With the XBox 360 release only a few months away, Playstation fans have to wait until 2006 before they get their hands on the next generation console.
All of the current consoles are black or grey, so it's no surprise that we were in for a change. The PS3 is shiny silver, with a slim design. The game console is nicely backwards compatible, something that the PS2 was much loved for. In addition to playing CDs and DVDs, the PS3's base game format is going to be the Blu-ray disc. This disc looks just like a regular CD / DVD but can hold up to six times the data of a DVD. For those of us who were amazed how much bigger DVDs were than CDs when DVDs first came out, it's another jump in storage!!
The system, as all of the other new consoles, will support high definition TV. Just about every gamer I know is planning on going out and getting a HDTV (if they don't have one already) to take advantage of these new, amazing graphics. Its graphic chip is based on NVidia technology - and it supports 1080p resolution. That's about as good as you can get even with HD TVs.
For us PSP fans, you can use your PSP - wirelessly - as a controller. Not only do you get easy to use controls that you are well used to, but your handheld screen can give you status messages and even secret information that other gamers won't be able to see!
Like the XBox 360, this system will have built-in ethernet and wi-fi, assuming that pretty much all gamers want to be on the net playing multi-player games :) Interestingly, it doesn't seem to have a hard drive in it, something that most of us desperately want. I am really sick of having hundreds of little memory sticks around!
The main processor is a single 3.2GHz processor - though it is a Cell processor. The XBox 360 has three 3.2GHz processors in it, with 2 threads each. So the big question is just how "good" is this cell processor, to stand up against 3 actual separate processors. The Cell has been worked on since 2001 by Sony, Toshiba and IBM. The main concept is that instead of just one processor, you have a 'group' of 8 of them sharing tasks, each doing what it's best at. This could be a nightmare to develop for, but the various developers at E3 all said quite forcefully that coding was not a challenge - hoping to encourage others to come on board the PS3 wagon.
In the end, as gamers know, all of the marketing gobblygook means nothing until you actually get games developed for the system. We all spent months arguing over the XBox vs PS2 vs GameCube - but it wasn't until we actually got the games playing that we could see which performed better. I imagine the same will be true for this next generation.
Because of the release schedule, the world will play with the XBox 360 for a number of months before we even think about buying a PS3. So at least in this house, we'll buy the XBox 360 in fall 2005 and play it all fall, winter and spring. I imagine it'll be April or May 2006 before we can even think about buying a PS3. At that point we can run them side by side, and see how they go!