Sony’s PlayStation 2 was the most successful console of its time, which gave Sony a bit of a chip on its shoulder. Microsoft’s entry to the next gen was preceded by the failed Xbox and Nintendo’s new console was an SD machine, so they hardly had anything to worry about. With brand loyalty and previous gen success under their belts, they could afford to be cocky.
The console was officially announced at E3 2005, the same year that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was actually released. It was to use a new type of technology for its processing, a chip so powerful that the unit wouldn’t even need a dedicated graphics processor. The fabled Cell wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, being quite a tricky thing to program for, so Sony added a very nearly off-the-shelf GPU to the PlayStation 3 late in its development. When it was first shown, it had a new shaped of controller, departing from the much-loved DualShock, but fan response got Sony to change its mind, and we ended up with a rumble-less Six-Axis.
The original version of the console had full backwards compatibility with PlayStation 2 and PlayStation games, but it made the system too expensive, so later units removed hardware compatibility, replacing them with software emulation. Later units still removed PS2 backwards compatibility – and secondary operating system support - altogether.
It also featured a brand-new optical disc, the Blu-Ray , that would enable uncompressed graphics and audio, but being such new tech meant the PS3 had a slow drive, so most of its games needed to be installed.
PlayStation 3 was first released in Japan on November 11, 2006. The initial shipments sold out in Japan and the system seemed to be destined for instant success. But once it hit the rest of the globe, The PlayStation 3 was not as well received as Sony had hoped. It was quite damned expensive, compared to its predecessor.
Even worse - it was expensive when compared to Microsoft’s Xbox, which was cheaper, had a more robust, but paid-for online, service. On top of that, multiplatform games seemed to look and run better on the competition. It really looked like PlayStation was in a spot of bother. But then something changed. Sony released a much cheaper slimmer, PS3. It fixed its online. It focused on exclusive games, and devised the incredible PlayStation Plus service. In the end, the console’s sold around 80 million units to date – around the same as the Xbox, which got a year’s head start.
If there’s one great advantage that the PlayStation 3 had over its Xbox 360 rival, it’s that gamers could get their hands on titles that normally didn’t cross over from the land of the rising sun.
Demon’s Souls was one such game, a blisteringly difficult RPG that built up a solid fan base all around the world, and eventually gave birth to the hit game Dark Souls.
God Of War III
After slaying fans on the PlayStation 2, Kratos jumped onto the PlayStation 3 for a new campaign of carnage that pushed the console to the bleeding edge, as it balanced refined gameplay with visuals of titanic proportions.
Gran Turismo 5
Quite simply, one of the greatest technical racing games ever made, Gran Turismo 5 was a delight for petrol heads, and a gateway for gamers who actually wanted to feel what is was like in the drivers seat of a high performance vehicle.
Years in the making, the wait was worth it to diehard fans, and the game still has plenty of love under the hood.
David Cage may create a game that divides fans, and Heavy Rain was no exception. Still, for those who enjoyed it, Heavy Rain was a tight thriller that brought an unprecedented level of immersion to the PlayStation 3, as well as some believable characters and situations.
Infamous 1 and 2
With sandbox games everywhere thanks to the success of GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption, the Infamous series needed something special to stand apart from all those contenders.
And with fantastic super-powered gameplay, challenging scenarios and a ton of heart in the main storylines it did just that while asking players if they’d be either a hero or a villain that day.
Not every game needs tens of millions of Dollars tucked away inside of it to succeed, something that indie darling Journey proved as it ignored the usual cinematic tropes of gaming for a more introspective title.
At the end of the day, it truly was the journey that was the reward, not the destination.
All games had lead to this, as Killzone 3 had players looking to end the Hellghast menace once and for all. An underrated gem, it was all action all the way, it looked good and it played even better.
And it was one of the finest FPS games to grace the PS3.
The Last of Us
If ever there was a game that could sum up the best of this generation and pull the best technology out of the PS3 to do so, it might be this masterpiece from Naughty Dog. A touching story of humanity at the brink of extinction, The Last of Us has often been called the Citizen Kane of gaming. And that’s a terrible statement.
Because this time, the game is far better than the film.
Little Big Planet
Creation and freedom were two defining characteristics of this console generation, and Little Big Planet catered to that need with plenty of options. Sackboy was charming, his world even more so and the creations that some gamers came up with were mind-bogglingly impressive to say the least.
Another great and under-appreciated shooter game on the PS3, Resistance saw humanity at war with alien aggressors and the odds weren’t pretty.
Each game in the series showed a level of depth and evolution as the years went on, and it’s one of the more fluid gaming experiences out there than can be picked up on the cheap these days.
Name one series that a gamer could not picture not being under the PlayStation brand, and it would have to be Uncharted. The first game in the series did a fine job establishing Nathan Drake and his world, but the sequels took the ball and ran with it all the way to score a superb try.