10 Stories Behind The Development Of The PS3

The PlayStation 3 is Sony’s third home console entry to the video game industry. As a successor to the widely successful and critically acclaimed PlayStation 2, which wound up being the highest-selling video game console of all time, expectations for the PlayStation 3 were high. Unfortunately for the console, the PlayStation 3 received very poor receptions in the beginning, mainly due to its hefty price tag, with the 60-gigabyte model slated at $599 and the 20-gigabyte model at $499.

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It was also criticized for its lack of good-quality games in the beginning of its lifecycle. Thankfully, reception of the console become more positive later on, and sales really started to take off after the release of the Slim version. The development of this console was filled with innovative ideas and hopefulness which paid off very later on.

10 The Cell Microprocessor

Playstation 3 unboxing shows cell issues

Development for the console began in 2001, a year after the release of the PlayStation 2. Ken Kutaragi, known as the “Father of the PlayStation” and the president of Sony Computer Entertainment at the time, announced that Sony would be collaborating with Toshiba and IBM for the cell microprocessor for the PlayStation 3.

This processor ended up being extremely advanced and complicated. On top of that, it was also very expensive. In hopes of bringing the costs of the processor down, Sony wanted to place it on other Sony products such as their laptops, desktops, and cellphones. Unfortunately for them, none took that offer. This contributes to the eventually massive price tag of the PlayStation 3.


9 The Initial Design

The PlayStation 3

The first announced design for the PlayStation 3 was slightly different than the one every got at launch. The PlayStation 3 that was shown to the public in May 2005 had two HDMI ports, three Ethernet ports, and six USB ports. However, during the showcase at E3 a year later, the console instead had one HDMI port, one Ethernet port, and four USB ports.

The reason for this rescale was never officially clarified by Sony, but it is speculated that this was done in order to reduce the overall cost of the console. With the price the console ended up being, one can only speculate how more expensive the console would be if they went with their original design.

8 The Manufacturing Cost

PS3 experiencing problems loading games

The manufacturing cost for a single console was way over its price upon release. While a unit sold for $599 for the 60gb unit and $499 for the 20gb, the manufacturing costs for them respectively were $840.35 and $805.85. This means the console sold at a loss of over $306 or $241.

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Prior to the release of the PlayStation 3, Sony had always won every generation’s console wars that they were in. Both the PS1 and the PS2 were incredibly successful. However, the same couldn’t be said for the PS3. The company had lost $1.97 billion in its 2007 fiscal year. The company would not see cuts from their losses until the release of the redesigned PS3 Slim.

7 Launch In The US Was Very Chaotic

ps3 and dualshock 3 red

Despite its rocky initial sales, anticipation for the console was through the roof. Due to this, chaos ensued all around the United States in November 2006. Game stores all over the country were met with long lines and campers by the hundreds consisting of fans hoping to nab a console at launch day.

A Gamestop store in Burlington reported receiving over 300 pre-orders, only to receive eight units from Sony. In San Francisco, the police actually had to get involved as there were just too many people lining up in front of a Gamestop store. Many rushed to the doors, causing a stampede and injuries. There were also robberies involved where armed thugs held lining up customers at gunpoint. Tragically, one person ended up getting shot after resisting a robbery.

6 Ken Kutaragi Retires

sony interactive entertainment blog SIE

The PlayStation 3 console ended up being the last one Ken Kutaragi worked on. His announcement to retire was made after it was published that Sony was actually losing money due to the lackluster performance of the console. However, it was later revealed that this was not the case.

As it turns out, Ken Kutaragi had actually planned on retiring long before. He apparently thought of retiring six months prior to the announcement. Before the release of the PS3, Ken Kutaragi was interviewed regarding his plans for the PS4. His response was “the PlayStation 4 is not my responsibility”, hinting at his eventual retirement.

5 The PlayStation 3 Controller

PS3 slim with controller

The original controller for the PlayStation 3 was the Sixaxis controller. One of the very first designs for this console’s controller featured a boomerang-shaped Sixaxis. Initial plans also revealed that the controller would have had Rumble capabilities, but due to legal matters with a different company, Sony decided to drop the feature. The Sixaxis controller on release was very similar to the PS2 controller, only this time it would be wireless and had a built-in accelerometer.

RELATED: The 10 Best PlayStation 3 Games Ever Made (According To Metacritic)

Eventually, Sony released the Dualshock 3 controller for the PlayStation 3. This console would then have basic haptic feedback functionality.

4 The Incredible Potential Of The Console Outside Of Gaming

Close up of the ps3

The PlayStation 3 console was considered to be so powerful that it was used by various organizations in various other functions outside of gaming. Early on, the Air Force research laboratory utilized over 1,760 PlayStation 3’s to build a supercomputer that was capable of performing up to 500 trillion teraflops. At the time, this was the fastest interactive computer the US Defense Department had in its arsenal.

Stanford University also utilized the computing power of the PlayStation 3 by using it for their Folding@Home program, a medical research program wherein gamers also actually contributed over 100 million hours of computing.

3 PlayStation 3, The Blu-Ray Player

ps3 with controller on a black background

One of the praises the PlayStation 3 widely received was its inclusion of a Blu-Ray disc as a primary storage medium. During this time, dedicated Blu-Ray players were incredibly pricey, with some going over at $1000 per unit. Considering this, purchasing a PlayStation 3, despite being highly expensive for a console, was a massive steal due to its Blu-Ray capabilities.

Around this time, HD DVDs were Blu-Ray’s main competitor. The PlayStation 3’s inclusion of Blu-Ray capabilities was actually one of the biggest contributors to the HD DVD’s downfall. In 2008, Toshiba and Phillip discontinued manufacturing HD DVD units.

2 Disapproved By Developers

Valve Logo

Due to the complicated and extremely complex nature of the PlayStation 3’s microprocessor architecture, many video game developers absolutely abhors developing games for this console. Gabe Newell of Valve hated it so much he made some fairly harsh comments on it.

When asked in an interview regarding the console, Newell said “The PS3 is a total disaster on so many levels. I think it’s really clear that Sony lost track of what customers and what developers wanted.” Adding to this, he also said that the console was a “waste of everyone’s time.”

1 Slim & Super Slim

the ps3 console

During the Sony Gamescom press conference which was held on August 18, 2009, Sony announced the PS3 CECH-2000 model, or what we now know as the PS3 Slim. Funnily enough, Sony never actually called this model the PS3 Slim. It was just something everyone coined for the console’s thinner structure. This model had newer features such as lower power consumption and a quieter cooling system.

In 2012, Sony announced an even newer and slimmer version of this model called the CECH-4000 or the Super Slim. This model came in three versions: one with a 500 GB hard drive, another with a 250 GB hard drive, and a third with a 12 GB flash storage.

NEXT: 10 Development Stories Behind The PS4

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