Avoid PlayStation 3 problems by learning more about it. The PlayStation 3 Console is Sony's answer to Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii. Released after the other two gaming consoles, Sony's PlayStation 3, or PS3, surpasses the competitors both in terms of computing and graphics power. The PS3 is the third most-popular console behind the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, in the United States, partly due to its higher price and smaller assortment of must-have games. But with an integrated Blu-ray player and a unique online environment called Home, the PS3 is poised to make significant gains in popularity in America.
Blu-ray Games and Movies
One of the key selling points for the PS3 is that it's one of the least-expensive Blu-ray players available, making it a great choice for those who want to test the waters of high-definition movies or those who want their game system and DVD player in a single unit. The PS3 also has games available on Blu-ray discs that support the 1080p resolution found on high-end HDTVs.
Keep in mind, though, that the PS3 is a game console first and you may experience PlayStation 3 problems. You won't get quite the same feature set that you would from a standalone Blu-ray player, the time to load a Blu-ray movie is a little bit longer and you'll need to turn the power off and on again if you want to switch from gaming to watching movies. To get the most from the PS3's Blu-ray player, you'll need an HDTV with HDMI ports, an HDMI cable (available online for as little as $10 plus shipping) and the optional Blu-ray remote from Sony.
PS3 Consoles and Accessories
The PS3 is available in several different hardware configurations. The current "standard" PS3 configuration is the 40GB model, and Sony has released the PS3 in 20GB, 40GB, 60GB and 80GB versions. The PS3 hard drive bay is a standard 2.5" SATA drive bay, so you can upgrade to a bigger hard drive in the future.
If you've got a lot of PlayStation or PlayStation 2 games, there's some bad news: PlayStation 3 problems result because it doesn't offer backward compatibility to the same extent as earlier versions. If you want to play those older games, you'll need to track down one of the discontinued 20GB or older 60GB PS3s that have the Emotion Engine chipset that powered the PS2. Newer models use software for backward compatibility, and the 40GB PS3 doesn't offer any backward compatibility at all. You can find out which of your older games will work on the different systems by visiting Sony at http://www.us.playstation.com/Support/CompatibleStatus.
Beyond the hardware configurations, the PS3 boasts an interesting array of accessories. The PS3 features both the DualShock 3 Wireless Controller and the SIXAXIS Wireless Controller. The lightweight SIXAXIS controller uses motion-sensor technology to add unique game play to some PS3 games. The heavier DualShock 3 controller includes SIXAXIS motion-sensor technology, but also features a rumble pack to add realism to in-game impacts. With the exception of the rumble pack, both controllers look and behave exactly the same.
Sony has also released the PlayStation Eye, a video camera specifically developed for use with the PS3. The PlayStation Eye features super-fast frame rates, video conferencing with up to six people simultaneously and unique noise-sensor technology to reduce background noise and improve voice recognition and speech capabilities.
If you've got Sony's portable PSP system, you'll be able to connect it to the PS3 in a number of ways. In-game connectivity lets you use the PSP in a number of useful and novel ways, such as using a PSP as a real-time rearview mirror in a PS3 racing game. The PSP can also play back video content, including high-definition content stored on the PS3 hard drive, as well as games downloaded from the PS3.
The PlayStation Network
The PS3 features wireless connectivity and a free online network for users. If you've got a wireless router at home, you can connect your PS3 wirelessly right out of the box. You can also connect to your router with an Ethernet cable that you'll need to supply.
Using the online network, PS3 users can play with other people online, browse the Web, send text messages to other users and audio or video chat with friends. The PlayStation network also features a PlayStation store, complete with game downloads, demos, add-ons and videos. While the PlayStation Network doesn't rival Wii Connect for online content, lacking the news, weather forecasts and interactive content that the Wii boasts, the PlayStation Network and wireless connectivity are very useful features, particularly for gamers who enjoy competing online.
The Newest Online Community: Home
Beyond the PlayStation Network, Sony has developed a spectacular new online community: Home. Home takes Wii Miis and connectivity ten steps further, to include sophisticated avatars and user-designed virtual spaces. Home members can meet and chat in Home's common areas, and then invite friends back to private virtual spaces or enter multi-player games together. As Home expands, users are expected to be able to have pets, create more customized virtual spaces and decorate with virtual trophies commemorating their PS3 achievements. Home rivals the PC community Second Life for realism, far surpassing Nintendo Wii's system of cartoon-like Miis and the Mii parade.
As the last next-generation console to enter the market, the some PlayStation 3 problems result in the smaller collection of games available than competing systems, but developers have ramped up production and the release of exclusive titles like Metal Gear Solid 4 and Grand Turismo: Prologue have helped to narrow the gaming gap.
Thanks to its powerful processing and graphics engine, the PS3 easily outperforms the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii in terms of image quality and the number of moving objects that can appear on the screen at the same time. Popular franchises, such as Electronic Arts' Madden 2009, are available on all of the current consoles, but they often look much nicer on a PS3.
Checked out PSN Home on your PlayStation 3? This free feature lets you play mini games and interact with others in a virtual environment.
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