PS3 production is ending in Japan as we speak, and likely the rest of the world soon after. Sure, it had some problems over the years, costing way too much at launch, while the Cell chip caused trouble as developers got to grips with it.
I think you'll all agree it evened out in the end eventually. However, what did Sony think of their then new baby in the months leading up to launch? Let's delve back into a 2006 Official PlayStation Magazine interview with then head of Worldwide Studios, Phil Harrison, to find out.
What were going to be the PS3's 'system sellers?'
"It’s not about having a single title like a Mario or a Sonic on which you rest the entire platform personality on. It’s about having a wide catalogue that satisfies a number of different consumer tastes and styles. If you’re a sports fan in America, NBA and NFL available from day one means you will buy a PS3. If you are a first- person shooter fan it’s going to be Resistance: Fall Of Man. If you are more of a cerebral player it might be Untold Legends, or it might be Motorstorm if you’re more of an action and exhilaration fan. I think there’s something for everybody in there. The games are outstanding quality and I think will satisfy."
How will the PlayStation Network be used?
"Checking in with my clan to see what the plan is for tonight’s SOCOM or Resistance games. Searching out the latest trailers, downloadable demos, skins for my desktop. Downloading a new album, watching stuff on YouTube that my friends have emailed me about... You only have to look at the Cross Media Bar to see how everything is going to fit into a Network environment. Obviously you’ve got your friend lists, the ability to chat directly with them, you’ve got your internet browser and the Store with downloadable games."
How will downloadable content change things?
"It’s a fantastic opportunity to continue to satisfy the demands of gamers, and having the community functionality embedded into the console means that on a Monday I can launch a new level, on Tuesday I can see what people are saying about it, on a Wednesday I can respond to that feedback and on a Friday I can put into QA [Quality Assurance] a revised version of the next episode for delivery on a Monday. [At this point Phil has an idea for a Christmas-themed Motorstorm bonus called Snowstorm, and rushes off to write it down.]"
How far could user generated content go?
"Well, I have to be really careful not to give the game away because we’re keeping this secret, but don’t think about it in terms of maps, think of it in terms of behaviours, environments, physics, rules... all the tools that you could want, but in a very consumer friendly way."
Could gamers one day [gasp] record gameplay and share it online?
"[Laughs] We’re actually already working on it now. There are two ways to do it. One is as pure video actually saved direct from the gameplay experience, but that creates quite a large data cloud. The more efficient way of doing it is to record game input and then share that to each user. We are doing that in a very innovative way on a game that we haven’t shown anybody yet."
How will SixAxis motion control change things?
"There’s a couple. The fake on NBA; if you want to fake past a player you just tilt left or right, that’s really intuitive. Flow [the game] is very intuitive, once you understand the control mechanism, which takes about three seconds. F1’s steering, looking around in Resistance... We need to get to thinking about the experience of a game and not the interface. I think that we’ll see the e-Distribution games making some really innovative uses of it."
On Rumble defintely being gone forever (after losing a lawsuit with feedback developer Immersion)
"I’ve been very consistent on this. The rumble feature was a great, impactful way of the machine talking to the user on PS2. But you had no influence on it; you just received a single channel of feedback from the game. Sixaxis gives you greater influence over the game environment, enabling you to do things you could never do with buttons and sticks alone. That will yield way more sophisticated gameplay benefits and therefore more value to the player than a vibrating pad could ever do. Saying that, I don’t believe we’ve got definitive examples of how great it could be yet, but we’re close."
And, here's a bonus answer from an Edge 2006 interview on how MySpace helped shape the PlayStation Network
"I was talking about the communication being the enabling factor around the community, and that [it] could sit inside the game environment but could as easily sit outside the game environment. And that’s why friends lists become so important, because I only want to videochat with people I know and trust – my friends, my workmates, my family – and that’s why I would point to something like MySpace as being a very important influence. That’s what we’re trying to show with SingStar. When one of the development team on SingStar Googled for SingStar images, looking for a screenshot, and actually found thousands of MySpace sites of people putting up pictures of their own SingStar parties, and that was the ‘Bing!’ – the lightbulb that went on, that people are already doing this in an improvised way and this was a way that we could bring it all back into an integrated process."
If you're not ready to let the PS3 go just yet then here are the best PS3 games ever, or why not reminisce with 10 problems anyone who owned a PS3 will understand.