just a design study". Some people pointed that the controller bears a similar resemblance to the old Alps Interactive 3rd party controller which was originally made for the PlayStation. [14]

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the PS3 may in fact support the older DualShock 2 controllers . The number of ports to support such backward compatibility would most likely be limited to one, although this is also an unconfirmed rumour. The PS3's specifications, and E3 display units, don't support DualShock controller ports. Though Sony itself had previously admitted at this past E3 that the controller design for their PlayStation 3 console was not finalized, GameSpot believes any purported changes will not be substantial. They downplay a new rumor suggesting Sony will unveil a revamped PS3 controller at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2006.

Miscellaneous

Games in development

Main article: List of PlayStation 3 games

As of October 2005, there are already over 150 PS3 games announced by multiple developers and publishers, like SCEA, Electronic Arts, Konami, Namco, Neural Arts and many others. The actual number in development, though undeniably fewer, should still be very high.

Most developers have already announced games for the PS3. Some anticipated ones include Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Resident Evil 5, Devil May Cry 4, Shin Megami Tensei, Armored Core 4 , Unreal Tournament 2007 and Tekken 6. In the E3 2005 Press Conference, Sony showed some demos of games in development with the codenames Eyedentify, Vision Gran Turismo and MotorStorm. Also shown at E3 was a technical demo of Final Fantasy VII 's opening sequence remade in PlayStation 3 graphics, at the time recent to the show, SquareEnix stated no plans for a remake. Square Enix is however listed for a Final Fantasy game along with 70 other Japanese developers during TGS 2005. Since they aren't working on a remake then this will most likely be Final Fantasy XIII. Controversial games developers Rockstar North have also hinted that they are planning the provisionally named Grand Theft Auto 4, primarily for the PS3. One of the most, if not the most anticipated PS3 game up to this point is Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, which had its first trailer shown at the Tokyo Game Show 2005 event.

Software development kit

Sony has selected several technologies and arranged several sublicensing agreements to create the software development kit for developers. The PlayStation 3, unlike the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 systems, is based on publicly-available application programming interfaces.

The list of open standards includes:

Sublicensed technologies includes:

The list of standards they are reported to be considering includes:

In addition, Sony recently purchased SN Systems, a former provider of Microsoft Windows based development tools for a variety of console platforms including the PlayStation 2, GameCube, PSP and Nintendo DS to create additional Linux development tools. Sony is providing developers with Linux toolchains where SN Systems will provide more customer-oriented Linux tools at an additional cost.

GNU/Linux

Ken Kutaragi confirmed that the PlayStation 3 will come with GNU/Linux as its operating system. [18]

IBM had quickly sent a series of improvements to the Linux developers mailing-list regarding the Cell processor, and has publicly presented a Cell based server running Linux kernel 2.6.12. [19] Since then IBM has begun to offer detailed information and tutorials for software development on Cell based systems including the PlayStation 3. [20]

Online services

Sony has recently revealed that the online service for the PlayStation 3 will use the same non-unified architecture as that of the PlayStation 2. In the latest issue of the Official PlayStation Magazine, Sony denied rumors that it would be implementing a centralized online service similar to Microsoft’s Xbox Live. Instead, online services for PS3 games will be decentralized and left up to individual game publishers. While this will give games publishers greater freedom in terms of what they are able to offer online, some say it may make it more difficult for Sony to control the quality of the online experience.

Decentralized online services means that gamers will be required to maintain separate accounts on different servers for different games in order to access online games via the PS3 but will have the advantage of being able to choose which games or services they actually want.

Sony have yet to disclose to the public their plans for the PlayStation 3 online experience. The above should be regarded as speculative commentary, the basis of which is (reasonably well informed) discussion in the gaming press. It may well be the case that the PSP provides some sort of insight into exactly what sort of online experience Sony will be offering in 2006.

Region Coding

PlayStation 3 games are unlikely to be region coded, according to Sony’s Australian managing director, Michael Ephraim.

Unlike its predecessors, the PlayStation and the PlayStation 2, the PS3 is tipped to allow gaming and movie playback from downloads or discs bought in any part of the world, rather than being limited to playing discs only from a specific region. The PS3’s support for HDTV standards was cited as one of the key reasons the company has stopped the practice of region coding.

According to Ephraim, “If you look at the fact that [the PlayStation 3] will support high-definition TV, which will be a global standard, there’s a good likelihood that it will be global region, as for example we’ve done with the PSP [PlayStation Portable].”

Sony's decision to stop region coding means consumers will be able to purchase PS3 games from anywhere in the world, which may turn out to be significantly cheaper than purchasing them exclusively from their home territory, or importing the system from Japan on launch.

Blu-Ray movies played on the PS3 will use a region code. The Blu-Ray region code will be different from DVD region code. [21]

Region code Area
1 United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Japan and East Asia (excluding China)
2 Europe and Africa
3 China, Russia, and all other countries.

Backwards compatibility

Games

The PlayStation 3 will be compatible "on the chip" with PlayStation 2 and PlayStation games, without emulation. It still isn't known how Sony has achieved this (although Sony had developed a single-chip PS2 CPU/GPU solution, used in newer revisions of the "slim" PS2). Compatibility with PS2 online games and games designed for the hard drive support hasn't been elaborated upon. In a recent interview Ken Kutaragi stated that backwards compatibility will be achieved through a combination of hardware and software.

"Third-party developers sometimes do things that are unimaginable. For example, there are cases where their games run, but not according to the console's specifications. There are times when games pass through our tests, but are written in ways that make us say, 'What in the world is this code?!' We need to support backward compatibility towards those kinds of games as well, so trying to create compatibility by software alone is difficult. There are things that will be required by hardware. However, with the powers of [a machine like] the PS3, some parts can be handled by hardware, and some parts by software."

Peripherals

The PS3 will not be backwards compatible with some of the hardware peripherals of the PS2. For example, memory cards for PlayStation and PlayStation 2 will not work on the PlayStation 3 hardware. [22] Instead it was announced that the PS3 will use the Sony memory stick to save games. This means that the PS3 will not be able to use PS1 and PS2 memory cards, this will however allow gamers to trade saved games over the internet more easily.

Gallery


Screenshot gallery

  • Screenshots are mostly pre-rendered. Game titles and release dates subject to change and will be updated upon confirmation

Side Note

The logo of the PlayStation 3 is in the same font as the logo of the Spider Man motion pictures.

See also

Template:Dedicated video game consoles

References

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External links

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