The guys at Gamespot have a big article up on Sony’s pre-E3 unveiling of their next generation console system. The name “PlayStation 3” is official and it’s a very sexy looking device with some impressive specs:
Sony also confirmed the PlayStation 3 will use Blu-ray discs as its media format. The discs can hold up to six times as much data as current-generation DVDs. It will also support CR-ROM, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD R formats. Sony also confirmed the machine would be backward compatible all the way to the original PlayStation. It will also have slots for Memory Stick Duo, an SD slot, and a compact flash memory slot. It will also sport a slot for a detachable 2.5-inch HDD, somewhat similar the Xbox 360’s. Sony did not mention if the drive would be standard.
Sony also laid out the technical specs of the device. The PlayStation 3 will feature the much-vaunted Cell processor, which will run at 3.2GHz, giving the whole system 2 teraflops of overall performance. It will sport 256MB XDR main RAM at 3.2GHz, and it will have 256MB of GDDR VRAM at 700MHz.
Sony also unveiled the PS3’s graphics chip, the RSX “Reality Synthesizer,” which is based on Nvidia technology. The GPU will be capable of 128bit pixel precision, 1080p resolution, some of the highest HD resolution around. The RSX also has 512MB of graphics render memory and is capable of 100 billion shader operations and 51 billion dot products per second. It also has more than 300 million transistors, larger than any processor commercially available today. It will be manufactured using the 90nm process, with eight layers of metal. The RSX is more powerful than two GeForce 6800 Ultra video cards, which would cost roughly $1,000 total if purchased today.
Some surprising bits from the article include the fact that the PS3 will have two HD outputs on the back that allow you to hook up two side-by-side HDTVs for projecting video in a 32:9 extra-widescreen format (think Nintendo’s DS on steroids), it will support up to seven Bluetooth™ controllers that can be used for almost 24 full hours before needing a recharge, 6 USB slots, Wi-Fi connectivity to your Sony PSP which can then be used as a controller or remote screen, an optional wireless HD IP camera, and backwards compatibility all the way to the PlayStation 1! Several games were demoed to show off the new machine’s prowess:
To show off the PlayStation 3’s graphical brawn, Sony showed several game demos, including an Unreal 3 engine show-off of what appeared to be Unreal Tournament 2007. In what must come as a relief to developers, Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney was on hand to vouch for the PS3, saying it was “easy to program for” and that Epic had received its first PS3 hardware two months ago. He proved the tech demo was real time by showing it again and by manipulating the camera and zooming in.
However, Sweeney’s words were only the beginning. Later, Sony trotted out a whole host of publishers that are backing the PlayStation 3. And in the process, it confirmed several games for the console. Hideo Kojima introduced Konami’s Metal Gear Solid 4, Capcom showed off Devil May Cry 4, Namco unveiled Tekken 6, Polyphony Digital trotted out a fifth Gran Turismo, SCEE showed off the next Killzone, and Rockstar Games showed a new Red Dead Revolver.
EA President Larry Probst was also on hand to show off a demonstration of the next Fight Night game, which will presumable be called Fight Night Round 3. When one of the two fighters took a blow, his skin rippled realistically. Kudo Tsonoda from EA’s Chicago studio was on hand, and said that the goal is to make the facial animation convey the amount of punishment a pugilist has suffered.
And still the games came. SCEE had three on display: A third Getaway, with an even seedier, nastier version of London; a new off-road racing game called Motor Storm from Evolution Studios; and a shooter called Heavenly Sword. Sega is readying a fifth Phantom Saga and Bandai is prepping another Gundam game. Ubisoft is continuing to innovate in the first-person shooter field with an all-new IP named Killing Day. Koei enlightened the crowd with a demo of Ni-Oh, a new martial-arts-themed brawler about Buddha’s monk bodyguards. Incognito is developing a sequel to Warhawk, the acclaimed actioner for the original PlayStation.
I have to admit that the look of the new controllers has me a bit worried as I really enjoy the current dual shock design, but the machine itself looks amazing. You can see some more shots at Gamespot including views of the console in both horizontal and vertical positions and the back panel. The folks at nVidia aren’t wasting any time hyping the graphics chip they developed for Sony’s new box. I imagine we’ll be hearing a lot more about both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 over the next several days so hang onto your seats.