PS3 Launches

At midnight last night, the very first PlayStation 3s were sold. To herald the even, there were huge launch parties in New York and San Francisco. A few of us journalist types were brought up to check it all out.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m gamer. Always have been. But not once have I even considered sleeping outside a store so I can be the first one to have a game. Maybe it’s because I’m not a console gamer. Maybe it’s because I’ve always had a job. But there in the chilly and damp streets of San Francisco where over 500 people who had been there for days. Fascinating.

Before the festivities, I had a chance to ask a few questions and play with the PS3 for a bit (Check out Peter Suciu’s more in-depth first look here). As we’ve discussed before, a game has to be written to take advantage of the 1080p output. According to the Sony rep I was talking to, it is a legitimate 1080p/60, not upconverted to that resolution. In checking out the games they had on hand to sell, about a third were 1080p, the rest were 720p or 1080i.

The controller looks identical to the PS2 controller, but is lighter, wireless, and has motion sensors like Nintendo’s Wii.

Ironically, they were showing the PS3 on an older Sony SXRD RPTV, so they could only feed it 1080i.

One feature they demoed for us was the Playstation Store, which gives you access to demos and games that can be downloaded to the PS3’s hard drive. They were really excited about this, but in my mind it brought up the question I always ask at this point: How is this better than a computer? Well I have a partial answer. If you wanted to build a computer that will give you BD playback and 1920x1080p/60 resolution and framerate, you’d have to spend a lot more than $600. Rumor is, Sony is spending more than that to make each PS3 .

At 8:00 a truck arrived to drop off the PS3s. It was accompanied by police and black suited “G-Men”. Lights, sirens, and cheering, oh my. You’d think I’d be the demographic that would get a kick out of all this, but apparently I’m just a jaded journalist. I wonder if the people in line (most of whom couldn’t see all this), thought it exciting, or were at the “lets get this over with” stage. An hour later the band Angels and Airwaves played. Apparently it was started by one of the guys from blink-182 after they broke up. They broke up? And I was such a fan. I had all their albums (no, really).

So at midnight they let in the horde to much media hoopla. The tired person you see on the lower left in this picture is the first person on the west coast (as far as the media was concerned) to purchase a PlayStation 3. I was going to ask him how long he had been waiting in line and if thought it was worth it, but I really didn’t want to know.

OT: UAV Tech Ed. Shane Buettner and I ate at a restaurant on Third Street called Bong Su. They call it contemporary Vietnamese cuisine, and everything about the place was fantastic. Best meal I’ve had in long time.

John Pritchard's picture

Has anyone seen a production PS3 playing a production BluRay disk useing HDMI? How does it look? Any chance the next HT will have a full review?

Geoffrey Morrison's picture

They showed us a BD movie, but it was hard to judge quality on a poorly set up, 2-year-old display. That, and BD isn't exactly known for it's stunning picture quality (so far). We'll have a PS3 in the lab soon and I'll let you know how it looks compared to the Samsung.

Snidley Whiplash's picture

OT. Regarding Bong Su.Is it BYOBong?

Geoffrey Morrison's picture

Bong Su Restaurant & Lounge 311 Third StSan Francisco, CA 94107

Matt's picture

I don't want to be labeled a Nintendo fanboy here or anything, but... the PS3's controller doesn't really have motion sensors "like Nintendo's Wii."The Wii's can detect where the controller is pointed on the screen with the infrared sensors in the controller, the PS3's cannot.Both the Wii's "wiimote" and nunchuck controllers have tilt sensing and accelerometers to not only detect the orientation of the controllers, but the speed and direction of movement as well. The PS3's controller has only tilt sensitivity.About the only thing you can do with the tilt sensitivity is tilt a plane in warhawk, something you could do with a 3rd party controller on the PS1 in the 90s.Sony introduced the tilt sensitivity to steal Nintendo's thunder, which for the most part hasn't worked. However, every article comparing their imitation to Nintendo's gives Sony unearned credibility.