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The PlayStation 3 (PS3) is a home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is the successor to PlayStation 2, as part of the PlayStation series. It competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles. It was first released on November 11, 2006, in Japan,[1] with international markets following shortly thereafter.[2][3][4]

The console was first officially announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2005, and was released at the end of 2006. It was the first console to use Blu-ray Disc as its primary storage medium.[5] Major features of the console include its unified online gaming service, PlayStation Network,[6] and its[7] connectivity with PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita,[8] In September 2009 the updated PlayStation 3 Slim, was released. This Slim is lighter and thinner than the original version, which notably featured a re-designed logo and marketing design. A further refined Super Slim design was released in late 2012. As of November 2, 2013, PlayStation 3 has sold 80 million units worldwide. Its successor, PlayStation 4, was released on November 15, 2013, in North America and in Europe on November 29, 2013. Following the release of PlayStation 4, Sony has stated that they will continue to support PlayStation 3 until 2015.[9]

HistoryEdit

Sony officially unveiled PlayStation 3 (then marketed as PLAYSTATION 3[10]) to the public on May 16, 2005, at the E3 2005 conference,[11] along with a 'boomerang' shaped prototype design of the Sixaxis controller.[12] A functional version of the system was not present there,[13] nor at the Tokyo Game Show in September 2005,[14] although demonstrations (such as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots[13]) were held at both events on software development kits and comparable personal computer hardware.[13][14] Video footage based on the predicted PlayStation 3 specifications was also shown (notably a Final Fantasy VII tech demo).[15]

The initial prototype shown in May 2005 featured two HDMI ports, three Ethernet ports and six USB ports;[16] however, when the system was shown again a year later at E3 2006, these were reduced to one HDMI port, one Ethernet port and four USB ports, presumably to cut costs.[17][18] Two hardware configurations were also announced for the console: a 20 GB model and a 60 GB model, priced at US$499 (€499) and US$599 (€599), respectively.[17] The 60 GB model was to be the only configuration to feature an HDMI port, Wi-Fi internet, flash card readers and a chrome trim with the logo in silver.[17] Both models were announced for a simultaneous worldwide release: November 11, 2006, for Japan and November 17, 2006, for North America and Europe.[19]

On September 6, 2006, Sony announced that PAL region PlayStation 3 launch would be delayed until March 2007, because of a shortage of materials used in the Blu-ray drive.[20] At the Tokyo Game Show on September 22, 2006, Sony announced that it would include an HDMI port on the 20 GB system, but a chrome trim, flash card readers, silver logo and Wi-Fi would not be included.[21] Also, the launch price of the Japanese 20 GB model was reduced by over 20%,[22] and the 60 GB model was announced for an open pricing scheme in Japan.[22] During the event, Sony showed 27 playable PS3 games running on final hardware.[23]

LaunchEdit

File:PS3s and controllers at E3 2006.jpg
Main article: PlayStation 3 launch

PlayStation 3 was first released in Japan on November 11, 2006, at 07:00.[1] According to Media Create, 81,639 PS3 systems were sold within 24 hours of its introduction in Japan.[24] Soon after its release in Japan, PS3 was released in North America on November 17, 2006.[2] Reports of violence surrounded the release of PS3. A customer was shot,[25] campers were robbed at gunpoint,[26] customers were shot in a drive-by shooting with BB guns,[27] and 60 campers fought over 10 systems.[28]

The console was originally planned for a global release through November, but at the start of September the release in Europe and the rest of the world was delayed until March.[29] With it being a somewhat last-minute delay, some companies had taken deposits for pre-orders, at which Sony informed customers that they were eligible for full refunds or could continue the pre-order.[30] On January 24, 2007, Sony announced that PlayStation 3 would go on sale on March 23, 2007, in Europe, Australia, the Middle East, Africa and New Zealand.[3][4] The system sold about 600,000 units in its first two days.[31] On March 7, 2007, the 60 GB PlayStation 3 launched in Singapore with a price of S$799.[32] The console was launched in South Korea on June 16, 2007, as a single version equipped with an 80 GB hard drive and IPTV.[33]

PS3 Slim and console rebrandingEdit

Following speculation that Sony was working on a 'slim' model, Sony officially announced the PS3 CECH-2000 model on August 18, 2009, at the Sony Gamescom press conference.[34][35] Among its features are a slimmer form factor and quieter noise when powered on. It was released in major territories by September 2009. As part of the release for the slim model, the logo was changed from the "Spider-Man font"Template:Clarify and capitalized PLAYSTATION 3 to a more traditional PlayStation- and PlayStation 2-like 'PlayStation 3' logo with "PS3" imprinted on the console. Along with the redesigning of the console and logo, the boot screen of all consoles changed from "Sony Computer Entertainment" to "PS3 PlayStation 3", with a new chime and the game start splash screen being dropped. The cover art and packaging of games has also been changed.[35]

GamesEdit

Main article: List of PlayStation 3 games

PlayStation 3 launched in North America with 14 titles, with another three being released before the end of 2006.[36] After the first week of sales it was confirmed that Resistance: Fall of Man from Insomniac Games was the top-selling launch game in North America.[37][38] The game was heavily praised by numerous video game websites, including GameSpot and IGN, both of whom awarded it their PlayStation 3 Game of the Year award for 2006.[39][40] Some titles missed the launch window and were delayed until early 2007, such as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, F.E.A.R. and Sonic the Hedgehog. During the Japanese launch, Ridge Racer 7 was the top-selling game, while Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire also fared well in sales,[41] both of which were offerings from Namco Bandai Games. PlayStation 3 launched in Europe with 24 titles, including ones that were not offered in North American and Japanese launches, such as Formula One Championship Edition, MotorStorm and Virtua Fighter 5. Resistance: Fall of Man and MotorStorm were the most successful titles of 2007,[42][43] and both games subsequently received sequels in the form of Resistance 2 and MotorStorm: Pacific Rift.[44][45]

At E3 2007, Sony was able to show a number of their upcoming video games for PlayStation 3, including Heavenly Sword, Lair, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, Warhawk and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune; all of which were released in the third and fourth quarters of 2007. They also showed off a number of titles that were set for release in 2008 and 2009; most notably Killzone 2, Infamous, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, LittleBigPlanet and SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation.[46] A number of third-party exclusives were also shown, including the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots,[47] alongside other high-profile third-party titles such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Assassin's Creed, Devil May Cry 4 and Resident Evil 5. Two other important titles for PlayStation 3, Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII, were shown at TGS 2007 in order to appease the Japanese market.[48][49]

Sony have since launched their budget range of PlayStation 3 titles, known as the Greatest Hits range in North America,[50] the Platinum range in Europe and Australia[51] and The Best range in Japan.[52] Among the titles available in the budget range include Resistance: Fall of Man, MotorStorm, Uncharted: Drakes Fortune, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Call Of Duty 3, Assassin's Creed and Ninja Gaiden Sigma. As of October 2009 Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, Devil May Cry 4, Army of Two, Battlefield: Bad Company and Midnight Club: Los Angeles have also joined the list.

As of March 31, 2012, there have been 595 million games sold for PlayStation 3.[53]

Stereoscopic 3DEdit

Main article: List of 3D PlayStation 3 games

In December 2008, the CTO of Blitz Games announced that it would bring stereoscopic 3D gaming and movie viewing to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 with its own technology.[54] This technology was first demonstrated publicly on PS3 in January 2009 at the Consumer Electronics Show. Journalists were shown Wipeout HD and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue in 3D as a demonstration of how the technology might work if it is implemented in the future.[55] System software update 3.30 has prepared PS3 for stereoscopic 3D gaming, while 3.50 prepared it for 3D films.[56] Firmware update 3.30 officially allows PS3 titles to be played in 3D, requiring a compatible display for use.[57] While the game itself must be programmed to take advantage of the 3D technology, titles may be patched to add in the functionality retroactively. Titles with such patches include Wipeout HD, Pain, and Super Stardust HD.[58]

HardwareEdit

PlayStation 3 is convex on its left side, with the PlayStation logo upright, when vertical (the top side is convex when horizontal) and has a glossy black finish. PlayStation designer Teiyu Goto stated that the Spider-Man-font-inspired logo "was one of the first elements SCEI president Ken Kutaragi decided on and the logo may have been the motivating force behind the shape of PS3".[59]

On March 22, 2007, SCE and Stanford University released the Folding@home software for PlayStation 3.[60] This program allows PS3 owners to lend the computing power of their consoles to help study the process of protein folding for disease research.

Use in supercomputingEdit

Main article: PlayStation 3 cluster

PS3's hardware has also been used to build supercomputers for high-performance computing.[61] Fixstars Solutions sell a version of Yellow Dog Linux for PlayStation 3 (originally sold by Terra Soft Solutions).[62] RapidMind produced a stream programming package for PS3,[63] but were acquired by Intel in 2009. Also, on January 3, 2007, Dr. Frank Mueller, Associate Professor of Computer science at NCSU, clustered 8 PS3s. Mueller commented that the 256 MB of system RAM is a limitation for this particular application and is considering attempting to retrofit more RAM. Software includes: Fedora Core 5 Linux ppc64, MPICH2, OpenMP v 2.5, GNU Compiler Collection and CellSDK 1.1.[64][65][66] As a more cost-effective alternative to conventional supercomputers, the U.S. military has purchased clusters of PS3 units for research purposes.[67] Retail PS3 Slim units cannot be used for supercomputing, because PS3 Slim lacks the ability to boot into a third-party OS.

In November 2010 the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) created a powerful supercomputer by connecting together 1,760 Sony PS3s which include 168 separate graphical processing units and 84 coordinating servers in a parallel array capable of performing 500 trillion floating-point operations per second (500 TFLOPS).[68] As built the Condor Cluster was the 33rd largest supercomputer in the world and would be used to analyze high definition satellite imagery.[69]

In December 2008, a group of hackers used a cluster of 200 PlayStation 3 computers to crack SSL authentication.[70]Template:-

Technical specificationsEdit

Main article: PlayStation 3 technical specifications

PlayStation 3 features a slot-loading 2x speed Blu-ray Disc drive for games, Blu-ray movies, DVDs, CDs and other optical media.[71] It was originally available with hard drives of 20 and 60 GB (20 GB model was not available in PAL regions)[72][73] but various sizes up to 500 GB[74][75] have been made available since then (see: model comparison). All PS3 models have user-upgradeable 2.5" SATA hard drives.[76]

PlayStation 3 uses the Cell microprocessor, designed by Sony, Toshiba and IBM, as its CPU, which is made up of one 3.2 GHz PowerPC-based "Power Processing Element" (PPE) and eight Synergistic Processing Elements (SPEs).[77] The eighth SPE is disabled to improve chip yields.[78][79] Only six of the seven SPEs are accessible to developers as the seventh SPE is reserved by the console's operating system.[79] Graphics processing is handled by the NVIDIA RSX 'Reality Synthesizer', which can produce resolutions from 480i/576i SD up to 1080p HD.[71] PlayStation 3 has 256 MB of XDR DRAM main memory and 256 MB of GDDR3 video memory for the RSX.[80]

The system has Bluetooth 2.0 (with support for up to 7 bluetooth devices[81]), gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 and HDMI 1.4Template:Refn built in on all currently shipping models. Wi-Fi networking is also built-in on all but the 20 GB models, while a flash card reader (compatible with Memory Stick, SD/MMC and CompactFlash/Microdrive media) is built-in on 60 GB and CECHExx 80 GB models.[71][80]

ModelsEdit

Main article: PlayStation 3 models

PlayStation 3 has been produced in various models: the original, the Slim, and the Super Slim. Successive models have added or removed various features.

Controllers and accessoriesEdit

Main article: PlayStation 3 accessories
File:DualShock3-in-Hand.jpg

Numerous accessories for the console have been developed. These accessories include the wireless Sixaxis and DualShock 3 controllers, the Logitech Driving Force GT, the Logitech Cordless Precision Controller, the BD Remote, the PlayStation Eye camera, and the PlayTV DVB-T tuner/digital video recorder accessory.[82][83]

At Sony's E3 press conference in 2006, the then standard wireless Sixaxis controller was announced. The controller was based on the same basic design as the PlayStation 2's DualShock 2 controller but was wireless, lacked vibration capabilities, had a built-in accelerometer (that could detect motion in three directional and three rotational axes; six in total, hence the name Sixaxis) and had a few cosmetic tweaks.

At its press conference at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show, Sony announced DualShock 3 (trademarked DUALSHOCK 3), a PlayStation 3 controller with the same function and design as Sixaxis, but with vibration capability included.[84] Hands-on accounts describe the controller as being noticeably heavier than the standard Sixaxis controller and capable of vibration forces comparable to DualShock 2.[85] It was released in Japan on November 11, 2007;[86] in North America on April 5, 2008;[87] in Australia on April 24, 2008; in New Zealand on May 9, 2008; in mainland Europe on July 2, 2008,[88] and in the United Kingdom and Ireland on July 4, 2008.

During E3 2009, Sony unveiled plans to release a motion controller later to be named PlayStation Move at GDC 2010. It was released on September 15, 2010, in Europe; September 19, 2010, in North America and October 21, 2010, in Japan.[89]

On October 13, 2010, Sony announced an official surround sound system for PS3 through the official PlayStation YouTube channel.[90]

ReliabilityEdit

File:Yellow Light of Death- PlayStation 3.png

According to Ars Technica, the number of PlayStation 3 consoles that have experienced failure is well within the normal failure rates in the consumer electronics industry;[91] a 2009 study by SquareTrade, a warranty provider, found a two-year failure rate of 10% for PlayStation 3s.[92]

Approximately half a percent of all consoles are subject to a failure that is indicated by the console failing to start up, and displaying a yellow light.[93] In September 2009, BBC's Watchdog television programme aired a report investigating the issue, calling it the "yellow light of death" (YLOD). Among the consoles that experienced the failure, they found that it usually occurred 18–24 months after purchase, while the standard Sony warranty covers one year after purchase. After this time, PlayStation 3 owners can pay Sony a set fee for a refurbished console.[94]

Sony claimed that, according to its statistics of returned consoles approximately only 0.5% of consoles were reported as showing the YLOD.[94] In response to the program Sony issued a document criticizing the program's accuracy and conclusions; specifically that the faults were evidence of a manufacturing defect. The document also complained that the report had been inappropriate in tone, and might do damage to Sony's brand.[93][95]

SoftwareEdit

Template:See also

System softwareEdit

Main article: PlayStation 3 system software

Sony has included the ability for the operating system, referred to as System Software, to be updated.[96] The updates can be acquired in several ways:

  • If PlayStation 3 has an active Internet connection, updates may be downloaded directly from the PlayStation Network to PlayStation 3 and subsequently installed. Systems with active Internet will automatically check online for software updates each time the console is started.
  • Using an external PC, a user may download the update from the official PlayStation website, transfer it to portable storage media and install it on the system.
  • Some game discs come with system software updates on the disc. This may be due to the game requiring the update in order to run. If so, the software may be installed from the disc.[96]

The original PlayStation 3 also included the ability to install other operating systems,[97] such as Linux.[98] This was not included in the newer slim models and was removed from all older PlayStation 3 consoles with the release of firmware update 3.21 in April 2010. The functionality is now only available to users of original consoles who choose not to update their system software beyond version 3.15[99] or who have installed third-party, modified and unofficial versions of the firmware instead [100]

Graphical user interfaceEdit

Main article: XrossMediaBar#PlayStation 3 XMB
File:XMB of PS3.jpg

The standard PlayStation 3 version of the XrossMediaBar (pronounced Cross Media Bar, or abbreviated XMB) includes nine categories of options. These are: Users, Settings, Photo, Music, Video, Game, Network, PlayStation Network and Friends (similar to the PlayStation Portable media bar). A tenth TV category is displayed between Music and Video if PlayTV or torne is installed or if the console meets certain criteria to access select catch-up television services. By default, the What's New section of PlayStation Network is displayed when the system starts up. PS3 includes the ability to store various master and secondary user profiles, manage and explore photos with or without a musical slide show, play music and copy audio CD tracks to an attached data storage device, play movies and video files from the hard disk drive, an optical disc (Blu-ray Disc or DVD-Video) or an optional USB mass storage or Flash card, compatibility for a USB keyboard and mouse and a web browser supporting in/compatible file download function.[101] Additionally, UPnP media will appear in the respective audio/video/photo categories if a compatible media server or DLNA server is detected on the local network. The Friends menu allows mail with emoticon and attached picture features and video chat which requires an optional PlayStation Eye or EyeToy webcam.[102] The Network menu allows online shopping through the PlayStation Store and connectivity to PlayStation Portable via Remote Play.[102]

Digital rights managementEdit

PlayStation 3 console protects certain types of data and uses digital rights management to limit the data's use. Purchased games and content from the PlayStation Network store are governed by PlayStation's Network Digital Rights Management (NDRM). The NDRM allows users to access the data from up to 2 different PlayStation 3's that have been activated using a user's PlayStation Network ID.[103] PlayStation 3 also limits the transfer of copy protected videos downloaded from its store to other machines and states that copy protected video "may not restore correctly" following certain actions after making a backup such as downloading a new copy protected movie.[104]

Photo managementEdit

Photo Gallery
File:PhotoGalleryPS3.png

Photo Gallery is an optional application to view, create and group photos from PS3, which is installed separately from the system software at 105 MB. It was introduced in system software version 2.60 and provides a range of tools for sorting through and displaying the system's pictures. The key feature of this application is that it can organize photos into groups according to various criteria. Notable categorizations are colors, ages, or facial expressions of the people in the photos. Slideshows can be viewed with the application, along with music and playlists. The software was updated with the release of system software version 3.40 allowing users to upload and browse photos on Facebook and Picasa.[105]

PlayMemories Studio

PlayMemories is an optional stereoscopic 3D (and also standard) photo viewing application,[106] which is installed from the PlayStation Store at 956 MB. The application is dedicated specifically to 3D photos and features the ability to zoom into 3D environments and change the angle and perspective of panoramas.[107] It requires system software 3.40 or higher; 3D photos; a 3D HDTV, and an HDMI cable for the 3D images to be viewed properly.

Video servicesEdit

Video editor and uploader

A new application was released as part of system software version 3.40 which allows users to edit videos on PlayStation 3 and upload them to the Internet. The software features basic video editing tools including the ability to cut videos and add music and captions. Videos can then be rendered and uploaded to video sharing websites such as Facebook and YouTube.[105]

Video on demand

In addition to the video service provided by the Sony Entertainment Network the PlayStation 3 console has access to a variety of third party video services, dependent on region:

Since June 2009 VidZone has offered a free music video streaming service in Europe,[108] Australia and New Zealand.[109] In October 2009, Sony Computer Entertainment and Netflix announced that the Netflix streaming service would also be available on PlayStation 3 in the United States. A paid Netflix subscription was required for the service.[110] The service became available in November 2009.[111] Initially users had to use a free Blu-ray disc to access the service; however, in October 2010 the requirement to use a disc to gain access was removed.[112]

In April 2010, support for MLB.tv was added, allowing MLB.tv subscribers to watch regular season games live in HD and access new interactive features designed exclusively for PSN.[113]

In November 2010 access to the video and social networking site MUBI was enabled for European, New Zealand, and Australian users; the service integrates elements of social networking with rental or subscription video streaming, allowing users to watch and discuss films with other users.[114][115] Also in November 2010 the video rental service VUDU,[116] NHL GameCenter Live,[117] and subscription service Hulu Plus launched on PlayStation 3 in the United States.[118]

In August 2011, Sony in partnership with DirecTV added NFL Sunday Ticket.[119] Then in October 2011, Best Buy launched an app for its CinemaNow service.[120] In April 2012, Amazon.com launched an Amazon Instant Video app, accessible to Amazon Prime subscribers (in the US).[121]

Upon reviewing the PlayStation and Netflix collaboration Pocket-Lint said "We've used the Netflix app on Xbox too and, as good as it is, we think the PS3 version might have the edge here." and stated that having Netflix and LoveFilm on PlayStation is "mind-blowingly good."[122]

In July 2013, YuppTV OTT player launched its branded application on the PS3 computer entertainment system in the United States.[123][124]

OtherOS supportEdit

Main article: OtherOS

PlayStation 3 initially shipped with the ability to install an alternative operating system alongside the main system software; Linux and other Unix based operating systems were available. The hardware allowed access to six of the seven Synergistic Processing Elements of the Cell microprocessor, but not the RSX 'Reality Synthesizer' graphics chip.

The 'OtherOS' functionality was not present in the updated PS Slim models, and the feature was subsequently removed from previous versions of the PS3 as part of the machine's firmware update version 3.21 which was released on April 1, 2010;[125] Sony cited security concerns as the rationale. The firmware update 3.21 was mandatory for access to the PlayStation Network.[126] The removal caused some controversy; as the update removed officially advertised features from already sold products, and gave rise to several class action lawsuits aimed at making Sony return the feature or provide compensation.[127][128]

On December 8, 2011, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg dismissed the last remaining count of the class action lawsuit (other claims in the suit had previously been dismissed), stating: "As a legal matter, [..] plaintiffs have failed to allege facts or articulate a theory on which Sony may be held liable."[129]

Leap year bugEdit

On March 1, 2010 (UTC), many of the original (non-Slim) PlayStation 3 models worldwide were experiencing errors related to their internal system clock. The error had a multitude of symptoms. Initially, the main problem seemed to be the inability to connect to the PlayStation Network. However, the root cause of the problem was unrelated to the PlayStation Network, since even users who had never been online also had problems playing installed offline games (which queried the system timer as part of startup) and using system themes. At the same time many users noted that the console's clock had gone back to December 31, 1999. The event was nicknamed the ApocalyPS3, a play on the word apocalypse.[130]

The error code displayed was typically 8001050F and affected users were unable to sign in, play games, use dynamic themes and view/sync trophies.[131] The problem only resided within the 1st through to the 3rd generation original PS3 units while the newer "Slim" models were unaffected because of different internal hardware for the clock.

Sony confirmed that there was an error and stated that they were narrowing down the issue and were continuing to work to restore service.[132] By March 2 (UTC), 2010, owners of original PS3 models could connect to PSN successfully and the clock no longer showed December 31, 1999.[133] Sony stated that the affected models incorrectly identified 2010 as a leap year, because of a bug in the BCD method of storing the date.[134][135] However, for some users, the hardware's operating system clock (mainly updated from the internet and not associated with the internal clock) needed to be updated manually or by re-syncing it via the internet.

On June 29, 2010, Sony released PS3 system software update 3.40, which improved the functionality of the internal clock to properly account for leap years.[136]

FeaturesEdit

PlayStation Portable connectivityEdit

Main article: Remote Play

PlayStation Portable can connect with PlayStation 3 in many ways, including in-game connectivity. For example, Formula One Championship Edition, a racing game, was shown at E3 2006 using a PSP as a real-time rear-view mirror.[137] In addition, users are able to download original PlayStation format games from the PlayStation Store, transfer and play them on PSP as well as PS3 itself.[138][139] It is also possible to use the Remote Play feature to play these and some PlayStation Network games, remotely on PSP over a network or internet connection.

Sony has also demonstrated PSP playing back video content from PlayStation 3 hard disk across an ad hoc wireless network. This feature is referred to as Remote Play located under the browser icon on both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable. Remote play has since expanded to allow remote access to PS3 via PSP from any wireless access point in the world.[140]Template:-

PlayStation NetworkEdit

Main article: PlayStation Network

PlayStation Network is the unified online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service provided by Sony Computer Entertainment for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, announced during the 2006 PlayStation Business Briefing meeting in Tokyo. The service is always connected,[141] free,[142] and includes multiplayer support.[6] The network enables online gaming, the PlayStation Store, PlayStation Home and other services. PlayStation Network uses real currency and PlayStation Network Cards as seen with the PlayStation Store and PlayStation Home.

PlayStation PlusEdit

Main article: PlayStation Plus

PlayStation Plus (commonly abbreviated PS+ and occasionally referred to as PSN Plus) is a premium PlayStation Network subscription service that was officially unveiled at E3 2010 by Jack Tretton, President and CEO of SCEA. Rumors of such service had been in speculation since Kaz Hirai's announcement at TGS 2009 of a possible paid service for PSN but with the current PSN service still available. Launched alongside PS3 firmware 3.40 and PSP firmware 6.30 on June 29, 2010, the paid-for subscription service provides users with enhanced services on the PlayStation Network, on top of the current PSN service which is still available with all of its features. These enhancements include the ability to have demos, game and system software updates download automatically to PlayStation 3. Subscribers also get early or exclusive access to some betas, game demos, premium downloadable content and other PlayStation Store items. North American users also get a free subscription to Qore. Users may choose to purchase either a one-year or a three-month subscription to PlayStation Plus.Template:-

PlayStation StoreEdit

Main article: PlayStation Store

The PlayStation Store is an online virtual market available to users of Sony's PlayStation 3 (PS3) and PlayStation Portable (PSP) game consoles via the PlayStation Network. The Store offers a range of downloadable content both for purchase and available free of charge. Available content includes full games, add-on content, playable demos, themes and game and movie trailers. The service is accessible through an icon on the XMB on PS3 and PSP. The PS3 store can also be accessed on PSP via a Remote Play connection to PS3. The PSP store is also available via the PC application, Media Go. As of September 24, 2009, there have been over 600 million downloads from the PlayStation Store worldwide.[143]

The PlayStation Store is updated with new content each Tuesday in North America, and each Wednesday in PAL regions.[144] In May 2010 this was changed from Thursdays to allow PSP games to be released digitally, closer to the time they are released on UMD.[145]Template:-

What's NewEdit

What's New was announced at Gamescom 2009 and was released on September 1, 2009, with PlayStation 3 system software 3.0.[146] The feature was to replace the existing [Information Board], which displayed news from the PlayStation website associated with the user's region. The concept was developed further into a major PlayStation Network feature, which interacts with the [Status Indicator] to display a ticker of all content, excluding recently played content (currently in North America and Japan only).

The system displays the What's New screen by default instead of the [Games] menu (or [Video] menu, if a movie was inserted) when starting up. What's New has four sections: "Our Pick", "Recently Played", latest information and new content available in PlayStation Store. There are four kinds of content the What's New screen displays and links to, on the sections. "Recently Played" displays the user's recently played games and online services only, whereas, the other sections can contain website links, links to play videos and access to selected sections of the PlayStation Store.

The PlayStation Store icons in the [Game] and [Video] section act similarly to the What's New screen, except that they only display and link to games and videos in the PlayStation Store, respectively.Template:-

PlayStation HomeEdit

Main article: PlayStation Home

PlayStation Home is a virtual 3D social networking service for the PlayStation Network.[147] Home allows users to create a custom avatar, which can be groomed realistically.[148][149] Users can edit and decorate their personal apartments, avatars or club houses with free, premium or won content.[148] Users can shop for new items or win prizes from PS3 games, or Home activities.[149] Users interact and connect with friends and customise content in a virtual world.[150] Home also acts as a meeting place for users that want to play multiplayer games with others.[150]

A closed beta began in Europe from May 2007 and expanded to other territories soon after.[151] Home was delayed and expanded[152] several times before initially releasing.[153][154] The Open Beta test was started on December 11, 2008. Home is available directly from the PlayStation 3 XrossMediaBar. Membership is free and requires a PSN account.[149][150]

Home features places to meet and interact, dedicated game spaces, developer spaces, company spaces and events. The service undergoes a weekly maintenance and frequent updates. As of August 2011, Home has been downloaded by over 23 million users.[155] Template:-

Life with PlayStationEdit

File:LifeWithPlayStation Weather.jpg
Main article: Life with PlayStation

Life with PlayStation, released on September 18, 2008[156] to succeed Folding@home. Life with PlayStation uses virtual globe data to display news and information by city. Along with Folding@home functionality, the application also provides the user with access to three other information "channels", the first of which being the Live Channel which offers news headlines and weather. Information is provided by Google News, The Weather Channel, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Space Science and Engineering Center, among other sources.[157] The second channel is the World Heritage channel which offers historical information about historical sites. The third channel is the United Village channel. United Village is a project designed to share information about communities and cultures worldwide.[158] A recent update has allowed video and photo viewing in the application.[156] The fourth channel is the USA exclusive PlayStation Network Game Trailers Channel for direct streaming of game trailers.

OutageEdit

Main article: PlayStation Network outage

On April 20, 2011, Sony shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity for a prolonged interval, revealing on April 23 that this was due to "an external intrusion on our system". Sony later revealed that the personal information of 77 million users might have been taken, including: names; addresses; countries; email addresses; birthdates; PSN/Qriocity logins, passwords and handles/PSN online IDs.[159] They also stated that it was possible that users' profile data, including purchase history and billing address, and PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained.[159] There was no evidence that any credit card data had been taken, but the possibility could not be ruled out, and Sony advised customers that their credit card data may have been obtained.[159][160] Additionally, the credit card numbers were encrypted and Sony never collected the three digit CVC or CSC number from the back of the credit cards which is required for authenticating some transactions.[161] In response to the incident, Sony announced a "Welcome Back" program, 30 days free membership of PlayStation Plus for all PSN members, two free downloadable PS3 games, and a free one-year enrollment in an identity theft protection program.[162][163]


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