Sony has unveiled prototypes of their new Playstation 3 console at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles.
Not so much a games console as a mo’fo’ media machine, the PS3 contains a veritable beast in the box, with the Cell processor – jointly developed by IBM, Sony Group and Toshiba – capable of producing two teraflops of computing power. That’s twice that of the
Like the XBox, home entertainment convergence is the big story here, with the PlayStation3 offering high quality TV output and the ability to play digital music, Blu-ray high-definition DVD, as well as show off home movies and digital pictures.
The powerful new microprocessor allows many of the functions to be carried out at the same time, allowing gamers to record TV shows or listen to music while playing a game.
Sony’s curvy silver unit comes with more connections than the StereoMCs, serving up six USB sockets; Ethernet and Wi-Fi wireless technology; BlueTooth support for up to seven wireless controllers and a removable hard drive.
The new BD-ROM (Blu-ray Disc ROM) offers a thumping great 54 GB (dual layer) storage capacity providing ample space for storing full high-definition (HD) quality movies with two HDMI high-definition sockets allowing games to be played on one screen and video conferencing on a second.
With an almighty 2 teraflops of computing power on call, the box should be capable of rendering landscapes and virtual worlds in real-time with super-smooth characters and object motion.
Sony are currently collaborating with the world’s leading tools and middleware companies, to provide developers with extensive tools and libraries to make the best of the Cell processor and enable efficient software development.
As is now the custom, every new product has to represent a ‘new era’ in something or another. Last week, Microsoft was describing their XBox launch as “a dawn of a new era in entertainment.”
Ken Kutaragi, President and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc was ready to go a little bit further: “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.”
Sony’s announcement came with a long, long list of partners enthusiastically effervescing about the new Playstation. We can sum up their opinions thus: “We think it’s great!”
Consumers will be able to find out for themselves when the PS3 launches “in the spring of 2006,” although old-school gamers will be pleased to learn that PS3 will offer backward compatibility for the 13,000-title strong PS and PS2 back catalogue.
With the two big guns XBox and PS3 showing their hands, all eyes are on Nintendo’s next-generation machine, code-named ‘Revolution,’ which will be revealed at E3 later today. We’ll be filing a report shortly.