Today marks five years since the PlayStation 3 was first released in European territories, including South Africa. Both the Japanese and North American launches occurred during November 2006 but a shortage of diodes used in the console’s Blu-ray drive meant that we had to wait an extra four months to get our hands on it.
I don’t have the exact details for the South African launch but I remember that you could buy the 60GB model with built-in PS2 emulation for somewhere in the region of R6 000. I attended a midnight launch at the Pavilion branch of BT Games where Ridge Racer 7 was in playable form. The store held a cosplay competition where you had to dress up as your favourite character from a PlayStation franchise. Oliver’s brother came as Devil Jin from the Tekken series and walked away with a PS3 neatly tucked under his arm!
Obviously R6 000 was and still is a large amount of money so I wasn’t able to afford one at launch. It was only in June 2008 with the release of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots that I was compelled to pick up a PS3 second hand so I could play the latest entry in one of my favourite franchises.
Over the years I’ve seen the PS3 go from strength to strength in many crucial areas. The console’s price has more than halved since launch, and the hardware has been significantly slimmed down to produce a product that runs quietly and efficiently. PS3 games have also got cheaper over the years (at least here in South Africa) and there’s now a huge library of quality software to pick from. PS3 has more big budget exclusives than any other current gen console, including the likes of Killzone 3, inFAMOUS 2 and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
The PlayStation Network has also greatly improved over the years, offering better stability, new services and more advanced security with each passing year. The PlayStation Store is another area that has received numerous improvements. You only have to look at an early screenshot of the Store to realise how far it has come:
June 2010 saw the introduction of PlayStation Plus - a subscription service offering early access to Betas and demos, as well as plenty of discounts, game trials and free content on a monthly basis.
One of the most exciting recent developments for me personally has been the introduction of Cross Platform Play following the launch of the PS Vita last month. Being able to play against friends on another platform, synch your save data between the console and handheld versions of a game (i.e. MotorStorm RC), and only have to pay once to get a title on both the PS3 and Vita are features that make the PS3 unique among other consoles (for the time being at least).
At E3 2005 no one could have guessed where the PS3 would be today. Sony used the occasion to present two extremely well-received tech demos that showed the world what the console was capable of. Take a look below:
El33tonline would like to wish the PlayStation 3 a very happy birthday and extend our thanks to Ster Kinekor for serving as the console’s official distributor in South Africa.
We’d love to hear all your PS3 related memories! Did you attend the launch? When did you buy your PS3 and what game(s) compelled you to do so? What are your favourite PS3/PSN titles so far?