The new PS3 design unveiled during the E3 announcement
November 17 ship date, new controller, hard drive, free online service

Sony just finished up the company's E3 official announcement of Playstation 3. As expected, the company has confirmed that the console will ship early November 2006 in a simultaneous worldwide launch.  Some information about the PS3 has already been announced -- the device will feature a 60GB hard drive, Blu-ray and integrated networking capabilities. 

All of the content demonstrated in the conference was in glorious 1080p, including games.  Gran Turismo was one of the first titles featured at 1080p.  EA announced they will have 10 launch titles for PS3, though it isn't clear which titles will feature 1080p.  Metal Gear Solid 4 and Final Fantasy 13 were two other memorable 1080p announcements.

Furthermore, the PS3 will come with several interoperability features, including a function that will allow the PSP to link directly into the console.  The conference call also alluded to some WiFi integration, and considering the networking between the PSP and the PS3, we can only assume this means some 802.11 protocol.  Bluetooth will also be standard on the PS3. 

The wireless controllers will allow for seven players at a time to use the same console.  The wireless controllers are a strong departure from the old "boomerang" concept design.  In fact, the controller looks almost exactly like the existing PS2 controller with the addition of two trigger buttons under the L1 and R1 pads, but also features motion sensitivity. The internal motion sensitivity gives the controller "six degrees of freedom." A mini-USB interface is also featured on the front of the controller -- we suspect for recharging the batteries. Sony stresses that this is not the final design, though our representative claims there will be very few changes before launch.

The device will also have an extensive online back end.  Unlike Microsoft's XBOX 360, Playstation online (the official name is unannounced yet) will be completely free.  The service will offer free additional content, voice messaging and a marketplace dubbed "Playstation Shop." The marketplace will act very similar to Microsoft's XBOX Live marketplace, allowing users to tie a credit card or prepaid "Playstation Card" into a specific account. 

Sony will also feature a "SingStar Store" in the marketplace that will allow users to purchase music from Sony directly.  Music can then be transferred onto the PSP or played on the PS3.  The media center for PS3 is then customizable with various skins and profiles available via the marketplace.

To wrap things up, Sony also announced the PS3 will come in two different configurations, similar to the XBOX 360 approach. One version will come with a 20GB hard drive and cost $499.  The 60GB hard drive version will cost $599.  Both models will ship November 17 in the US.  In Canada, the two models will ship for 549 CND and 649 CND on the same date, respectively. Sony anticipates shipping 2 million units at release, but there seems to be some discrepancy between the March 31, 2007 unit predictions: the graph claims 7 million units total yet the Sony representatives claimed only 6 million.

Update 05/08/06: More info about the differences between the two tiers of Playstations is available in another article on DailyTech.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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