E3 2005: A look at the Playstation 3

Now that everything has calmed down, it's time to look at what the industry leader plans on doing for the next generation. They're not bringing in anything completely unexpected (except the new controller), but looking at these one by one may allow this to sink in.

The system: Sleek, curved, and unique, the system itself is a finely designed piece of hardware. It's simple, containing nothing on the front other than a drive to put the discs in. It fits right in with other modern electronics, looking far less like a PC, which is more than what can be said for Microsoft's Xbox 360. Almost all of the ports are hidden under a flap. It's a gorgeous console, and it's probably going to look even better on a shelf. The font adorning the top, on the other hand, is taken right out of the Spiderman films.

Ditching the Dual Shock: Two generations seems to be enough for Sony. The Playstation 3 controller is radically different from the one before it… and maybe not for the better. Already coined by gamers as the "boomerang," this strange, almost alien like piece doesn't look even remotely like something official. In fact, it looks more like something a third party would release. Shaped like a half circle, it doesn't look comfortable or useable. Still, it's hard to tell until we've all held one. The PSP can also be used as a controller or even as an extra screen via the Wi-Fi connection.

Seven Blue-tooth ports: At the very least, while we're adjusting to the change in our hands, wires are one less thing we'll have to deal with. Sporting support for an oddball number of controllers, this seems to be the route each company will be taking. Why they are not going for an even number with eight seems strange, much like the controllers themselves.

Blu-Ray: Probably the biggest wildcard of the bunch, Sony's own HD-DVD format could backfire… hard. With multiple companies struggling to come to terms on that 'other' digital entertainment war, should Blu-Ray not make it, Sony is left supporting nothing but a useless, forgotten format. Either way, they still have a chance at gaining an advantage over Microsoft who announced their Xbox 360 would support current generation DVD. One of the biggest selling points of the PS2 was its ability to play DVD's at a low price, especially in Japan. The PS3 could have very well done the same thing for this generation of movie watching. Sony's stubbornness could play a huge role in this hardware battle.

Memory Stick Duo: Interesting possibilities here with another Sony format and the one supported by the PSP. You can already begin thinking of the possibilities the two systems can share together, and hopefully it's more intriguing than Nintendo's connectivity between the Game Boy Advance and Gamecube.

Backwards compatibility: Theyre putting in support for both PS One and PS2 games. Its convenient, but not a necessity.

Detachable hard drive: This is one Microsoft is counting on, and putting inside the box with the console. Sony failed to announce the size of the drive nor if it would be included with the console.

Two HD outputs: Probably one of the most unique and interesting feature of the console, this allows gamers to hook the PS3 up to two HDTV's simultaneously for double the screen width. There are countless possibilities here, though whether or not a company actually takes advantage of something so few gamers will be able to use is unknown. Just imagine an updated version of the arcade classics Ninja Warriors or X-Men, both games that used roughly the same gimmick to draw gamers to their cabinets.

Reality Synthesizer: So much for the emotion engine. This new buzzword revolves around the single Nvidia graphics chip powering the console. It's estimated that two of the most powerful PC cards graphics cards on the market would equal the single chip's power and cost nearly $1,000. Supporting that is 512 MB of graphics rendering memory, certainly a sizeable amount. The PS3 will also support the highest HD standard, 1080p.

The Games: All of that is exciting, but it all doesn't matter if the games aren't worth your time. Sony showed numerous titles. Unfortunately, every single one of them was a sequel. Tekken 6, Metal Gear 4, Gran Turismo 5, Devil May Cry 4, Killzone 2, Red Dead Revolver 2, and Fight Night Round 3. The biggest news is an update to the PS One cult classic Warhawk, something many gamers have been asking for since the first day they bought their console. This generation will not be able to survive without something (anything) to make the upgrade seem worthwhile. The graphical gap has finally caught up with game systems, and it's going to take something special to keep gamers occupied.

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