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PlayStation (Games) Entertainment Games

The Making of the PlayStation 125

Posted by Soulskill
from the who's-your-daddy dept.
Edge Online has an in-depth look at the beginnings of the first PlayStation console. It starts at Sony's partnership with Nintendo, the purpose of which was to integrate a CD-ROM drive into the SNES. A falling out between the companies led Sony to stubbornly pursue a market dominated by Nintendo and Sega. The console's technology and Sony's unusual position in the industry quickly attracted the interest of many developers and publishers, eventually leading to sales that emphatically won that round of the console wars. "'There was a huge resistance inside the company to actually being in the videogames business at all,' explains Harrison. 'The main reason why the Sony brand wasn't really used in the early marketing of PlayStation was not necessarily out of choice, but it was because Sony's old guard was scared that it was going to destroy this wonderful, venerable, 50-year old brand. They saw Nintendo and Sega as toys, so why on Earth would they join the toy business? That changed a bit after we delivered 90 per cent of the company's profit for a few years.'"
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The Making of the PlayStation

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  • by Anenome (1250374) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @02:45AM (#27719395)

    "That changed a bit after we delivered 90 per cent of the company's profit for a few years."

    - Yep, PS2 was the only thing keeping Sony afloat as a company for awhile there. Then they spent some $2 billion making the over-hyped Cell chip for the PS3 and actually thought they didn't need a graphics card, instead one was put in last minute -- what a fiasco. Kutaragi the hyperbolist was later fired for that mistake.

    Meanwhile, Sony is losing its rep as a hardware manufacturer and facing stiff competition in sectors it once dominated such as TV's and now LCDs. Of the three console makers, Sony relied on its console receipts the most in order to keep their company afloat. Even Nintendo survived on owning the portable gaming market through Gameboy and now the DS when its console offering was weak. Microsoft of course had Windows, Office and its other software sales.

    Sony was willing to spent billions to make sure the PS3 was number one like its predecessors. It virtually bet the company on it. The market's rejection of that bid has been one of the great business-move blunders in recent memory. Remember, Sony built its own Cell chip-fab (then couldn't produce enough while it cut its teeth on managing the facility). Sony believed the Cell was so awesome that manufacturers would buy it for all sorts of products, such as TVs, DVD players, and... COMPUTERS. That's right, Kutaragi actually thought computer makers would install a Cell chip. I already mentioned that Kutaragi thought the Cell as CPU and GPU alone was better than an added graphics processor.

    We all know the story about the Wii taking over the market with a new input scheme, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention this: Johnny Lee's use of a Wiimote to create positional head-tracking creating the illusion of true 3D, you've got to see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd3-eiid-Uw [youtube.com]

    • by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @03:04AM (#27719465)

      Kutaragi the hyperbolist was later fired for that mistake.

      I prefer the experession "first against the wall when the Revolution came".

    • by AuMatar (183847) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @03:06AM (#27719469)

      You forgot to add that Sony has now lost more on the PS3 than it made on the PS2 and PS1 combined, and still loses money on each console sold. All for third place.

      • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @05:37AM (#27719997) Homepage
        It wasn't just for 3rd place. It was to get Blu-Ray into as many homes as possible and win the format war which they did and, as far as 3rd place positions go, they're not doing that bad compared to MS who even had a year lead.

        Had they launched at the same time I would put money on Sony beating the 360 even if each system had the same games libraries.

        A lot of this is due to the fact no one outside of the US really likes the 360. Sony is beating them in Japan and MS has only about a million units lead over Sony. So it wouldn't take much to make MS lose their position.

        It will be interesting if they'll rush out and try to be on first on the market knowing they don't have what it takes to beat Nintendo, they can't really afford another red-ring scenario and Sony knows they have to play smarter the next time around.
        • Know your enemy. (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "Sony is beating them in Japan and MS has only about a million units lead over Sony. So it wouldn't take much to make MS lose their position."

          Microsoft isn't Sony's problem. Nintendo is.

          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            The problem with the Wii is it's a gimmick. There aren't many new games for it compared to the other two consoles and every single person I know who bought one played it for a few months and then put it away, never to be used again.

            Nintendo might be selling consoles, but they aren't selling games.

            • Re:Know your enemy. (Score:4, Informative)

              by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @03:58PM (#27723635) Homepage
              They're selling both. The problem is 3rd parties putting out any old rubbish and then being surprised when their games don't sell.

              Nintendo makes money on the hardware so they probably don't care as such. I think it should be that way though and the companies that pump out crap need to die off.
            • by Khyber (864651)

              Gimmick? Yea, you compare the PS2 version of Budokai Tenkaichi 3 against the Wii version and come back and say that again with a straight face.

            • Nintendo might be selling consoles, but they aren't selling games.

              Wait until June 23rd and then we'll see what happens. 'The Conduit' is released that day. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Conduit [wikipedia.org]

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            According to MS (and Sony to be fair), Nintendo is a completely different market. :P

            I don't buy it either and that wouldn't explain MS ripping off Miis.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Anenome (1250374)

              Yeah, Nintendo's in a completely different market than Sony/MS. /sarcasm
              Just like the PSP is in a completely different market than the DS, a failing market.

              Sony looooves to make this claim. Next thing Sony will be claiming the PS3 is the 'best selling black console on the market' :rolleyes:

              Kutaragi is famous for his 'spin'. He once said that PS3 would allow users to actually jack into the Matrix :|

              Here's another one: Kutaragi on the PS3's initial price of $599:
              "It's probably too cheap... We want consumers t

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          About the 360, why would anyone buy a piece of shit that RRODs or E74s after a few weeks? Microsoft has very bad reputation in Europe as well, which doesn't help things.

          OP is clueless about Sony's products. Their 2009 LCDs are great value for money. The PS3 is not sold at a loss, hasn't been the case for a while.

          The Wii has attracted a lot of people. The problem is, once the novelty wears off no one ever plays again. Hardcore games usually ignore it because the graphics in most games look like shit.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anenome (1250374)

            If their 2009 LCDs are a great 'value for the money' then Sony has failed and been forced to abandon its previous complete domination of a sector. Remember, Sony was used to charging 10-20% more for the exact same feature set -- because it had the name 'Sony' on the side. The fact that Sony can't do that anymore is a testament to how far their brand has fallen, and how much their competition has increased in stature. If you really want value for the money, I suggest buying Vizio. They are the cheapest on th

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by AmiMoJo (196126)

          I think Sony's consoles are even less reliable than the 360. Don't forget that Microsoft had to increase the warranty period for the red ring problems. A lot of Playstations and Playstation 2s stopped reading discs out of warranty and Sony did nothing about it. Both the original consoles (not so much the slim second generation ones) were terrible for that, and a friend of mine working at game retailer says it really killed the second hand console market for them.

          The 360 has it's problems, maybe even the 20%

          • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

            That is a load of rubbish. If that were any where near remotely true then there would be more stories about it as 360 fanboys would have a total wet dream if they could find something to justify the shoddy hardware Microsoft still produces.

            The 360 launched nearly 4 years ago and they still have problems including the E74 error and the problems are so common that they had to extend the warranty to keep people happy and put off the risk of a class action suit.

            Continuing to have problems 4 years later is
          • by Gizzmonic (412910)

            A lot of Playstations and Playstation 2s stopped reading discs out of warranty and Sony did nothing about it. Both the original consoles (not so much the slim second generation ones) were terrible for that, and a friend of mine working at game retailer says it really killed the second hand console market for them.

            Yeah, I thought Sony's failure rate was a lot at the time, too. Then Microsoft came along with the 360 and put Sony's failure rate to shame. My friend works with the thermal engineer who was on t

    • by derGoldstein (1494129) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @03:10AM (#27719489) Homepage

      If you look at the manufacturing costs, the real problem was the Blu-Ray drives. They were so desperate to win that format war (and that was truly a phyrric victory), that they upped the PS3's manufacturing costs through the stratosphere. DVD would have been more than enough, and the Cell's price has gone down, as all architectures eventually do. The reason the price is still this high is that the combination of the Cell *and* BR drives is simply too much.

      Imagine having access to PSN with a sub-$200 console. They would dominate by this point, if they just had their priorities straight.

      • At the time, I bought a PS3 *only* for Blu-Ray. Having the ability to play all my old games too was a plus. That, and the fact software updates are consistent which make this BR player future/feature proof.

        They made the right choice with this format. Too bad for X-Box.

        • by batkiwi (137781) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @03:59AM (#27719637)

          Most PS3s cannot play PS2 games, and of the ones that can there are inconsistancies that depend on exactly which model you got (software vs hardware emulation).

          Also, most of the end-of-cycle (read "great") ps2 games won't play.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Jurily (900488)

            Most PS3s cannot play PS2 games, and of the ones that can there are inconsistancies that depend on exactly which model you got (software vs hardware emulation).

            Also, most of the end-of-cycle (read "great") ps2 games won't play.

            It's Vista all over again.

          • by CronoCloud (590650) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {noruaduolconorc}> on Sunday April 26, 2009 @07:24PM (#27725055)

            Also, most of the end-of-cycle (read "great") ps2 games won't play.

            They won't? News to me, because my PS3 has played every PS2 game I've thrown at it, and only two have had issues bad enough that I wouldn't want to play them on a PS3: Tekken Tag Tournament (runs at half speed) and Fallout Brotherhood of Steel (really bad texture glitching). I have one PSone game with bad enough graphical glitching that it can't effectively be played, The X Files graphic adventure game, but the same glitching happens on a PS2 too, some too smart for their own good developer didn't follow Sony's technical docs properly.

        • by Kneo24 (688412)
          Except that now newer versions of the PS3 aren't compatible with PS2 games. You can't really use that as a selling point anymore.
        • Yes, the PS3 probably *is* the best BR player, even up to this point. But even if tying up the BR format with the PS3 *did* win the format war for them, what have they really gained?

          Look at the sales figures on blu-ray discs. Then compare those, either by revenue, or by amount of content consumed, to DVD or digital distribution. It's fractional. Don't get me wrong, I love HD, and blu-ray, in my opinion, is a pretty good format (if only they could reduce the price of the players), but look at it from the per

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I have a Wii, a ps2, a ds, the original xbox and a 360, i don't have a PS3 because you can't copy the games, and homebrew is crippled on it (no access to video hardware)...
        Like it or not, piracy is a great way to increase product exposure at low cost (i wouldnt buy games if i couldnt pirate them, and i dont have a ps3 because it cant run copied games).

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by DirtyCanuck (1529753)

          As much as I expect your comment to get modded into the sweet abyss of slashdot, still you make a valid point.
          My original xbox dominates my living room because it is still better then anything from the current generation. I have it fully modded with linux, which affords me the ability to access my computer on the other side of the house via network and watch every bit of media on it without the waste of burning discs or the hassle of using a thumb drive. I can play all the old roms using the controllers eff

          • by Khyber (864651)

            "I have it fully modded with linux, which affords me the ability to access my computer on the other side of the house via network and watch every bit of media on it without the waste of burning discs or the hassle of using a thumb drive"

            To be fair, I have THREE Linux installs on my PS3, and emulate everything just fine from the Gameboy up to the PSX (software wrappers are more than fast enough for hardware that old) The PS2 I have still works so it gets turned on to play those games, and I've got a 10TB NAS

            • Ya but you can pickup an original xbox for 25$ and a ps3 for what like 4 bills? I don't see your point.

      • DVD would have been more than enough,

        No, it isn't. Some devs were beginning to feel the pinch of capacity on the PS2, even with dual-layer. IIRC the PS2 Star Ocean game is a two disk game. I, for one, don't want to go back to the days of disk swapping and the linearity that induced. You'd never be able to fit some of the released PS3 games on a single DVD.

      • "Imagine having access to PSN with a sub-$200 console. They would dominate by this point, if they just had their priorities straight."

        - It's called Playstation 2. and you're right, it's still in a dominant position. From wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_2 [wikipedia.org] : "The PS2 is the best-selling console to date, having reached over 136 million units sell-in as of the end of December 2008.[2]"

    • http://blog.wired.com/games/2009/04/march-2009s-top.html

      Paints an intresting picture. Not one that should upset Nintendo, they are doing fine, but the 3rd part game publishers, well that is a different story.

      Combined with a recent slashdot article that showed the Wii got the least playing hours, it seems the Wii has opened a new segment, the very casual, occasional game buying public. They got the money to spend and aren't afraid to buy new hardware/controllers but they just won't be buying a new title ev

      • by Kneo24 (688412)
        There's very few good 3rd party games on the Wii as is. There's a considerably higher ratio of shovel ware to good games than the other consoles.
        • by Anenome (1250374) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @04:35AM (#27719775)

          "There's very few good 3rd party games on the Wii as is. There's a considerably higher ratio of shovel ware to good games than the other consoles."

          - I actually don't blame Ninty for this problem, it's largely called by the controller. Call it the learning-curve on a new controller paradigm. The Wii revolutionized the market by introducing a control scheme that the public has embraced. There's no going back on that front, and I fully expect to see a Sony and MS version of the Wiimote next gen. This generation has seen the limits of N's original Wii technology which, in retrospect, isn't great. N recently released a gyroscope based add-on which makes the controller a true 1:1 input device (as far as tilt goes, someone will add positional tracking eventually) and will likely be standard in the next console.

          I also wouldn't be surprised if a very large number of people whom grew up with the NES and SNES love the Virtual Console and are today buying games on it both for nostalgic value and to share with their own children, which by now are in the newborn to 10 y.o. range.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          > There's a considerably higher ratio of shovel ware to good games than the other consoles.

          This is hardly something new to the Wii. It's simply a function of popularity.

          The point of shovelware is basically to quickly cash in on something popular. The games need to be produced quicky, at very low cost, and ideally using some kind of existing character or franchise to try to move copies of the game. Failing that, rip off something else that's currently popular.

          Since this is basically a hit-and-run tactic,

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Bert64 (520050)

            Also the shovelware problem, when you are trying to quickly throw out a mediocre game, it's easier to make something based on an existing game and just tack on half assed support for the control system, rather than designing a game for the control system.

            • it's easier to make something based on an existing game and just tack on half assed support for the control system, rather than designing a game for the control system.

              You mean like the New Play Control! series [wikipedia.org], such as New Play Control! Pikmin, New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis, and even the launch title New Play Control! The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess? But then I guess those games are better than mediocre.

      • by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @08:55AM (#27720747)

        A general problem with pointing at third party software not selling on the Wii is that not all software is equal. When a third party loses against Nintendo it's often not a battle of Nintendo's brightest vs that third party's brightest, it tends to be a battle between Nintendo's brightest vs the third party's outsourced port team that can barely spell OpenGL. While I won't dispute that Nintendo's brightest are extremely bright and it can get very hard to beat them they're definitely not going to be outdone by some third rate effort that got funded by the leftovers in the annual budget. That's in part because publishers don't understand the Wii market, many go in with the wrong assumptions about the userbase and obviously fall flat as it turns out the customer their game was intended for does not exist.

        What should also be pointed at is the tie-in ratio (software sold per console on average) which was 6 for both the Wii and PS3 the last time I've seen a story about it (beginning of 2009 IIRC), either the PS3's audience has the same buy-one-game mentality or the Wii's does not and instead simply doesn't buy games it doesn't like.

        Potentially a huge market but there is a problem, they are by definition, unending games. You don't finish them. So you don't need to buy the sequel, or a clone, or even a different take of it. If you bought the Wii to keep fit, then that is the only purchase you will make for a LONG time. That is NOT the way the other markets work.

        Works fine for board games. Hell, even videogames didn't always end, in the early arcade age it was normal for a game to go on indefinitely until you either ran out of lives or the game glitched out and yet games kept being developed after that. There's always new ways to give the player new experiences. I don't think this whole "play through once, then trade in and buy the sequel" approach was really in place before the invention of FMVs, games had a length of ~30 minutes in one run but you'd play them over and over to get better at them until you could beat Contra on one life or something.

        Will developers be able to keep the PS3 alive for as long as the PS2?

        That is not a matter of ability but willingness. The PS2 receives games because it was by far the biggest selling console of its generation and there are still many people with PS2s hooked up who will buy PS2 games so devs release PS2 games to sell to those masses. I don't think the PS3 will end up in the same position, no matter how much Sony promises a 10 year lifespan (which I also think was only caused by the #1 position on the PS1 and PS2) they won't be able to convince developers to care about the PS3 over the next gen systems unless it finishes as a clear first and that is extremely unlikely from what we've seen so far.

        The X-box aged fast, how fast is the 360 going to age?

        The XBox didn't really age faster than the other systems but it got abandoned quickly because it was pretty far back in sales and they hoped to get an advantage by moving first this time (and I think it did work out for them to some degree).

        Is the market going to want its sequel when the PS3 and the Wii will be cheaper and perhaps even just as good?

        Yeah, that's the real question but it can only be answered if we know what the next XBox will do different from this one. If it's going to be another graphics update they won't stand a chance as graphics are pushed as far as the customer cares (and further). I'm not saying technology won't improve but I'm saying people don't care. Sony could easily run into the same problem though, if they make the PS4 another attempt at pushing graphics further they'll suffer just as much. If either console offers a significant improvement (in the eyes of the customer) then it could very well succeed more. For the record I don't expect the 360 to get a sequel long before the PS3 does though the Wii might end up lasting longer since its primary values can be improved without replacing the console itself.

      • by pizzach (1011925)

        The article is out of date. The sales for MadWorld have gotten closer to 100,000 by now. But still, it is not getting sales nearly as close at it should have been. It did pretty damn well for being released in the same week as Resident Evil 5. We all no how fickle hardcore gamers are over hi-def graphics.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @05:52AM (#27720063) Journal

      At least one laptop manufacturer is including a chip with 4 Cell SPUs and IBM is selling Cell blades, so some people are using them. Unfortunately, because they aimed for the graphics market they only included single-precision floating point which meant that a lot of their potential market in high-performance computing ignored the chip (they all believe they need double-precision floating point, even the ones that are mainly running integer-only FORTRAN code).

      There is still a lot of potential for the Cell. Toshiba, for example, are considering using it in HDTVs to decode all of the available MPEG-2 digital TV channels in parallel so there is no delay switching channels on digital DV and you can see channel previews easily. A lot of the early failures of the Cell were due to poor compiler support, but now LLVM has a Cell SPU back end this may change - it matches up very closely, for example, with OpenCL. Now that modern GPUs are adopting very similar designs to the Cell (i.e no fixed-function pipeline, just lots of SIMD units), it may start to be competitive in other areas.

      The Cell hasn't exactly taken the world by storm, but it's probably premature to claim it's dead.

      • by Xest (935314)

        I agree, I think Cell still has potential, however I think to use it in a console was rather idiotic. If perhaps you gave developers the same kind of support that Microsoft does then you could possibly pull it off, but you'd still need a decent graphics card of course which the PS3 sadly lacks.

        I think the GP's point would've been better stated that Cell is dead for many of the purposes it was originally claimed to be amazing for. That doesn't of course mean it's dead in plenty of other areas as you rightly

        • I believe Cell is in the PS/3 for the same reason that BluRay is in the PS/3: So that Sony can get volumes up to a high level before they start selling to third parties and to build the installed base. I wouldn't count Cell out for graphics either. Tungsten Graphics have a working OpenGL pipeline that runs on the SPUs, although they haven't done much optimisation yet. For things like ray tracing or volumetric rendering, the Cell would also do quite well. I wouldn't be surprised if games that use the Cel
    • Great video. One thing though. The gamers I know find very few compelling reasons for moving. Unless there's some saucy nudity or a clue hidden in the corner of the 3D room, they'll not move. And so the 3D illusion slowly degrades to good ole 3d. Much like going to the gym. You almost always have time but mostly you can't be bothered.

    • by davomsu (1543993)
      Yes. As unfortunate as it is for Sony, they are DONE. It's obvious now a days that even Sony itself seems to openly recognize that their electronics business has gone down the road too far. Sony will NEVER be the same again. However, Sony's entertainment business still has high hopes of making it big, even though it may not be as successful as what Sony had imagined of it a few years earlier...
  • by Mnemennth (607438) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @02:51AM (#27719415) Journal
    ... Sony had taken a brilliant innovation and nearly destroyed it by insisting on some form of proprietary hardware or another. Be it battery packs on their cameras or proprietary memory cards on almost everything they've ever made, they STILL don't understand how trying to OWN the standard almost guarantees you will NOT be compliant with whatever standard eventually develops, and therefore drives many potential customers to look elsewhere for products they would love to buy from Sony...

    mnem

    Where's the BetaMax?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 26, 2009 @05:15AM (#27719907)

      What about bluray? They seem to have won this round. They've gone into a partnership to support it, I suppose, but that suggests that they learnt something from past experience...

      ~jabithew (AC because I moderated this thread).

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @07:33AM (#27720415) Journal

        Is Bluray really doing well in the market? It did better than HD-DVD, but that seems to be like comparing SACD with DVD-A, and ignoring CDs and MP3/AAC downloads. A lot of people think DVD is 'good enough' and will likely only buy BD if it is cheaper than DVD, which won't be for a few years. BD video is only 30Mb/s, and home Internet connections are likely to be faster than that by the time BD becomes cheaper DVD - they already are in some parts of the world. With 10-15Mb/s and some buffering, you can stream a BD-quality movie if you remember to start the download three quarters of an hour or so before you want to watch it.

        The installed base of BD is about 6 million in the USA (figures from end of 2008, so maybe 8 million now if we're optimistic, but that's including all PS/3 units, even the ones that are plugged into non-HD TVs and so don't benefit from BD at all). DVDs have an order of magnitude more installed and I wouldn't be surprised if the number of people in the USA with 10Mb/s or higher Internet connections is greater than the number with BD players.

        • BD video is only 30Mb/s, and home Internet connections are likely to be faster than that by the time BD becomes cheaper DVD

          Even in the country, where 0.05 Mbps dial-up is considered "a good connection"?

          • What proportion of the population lives in these areas? 5%? They're not really statistically significant when it comes to a mass-market product.
        • by Ifandbut (1328775)

          A lot of people think DVD is 'good enough' and will likely only buy BD if it is cheaper than DVD, which won't be for a few years.

          That's what alot of 'older' (40+) people were saying at my work up till 4 months ago. One guy who does not even have cable got a HD-TV + Blu-ray player because of the digital switchover and was ecstatic about the increase in picture quality. Now 5 other engineers I work with all have HD-TV + Blu-ray and dont know how they watched TV without it.

          For HD, seeing really is believing.

    • by feepness (543479) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @07:27AM (#27720373) Homepage
      The PS3 runs Linux. Granted you cannot access 3D graphics but still it is the only major console to do so natively. Ever.

      The PS3 can use any bluetooth/usb keyboard/mouse.

      The PS3 can use any bluetooth headset.

      The PS3 can be upgraded with any laptop hardrive.

      This whole Sony forces you to use their technology meme has to die. They do so no more and often less than other manufacturers of their size.

      Hell, HD-DVD was an entire attempt by MSFT to force a doomed from the start tech down the market's throat. Most egregious I've seen in ages.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        But do they let you use bog-standard SD and SDHC cards?

        • As someone else said.. yes the older ones have built in card slots for SD/MMC/SDHC, CF, MemoryStick.

          the newer ones, which have no card slots, you can use a USB SD card reader easily enough.

      • by Mnemennth (607438)
        And I suppose Sony wasn't trying to own the next video standard when they included Blu-Ray in the PS3, driving production costs higher than sale price? The only reason Sony has won the format war (so far) is they bought off whomever they had to. Only 2 months before Sony struck a deal with the other MPAA members, Blu-Ray had been declared DOA by a dozen prominent tech wonks, and HD-DVD the "new standard".

        They gambled the entire company on PS3 and Blu-Ray, but people weren't buying. Both formats were too bu

        • I play Street Fighter 4 with a generic USB headset, and a PS2->USB adapter using my Hori Real Arcade Pro 2.

          I use the web browser with my generic usb keyboard and mouse.

          I can hook up generic flash drives to back up save data and install movies.

          I can upgrade my ps3 with a standard 2.5" SATA drive.

          Yes, this crap needs to die.

          Particularly when you consider MS wants 99 bucks for a 60gb drive.

          • by Mnemennth (607438)
            First off, you forget ALL THE STUFF that went before the PS3... I'm not forgetting the PSP and MagicGate and every d@mn camera they ever made and are still making, and you shouldn't either. Secondly - try plugging your USB hard drive from your PC in with your collection of music or videos on it - the PS3 will ask "Do you want to format this drive?"

            You want to pick a few generic peripherals, none of which have enough profit margin to be worth Sony's trouble, out of the thousands of possibilities to claim "

            • Secondly - try plugging your USB hard drive from your PC in with your collection of music or videos on it - the PS3 will ask "Do you want to format this drive?"

              No, it won't, as long as the drive is FAT32. Your drive is probably NTFS.

              • by Mnemennth (607438)
                FAT32? Are you F-ing serious? What is this, 1999 again?

                mnem

                Talk about a waste of a perfectly good hard drive...

                • by Gizzmonic (412910)

                  FAT32? Are you F-ing serious? What is this, 1999 again?

                  mnem

                  Talk about a waste of a perfectly good hard drive...

                  Yeah, it's such a waste compared the Xbox 360's backup system, which forces you to use up an entire dri-oh wait, it's even worse!

            • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <{taiki} {at} {cox.net}> on Monday April 27, 2009 @01:37AM (#27726907)

              Specifically, i cited a hard drive, a pen drive, a keyboard, a mouse, a headset, and a standard usb HID device. Earlier someone cited that bluetooth versions(Where applicable) of these devices work just fine. In addition, so do UPnP servers.

              With the 360, well, USB keyboards are usable but not in all games, 360 doesn't even have a web browser, so that's not even something to compare to(nor does MS give the option for Mouse/Keyboard play to devs, PS3 does even the ps2 supported it). Nor does it support HID devices. 360's WIRED headset options are generic, same as generic celphone 2.5" jack headsets, wireless, not so much.

              Let's figure this out:

              PS3:

              Wireless Headset: Generic bluetooth - I already own one
              Controllers: Generic HID Devices(No SIXAXIS, but, for things like SF4 and Soul Calibur, not a big point, also, HAWX is compatible with generic USB devices too). - I already one several, in addition to PS2->USB adapters.
              Hard drives: Generic 2.5" SATA drives - Cheap as chips
              USB storage: Generic USB pendrives formatted for FAT32, works with saves(Where transferrable). - Already own one.
              A/V Cable: HDMI or A/V out from port, compatible with current PS2 cable.
              Wifi: Built in
              Remote: Bluetooth only, also can be controlled via wireless HID device

              360:

              Wireless Headset: 60 bucks.
              Controllers: 40 bucks wired, 50 wireless plus 20 for play and charge kit.
              Hard drives: 100 bucks for 60 gigs.
              USB storage: Supports NTFS, but must use proprietary memory unit to transfer saves, not all saves will transfer. Memory unit - 512mb for 50 bucks.
              A/V Cable: HDMI or A/V out from port, NOT compatible with current Xbox cable
              Wifi: 100 bucks for proprietary WiFi dongle.
              Remote: Proprietary remote, but is compatible with IR universal remotes

              PS3 wins when it comes to nearly every accessory. The only accessory I've noticed that takes a huge loss is the remote. Given that most console gamers tend not to purchase much less use the optional remote, this isn't much of a win in the first place. Plus you can use any ol' HID device to control the PS3 for movie playback anyway.

              Yes, Sony pulled the rootkit incident... ONCE. Nearly 4 years ago.

              Conficker affects Windows 7 NOW. Microsoft also has had a really, REALLY long history of shoddy products. Bob? ME? IIS? IE? C'mooooon.

              • by Mnemennth (607438)
                Whatever, fanboy. I've already put forth my points very clearly. I'm not bashing your beloved PS3, I'm legitimately pissed off at Sony as a corporate entity for crap they are STILL DOING.

                You just keep rehashing the same old crap ad nauseum, and you STILL don't have a relevant answer for the MAIN POINT, which is WHY Sony included the Blu-Ray and made the PS3 a loss leader.

                I'm glad you love your PS3 so much, I hope it keeps you warm at night. Maybe someday you'll grow up and find a girlfriend instead.

                mnem

                Ga

                • Because DVD SUCKS now.

                  9 gig isn't a lot anymore. Digital Distribution for very large games just isn't going to happen. For each piece of The Orange Box? Sure. Great. Zombies versus Plants? Yes. Metal Gear Solid 4? HELL NO. Killzone 2? Not through my pipe. Little Big Planet? not a fucking chance. DVD was great, and is great for it's use. Low resolution movies, and data storage of less than 9 gigs. Unfortunately, games aren't that small anymore. iD's Rage is going to be on two discs because of

      • by rtechie (244489)

        Hell, HD-DVD was an entire attempt by MSFT to force a doomed from the start tech down the market's throat. Most egregious I've seen in ages.

        Um, no. It was really Toshiba and other hardware manufacturers that pushed the format because, basically, they thought Blu-ray was too expensive. Since Sony was a Microsoft rival it was natural for them to sign on the HD-DVD, but they showed not real commitment to the format. Bill Gates was quoted as saying "This is the last format war." and believed downloaded and streaming video (and audio) to be the future. Microsoft has shown MUCH more commitment to that approach. However, MSFT did provide the language

      • The PS3 runs Linux. Granted you cannot access 3D graphics but still it is the only major console to do so natively. Ever.

        No, you're forgetting the PS2:

        [code]
        [CronoCloud@midgar CronoCloud]$ cat /etc/redhat-release
        PS2 Linux release 1.0

        [CronoCloud@midgar CronoCloud]$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
        cpu : MIPS
        cpu model : R5900 V3.1
        system type : EE PS2
        BogoMIPS : 392.39
        byteorder : little endian
        [/code]

        Actually I don't have Linux running on a PS2 anymore, the hard drive failed (after 6 years of heavy use) with boot sector errors.

  • by derGoldstein (1494129) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @02:53AM (#27719421) Homepage

    "One of the crucial points in the campaign to win hearts and minds came when Sony offered a solution to the problem that Japanese game publishers had no production capacity or supply infrastructure themselves. After all, under the Nintendo model, Nintendo would make and distribute their software for them ... One of the crucial points in the campaign to win hearts and minds came when Sony offered a solution to the problem that Japanese game publishers had no production capacity or supply infrastructure themselves. After all, under the Nintendo model, Nintendo would make and distribute their software for them"

    This was the real force behind the success. It brought a massive amount of Japanese-culture into game design. Game developers didn't have to make everything "culture agnostic" if they didn't want to, and this was a big turning point.

    • by Kagura (843695)

      "One of the crucial points in the campaign to win hearts and minds came when Sony offered a solution to the problem that Japanese game publishers had no production capacity or supply infrastructure themselves. After all, under the Nintendo model, Nintendo would make and distribute their software for them ... One of the crucial points in the campaign to win hearts and minds came when Sony offered a solution to the problem that Japanese game publishers had no production capacity or supply infrastructure themselves. After all, under the Nintendo model, Nintendo would make and distribute their software for them"

      This was the real force behind the success. It brought a massive amount of Japanese-culture into game design. Game developers didn't have to make everything "culture agnostic" if they didn't want to, and this was a big turning point.

      Uh, that has nothing to do with the excerpt you quoted. The quote talks about game developers needing a way to get their software to leave their computer and go into a consumer's living room. It has nothing to do with making anything "culturally agnostic" or not.

      Also, you made me read that quote twice. :(

      • I need to work on my Ctrl+C Ctrl+V skillz...

        I was referring to the "the problem that Japanese game publishers had no production capacity or supply infrastructure themselves" part. The PS made this possible, and I quote: "The net effect was that there were hundreds and hundreds of thirdparty publishers in Japan. Tonnes and tonnes of product being developed for PlayStation".

        The import market really picked up when western players noticed that there was some really awesome stuff being developed for the Japanese

        • You're kind of correct,but have the wrong conclusions.

          Nintendo had draconian policies about publishing. They arbitrarily limited the amount of games a company could publish per year. They required the publisher to order all cartridges through Nintendo, with a substatntial lead time. Per-cart prices were high. If you ordered too few, and the game did very well, it could be months before you had more stock on the shelves. If you ordered too many, and the game didn't do so well, you had a stack of expensive carts lying around.

          Sony threw the doors open to developers; buy a dev kit and go to town. Publish a game a week if you want. Also, they didn't require CD manufacturing to go through them; any old CD pressing plant could do it. If you had a hit on your hands, you could, in theory, have another several hundred thousand copies pressed over a weekend for pennies per.

          Let alone the fact that carts were so space limited compared to CDs.

          If you can find Game Over: Press Start To Continue (the story of Nintendo from Hanafuda card manufacturer to the N64, basically) and Revolutionaries at Sony (the story of the Playstation) it's interesting to read the two sides.

  • by reporter (666905) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @02:59AM (#27719435) Homepage
    Anything that creates an addiction is bound to be profitable.

    Consider drugs, pornography, video games, etc.

    Most of us have known people who play video games for hours. Their obsession drives them to buy new graphics cards, new games, etc. They simply cannot stop themselves. Their whole lives revolve around creating the best video-gaming experience in the world.

  • Happy 200th, Edge (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @06:00AM (#27720083)
    This is a reprint of an article from the magazine's 200th issue. (It's now on 201.) Seeing as the "super-consoles" were the biggest thing to happen after the magazine's inception, it's kind of appropriate that they chose to do an article on the most successful of them.
  • by iregisteredjustforth (1155123) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @07:32AM (#27720409)

    "Perhaps St Augustine was right and there is only one story: of creation, fall and redemption. In PlayStationâ(TM)s case, weâ(TM)re now waiting on the latter."

    The Sony tale is one of how to take huge market share and massive goodwill from your business partners and throw it all away by convincing yourself you are different from all the others and that the rules don't apply to you. (George Bush post-9/11 parallels anyone?)

    Sony is an electronics company that makes it products out of pcbs and transistors like any other, but they forgot that and seemed instead to be arrogantly convinced they had some divine right to dominate the console market and could do whatever thet want.

    Nintendo has done with the Wii what Sony did with the PS1 - create a system the market wants. Instead sony built the machine it wanted to make (replete with technologies like cell and blu-ray)and tried to use its strength and dominance of the previous generation to force the market to like what it had built. We all know the result.

    • by feepness (543479)

      Nintendo has done with the Wii what Sony did with the PS1 - create a system the market wants. Instead sony built the machine it wanted to make (replete with technologies like cell and blu-ray)and tried to use its strength and dominance of the previous generation to force the market to like what it had builtNintendo has done with the Wii what Sony did with the PS1 - create a system the market wants. Instead sony built the machine it wanted to make (replete with technologies like cell and blu-ray)and tried to use its strength and dominance of the previous generation to force the market to like what it had built. We all know the result. We all know the result.

      This is anthropomorphizing. Both companies built the machines they "wanted". Why they did so is based on their understanding of their capabilities and where that would fit into the market. Sony, coming off a massive expansion from the PS1/2 success has a machine developed with a lot of money and fingers in the pie, and it shows. Thankfully, despite the initial price it seems to be reliable and solid even with the "committee" effect (cough MSFT cough).

      Nintendo, coming from behind in the previous two c

      • by Anenome (1250374)

        "Both companies built the machines they "wanted". Why they did so is based on their understanding of their capabilities and where that would fit into the market. Sony, coming off a massive expansion from the PS1/2 success has a machine developed with a lot of money and fingers in the pie, and it shows."

        Except Nintendo doesn't have a music, movies, electronics manufacturing, and chip manufacturing businesses. PSX was originally a division of Sony Music. When the PS3 came around, Sony's aim was to make the PS

  • Anyone remeber those old PSX games. What was it now...

    Ridge Racer: Racing game with had Space Invader as the loading screen. Back in 95 the game looked amazing and drew crowds.
    Wipeout: Never liked this one, way to hardcore for me but it looked different enough that it made you want to try it out. Another crowd pleaser for sure.
    Jumping Jack Flash: I still remember the name! Of all the early PSX games this was the one I wanted to play most, but it seemingly vanished of the marked before I got the chance :-( P

    • Jumping Jack Flash: I still remember the name! Of all the early PSX games this was the one I wanted to play most, but it seemingly vanished of the marked before I got the chance :-( Probably shitty, but it was the first 3D platformer - more so than that dull "Bug" game Sega touted.

      The name is just "Jumping Flash" and it's available on the Playstation Network for download for the PS3 and PSP.

  • One thing that's completely omitted from the Edge piece is mentioned in IGN's history of Sega [ign.com]:

    "We got together with [Sony] and defined what we'd like to see in our next hardware. We had this great idea that it should be a joint SEGA-Sony hardware system. If we had to take a loss on the hardware (which was the norm then), we'd split the loss on the hardware, but we wouldn't split software, so any software they did, they'd get 100% of the profits, and any software we did, we'd get 100% of the profits. It

  • by Haoie (1277294)

    In a few months, it'll be 14 years since the release of the first console.

    Quite a milestone I say. And that's why it's remained my preferred console for collecting.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Khyber (864651)

      Umm, 14 years? The Fairchild VES in 1976, buddy. You're too young to even speak on this subject.

      • by Khyber (864651)

        How the hell is this a troll? The first usage of "CONSOLE" as applied to a videogame system was the Fairchild VES - quoting wikipedia:

        "The first company to use the term "console" to officially refer to its video game system was Fairchild with the Video Entertainment System (VES) in 1976.[4] Since then, definition has widened to include entire systems, as well as to describe alternate platforms such as handheld game consoles, TV games, and multimedia devices"

        This person definitely shows they're not quite old

        • Haoie is obviously referring to the first PlayStation console, released in North America in 1995 (that's 14 years ago).
        • Actually, the first home video game console would be the Magnavox Odyssey, though the term 'console' might not have been coined quite yet.

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