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pathogen

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Sony PlayStation 3
« on: May 14, 2006, 04:23:07 PM »



This November, Sony will release the next PlayStation console to gamers worldwide.  Japan will get the PS3 on 11/11/06 and United States, Europe, and Australia will get their collective hands on the PS3 a week later.  At E3 this year, Sony announced that, much like the Xbox 360, the PS3 will be released in two versions.  The premium package will retail for $599 USD and the striped down version will sell for $100 less.  The difference between the two units is 40GB of hard drive space and the cheaper model will not support 802.11b/g, lacks a memory card reader, and, most alarmingly, will not have any type of digital output (HDMI).  While the stripped down PS3 will obviously be kinder to the wallets of gamers around the world, it flies directly in the face of Sony’s earlier claims that the PS3 will be the future proof  hub of your digital entertainment center.  Granted, the $599 model will have plenty of inputs and options to satisfy most of your digital AV needs, but a lack of HDMI support for the $499 model is disturbing to a lot of gamers looking forward to the HDTV gaming revolution (and yeah, component cables can get you your HDTV fix, but if you’ve spent a lot of $$$ on a nice big HDTV, you want a digital output, not component cables).   It’s also worth noting that Sony has even stripped down the $599 model from previous spec sheets.  The $599  model will now have one HDMI slot and not two, four USB ports and not six, and only one Ethernet port, instead of the previously announced three.  

Ahh, but I’m not here to Sony bash… no, really. I just like to stick to it Sony whenever possible because they always make big claims about their upcoming hardware products to keep people from buying anything from the competition and then strip those specs down right before launch time.  You would think more folks would have figured that out by now and wait for the final word on specs before trusting what Sony initially says.  

ANYWAY, now that I’ve said my peace, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of what could be the biggest and baddest home console to ever hit the market.  The specs on the PS3’s Cell processor are impressive, as are the specs for the graphics chip that will make all of that high definition digital eye candy come to life.  The big question is, how many developers will be able to tap into the Cell’s potential and how long will that take?  Only time will tell, but don’t expect the see what the PS3 is truly capable of for a few years.  Same goes for any new console, though.  The current Xbox 360 games are not yet flexing the raw muscle of that machine and probably won’t until late this year or early 2007.  Ok, enough of this banter, on with the numbers…

(There are the official specs released by Sony last year.  I have mentioned a few changes to these specs above.)

CPU
Cell Processor
PowerPC-base Core @3.2GHz
1 VMX vector unit per core
512KB L2 cache
7 x SPE @3.2GHz
7 x 128b 128 SIMD GPRs
7 x 256KB SRAM for SPE
* 1 of 8 SPEs reserved for redundancy
total floating point performance: 218 GFLOPS

GPU
RSX @550MHz
1.8 TFLOPS floating point performance
Full HD (up to 1080p) x 2 channels
Multi-way programmable parallel floating point shader pipelines

Sound
Dolby 5.1ch, DTS, LPCM, etc. (Cell- base processing)
Memory
256MB XDR Main RAM @3.2GHz 256MB GDDR3 VRAM @700MHz

System Bandwidth
Main RAM 25.6GB/s
VRAM 22.4GB/s
RSX 20GB/s (write) + 15GB/s (read)
SB< 2.5GB/s (write) + 2.5GB/s (read)

System Floating Point Performance
2 TFLOPS

Storage
Detachable 2.5" HDD slot x 1

I/O
USB Front x 4, Rear x 2 (USB2.0)
Memory Stick standard/Duo, PRO x 1
SD standard/mini x 1
CompactFlash (Type I, II) x 1

Communication
Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T) x 3 (input x 1 + output x 2)
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g
Bluetooth 2.0 (EDR)

Controller
Bluetooth (up to 7)
USB 2.0 (wired)
Wi-Fi (PSP)
Network (over IP)

AV Output
Screen size: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
HDMI: HDMI out x 2
Analog: AV MULTI OUT x 1
Digital audio: DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL) x 1

Disc Media
CD PlayStation CD-ROM, PlayStation 2 CD-ROM, CD-DA, CD-DA (ROM), CD-R, CD-RW, SACD, SACD Hybrid (CD layer), SACD HD, DualDisc, DualDisc (audio side), DualDisc (DVD side)
DVD: PlayStation 2 DVD-ROM, PlayStation 3 DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW
Blu-ray Disc: PlayStation 3 BD-ROM, BD-Video, BD-ROM, BD-R, BD-RE

What the hell does all of that mean?  It means that the PS3 is capable of raw processing power that no one has ever seen in a home console before. According to those specs, the PS3 can process twice the amount of data than the Xbox 360 and the nVidia graphics chip can outperform two current $500 nVidia PC graphics cards.  Sony can pull this off because they have already spent a fortune helping to make the Cell processor and, since they will be shipping out 10’s of millions of PS3’s over however many years to come, they can get a cheap price on the nVidia chip due to massive bulk sales.  If you tried to build a PC that was capable of what the PS3 and Xbox 360 can turn out, you would be easily be spending thousands upon thousands of dollars.  However, to be fair, you can do much more with a PC and consoles only have to concentrate on playing games and not home computing functions.  



Here’s a helpful Blu-ray FAQ.

So, Sony is pushing the Blu-ray player on the PS3 because that’s the format they ran with over HD-DVD.  Both formats will play high definition DVD’s, but the entertainment industry was split about which format to use.  Microsoft stuck with the current DVD technology for X360 games and they will be offering an HD-DVD peripheral device later this year.  Sony went with Blu-ray to for their Sony Pictures high-def DVD’s and for the PS3’s main storage medium.  The advantage of Blu-ray over DVD is that Blu-ray can hold a hell of a lot more data (and high definition gaming and movies take up a lot of space).  Will game developers ever be able to use up all of the space on a Blu-ray disc?  Not likely, it would take way too much time and $$$ to code that much game. However, it’s very possible that X360 games will have to eventually come out on more than one DVD (MS has said that their HD-DVD player for the X360 will only play movies, not games).  We’ll have to wait and see, but anyone who has played a Nintendo GameCube game on two discs can tell you that it’s not really a big deal.  You only have to switch discs ½ through the game, so that can be after 10-20 hours of gameplay.

More info on the Cell processor.

Here’s a close look at PS3 hardware from GameSpot.



The final PS3 controller.

The biggest change for the controller is that vibration is gone (probably due to a lawsuit from the company claiming to own the rights to the technology that Sony and MS used for the vibrating function in their controllers- MS settled out of court) and that the PS3 controller will have a motion sensor, much like the Wii controller.  Everybody rips off everybody else, so why the hell not, yeah?  Indeed. I thought this quote from the NY Times E3 blog was interesting:

“In introducing the controller, Phil Harrison, head of Sony’s global game studios, seemed to indicate that they have had workable versions of the system for only a few weeks. If that is the case, then it seems extremely unlikely that the gyroscopic function was part of the original design for the PS3. Rather, it seems much more likely that Sony got nervous after seeing the Nintendo demonstrations at the Tokyo Game Show last year and rushed to add a plausibly similar feature to its own system.

Nintendo has clearly designed the entire Wii around the gyroscopic controller. The big question now is whether Sony can be similarly creative or whether this is just a tacked-on feature that will get little support. One way to judge will be to see whether Warhawk remains the only PS3 game on the show floor to take advantage of the controller. Just as important will be seeing how many of the games available at the PS3’s launch in November take advantage of it.”

That’s all I have for the system itself right now.  I’ll link more as I find it.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 03:22:06 AM by pathogen »
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Dan

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Sony PlayStation 3
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2006, 05:50:53 PM »

Bill Simmons wrote:
Quote
• Random note: I weaseled my way into an advance launch of the PlayStation 3 in Beverly Hills Tuesday. It doesn't come out until Nov. 17. With that said, trust me on the following three words: buy Sony stock. As they were giving me the virtual tour, I kept laughing and making orgasmic noises, kinda like the way Tommy Heinsohn sounds when Rajon Rondo makes one of his three spectacular plays per game for the Celtics. I thought they were going to throw me out at one point. Also, they list the price in the $500-700 range (depending on what features you get, including stuff like "wireless controllers") but that does NOT include the retainer for the divorce attorney. Which I'm going to need if I get this thing. Good God. The glory days of Intellivision football seem like they happened about 2,500 years ago.
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pathogen

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Sony PlayStation 3
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2006, 11:18:12 PM »

Sony Q2 profits plummet 94 percent

PS3 delay, battery recall gut-punch electronics-maker's quarterly profits; game division 43.5 billion yen in the red.

Two weeks after Sony revised its annual profit forecast, the company has reported its income for the quarter ending on September 30, 2006. And, as analysts predicted, the three-month period was not kind to the electronics giant.

Sony's net quarterly profit plunged to just 1.7 billion yen ($14.36 million) for the fiscal second quarter from 28.5 billion yen ($240.8 million) a year earlier. However, overall revenue for the quarter rose 8 percent to 1.85 trillion yen ($15.6 billion) from 1.7 trillion yen ($14.4 billion) a year earlier.

How could Sony's income rise and profits fall at the same time? One major factor was its recall of 9.6 million laptop batteries, which cost the company 51 billion yen ($429 million). Another was its game division, Sony Computer Entertainment, which reported a 43.5 billion yen ($367.5 million) operating loss for the quarter. The shortfall was blamed on declining international sales of the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable during the quarter and sliding PS2 game revenue. During the quarter, the company produced 5.02 million PS2s (an increase of 0.01 million units over July-September 2005) and 3.89 million PSPs (an increase of 0.14 million units over July-September 2005).

Sony also said its profit "deterioration was due to recording of charges associated with preparation of launch of the PlayStation 3 platform and the continued high research and development costs associated with the PS3." The next-gen console is set to launch in Japan and North America next month and in Europe in March 2007, but will be available in much lower quantities than Sony originally envisioned.

Sony now predicts an 80 billion yen ($674 million) net profit for the full fiscal year. That figure is 38 percent below the 130 billion yen ($1.1 billion) net profit it had forecast in July. It expects overall annual revenue to rise 10 percent to 8.23 trillion yen ($69.5 billion).
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Juliana

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Sony PlayStation 3
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2006, 12:17:07 AM »

I read on yahoo last week that Sony was pushing the release of the Blu-Ray back to December.  Does this not affect the PS3?
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Dan

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"Sony needs PlayStation 3 to save the company"
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2006, 09:51:23 AM »

Link



PlayStation 3 on Rescue Mission

By MARTIN FACKLER
Published: November 11, 2006

TOKYO, Nov. 10 — Even before PlayStation 3, Sony’s long-delayed new game console, goes on sale in Japan Saturday morning, it has already sold out — in Japanese cyberspace.


Across Tokyo, lines of young men were staying up overnight to be among the first to buy a console, but the frenzy began even before that. In October, the Japanese site of Amazon.com received advance orders for its entire first lot of game consoles in 18 minutes.

Another shopping site, Tsutaya Online, sold out preorders for all its machines in just six minutes. The scarcity has created frantic buying on online auction sites, where the right to buy a PlayStation 3 has fetched up to 130,000 yen ($1,100), about twice the machine’s expected retail price.

This appears to be welcome news for Sony, the ailing Japanese electronics giant. But it may not be enough as Sony struggles to recover from a costly recall of laptop batteries and a 94 percent plunge in profits in the most recent quarter. To reverse its current decline, and regain its title as a global innovator, Sony badly needs for PlayStation 3 to be a long-term hit — and preferably a global blockbuster like the Walkman.

Indeed, analysts say, Sony cannot afford for PlayStation 3 to be anything less than a smashing success. Sony’s chief executive, Howard Stringer, has proclaimed that Sony’s future depends on creating “champion products,” the pathbreaking hits that earn high profits and keep the company ahead of cheaper Chinese and South Korean rivals. Even in consoles, a category it has long dominated, Sony is already a year behind the Xbox 360 from Microsoft. It will compete head-to-head with Nintendo’s Wii, which will be introduced this month.

But analysts say PlayStation 3 is the only product currently visible in Sony’s development pipeline with real “champion” potential.

“Sony needs PlayStation 3 to save the company,” said Masashi Morita, a game and Internet industry analyst at Okasan Securities in Tokyo. “A lot depends on this one product.”

But before it can rescue Sony, PlayStation has to recoup its own development costs. The games division lost $369 million in the most recent quarter, which ended in September, because of the new console’s development costs and marketing preparations, the company said.

Sony will not disclose the total cost of creating the PlayStation 3, which has been in development for six years. But analysts say the sum reaches into the billions of dollars. Sony has revealed that it spent $2 billion on one major component alone, the high-speed Cell microprocessor, co-developed with I.B.M. and Toshiba.

With such vast investments, analysts estimate Sony will have to sell 30 million to 50 million units just to break even. To be the sort of mega-hit that Sony needs, analysts say the new game console will at the minimum have to outdo its predecessor, PlayStation 2, which has sold 106 million units since 2000.

The PlayStation 2 franchise is so well established that in September the Sony console (now heavily discounted) outsold the newer Xbox 360 in the United States, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm in Port Washington, N.Y. An important psychological milestone will be met if Sony can fulfill its original target of selling six million consoles worldwide by the end of March. Production delays may prevent Sony from even producing that many consoles by then.

Those problems delayed the PlayStation introduction for several months in Japan and the United States, shrinking production to about two million units by the end of this year. The introduction in Europe has been delayed until mid-March.

Sony is also counting on PlayStation 3 to promote other technologies that it has developed, the Blu-ray next-generation DVD drive as well as the Cell chip. These technologies give the new PlayStation more processing power and sharper graphics than rivals, but also makes it expensive: a model with a 60-gigabyte hard drive will list at $599 in the United States, and one with a 20-gigabyte drive will be $499.

That is about twice the price of its biggest competitor in Japan, Nintendo’s Wii game console, which will cost $249.99 and is scheduled to come out on Nov. 19 in the United States and Dec. 2 in Japan.

And even at those prices, most analysts say, Sony will be selling below production costs, and possibly losing hundreds of dollars a machine.

Another challenge is that while PlayStation 3 should have no problem attracting game enthusiasts, mostly males in their 20s and 30s, it may prove too complex and expensive for other buyers. Analysts warn that Sony could lose huge swaths of potential users, like women and teenagers, to cheaper, simpler rivals like Wii or Xbox 360.

Only 100,000 PlayStation 3 consoles will be available on Day 1 in Japan, the company said. About 400,000 consoles will be available for sale on Nov. 17 in the United States, where the 20-gigabyte model will be priced at $499 (compared with $399 for an Xbox 360 with comparable capacity).

While this shortage has helped make the console a hot commodity on the Internet, analysts warn that it has also discouraged some software makers from developing games for fear the market may be too small. Sony says it will have only 21 software titles available for PlayStation 3 in the United States by year’s end. Nintendo says it will have 62 titles for Wii available, while Microsoft says there will be 160 titles for the Xbox 360 by the end of this year.

“It’s crucial to build up momentum for new products in the early days,” said Masayuki Otani, deputy chief of research at Maruwa Securities in Tokyo. “PlayStation needs a broader range of software to appeal to a broader range of users.”

Even with so much at stake, Sony’s chief executive, Mr. Stringer, appears to have taken a hands-off approach, at least in public. Indeed, he was traveling in Beijing recently, serving as host at events and meeting a member of China’s ruling politburo.

He has left PlayStation 3, and by extension possibly the fate of his company, in the hands of Ken Kutaragi, president of Sony’s video game division. The father of the PlayStation line of game consoles, one of the few genuine hits to come out of Sony in recent years, Mr. Kutaragi has spent much of the last half- decade developing the newest PlayStation.

When pressed, Mr. Kutaragi acknowledges that the machine is “not cheap.” But he says he has followed the right strategy in favoring powerful new technology over cheaper alternatives. He pointed out that PlayStation 2 was also expensive at first, but its price eventually dropped by half as increasing sales drove down production costs. He also said the thrill of the newer PlayStation’s graphics and complex games will draw users despite the price tag.

“Success doesn’t depend on whether PlayStation is expensive or not,” Mr. Kutaragi said during a roundtable discussion with reporters in September, “but rather on whether the games are interesting.”

Large electronic stores in Tokyo girded for the introduction by deploying security guards and traffic cones to direct the lines of buyers, who began gathering Friday evening.

In Akihabara, Tokyo’s neon-drenched electronics district, Kazunari Yasuda, a manager at Yodobashi Camera, said his store was bringing in some 200 extra employees and guards to handle the buyers.

“PlayStation 3 is the biggest product launch of the year,” he said.

One of those in line was Takahiro Watabe, a 23-year-old university student who stood with four classmates, each holding a bag of fast-food hamburgers to eat while waiting.

“This is like a festival,” said Mr. Watabe, as he looked at the line of about 100 buyers as long as an entire city block. “PlayStation means something to us.”

“I don’t think the new PlayStation is too expensive,” he added. “If you consider it has a Blu-Ray drive, you can use it as a DVD player as well as a game machine.”

Yoshiaki Tajima, a 32-year-old manga comic illustrator, said it was “a question of whether the performance is worth the price.” He was at a different store earlier in the week to look at a wall-size display with television screens promoting PlayStation 3. “These graphics really are amazing,” he concluded, after pausing. “Yes, I have to say it looks like it’s worth the price.”

Another shopper, though, was less enthusiastic. Natsuki Inoue, 27, said she thought only young male game fanatics would go for the new PlayStation.

“This is a toy for men,” she said, as a screen flashed an image of a woman in an iron bikini cleaving a dragon’s head. “It’s hard to imagine women or children wanting this. It’s just too much.”
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pathogen

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Sony PlayStation 3
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2006, 05:52:28 PM »

gamespot and IGN (among others, i'm guessing) have reviews up of some of the PS3 launch titles.  not so good.  but those are launch titles.  the 360 had an impressive line up of games at launch, but ppl still complained that there were no "system sellers".  well, MS and Sony really want a much larger customer base before dropping huge games like Gears of War or Metal Gear Solid 4 (exceptions are when console makers need to really get everyone's attention- like with Halo on the Xbox and the new Zelda for the Wii launch).  

regardless of whether blu-ray will take off, Sony is betting way too much on the PS3 (and if blu-ray tanks, so does Sony).  oh well, i'll be picking up a PS3 next year when the blockbusters come out.  hopefully, i can snag a used one at a local gamestop or eb.  $600 is way too much to pay just to play a few games (that are not on the 360 or PC).
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Hell Toupee

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Sony PlayStation 3
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2006, 09:17:56 PM »

Also, any game that uses a special controller on the PS2 is probably not going to work on PS3, even with a converter.

IGN tested out games like Guitar Hero, DDR, Taiko Drum Master, etc., all of which uses special controls for the game, and most of them don't work. The game will run, if it supported standard controllers, but otherwise it's mostly SOL.

I'm definitely waiting with this one.
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Cockney Rebel

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Sony PlayStation 3
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2006, 10:46:24 PM »

OK, is now a good time to buy a Playstation 2?

MK & I have never owned a video game machine. (Sad perhaps, but true)

Hell Toupee... your advice! Or anyone else's.
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rva

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Sony PlayStation 3
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2006, 01:15:39 AM »

Yeah, it's a good time.  They're dirt cheap and there's plenty of games for it.  If you're not a hardcore gamer that has already played all the existing games, you can get several years of enjoyment out of it.
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Juliana

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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2006, 08:24:49 AM »

They're still more expensive than a Gamecube though, for the record.  Not sure how much the regular Xboxes are.  I'd look at what games each has available (look on amazon or half), and see which has the most that interest you.

I'd also keep in mind that Gamecube games will pretty well stop coming down the pipeline soon.  Xbox is still having regular Xbox games come out, and Playstation probably will for awhile too.
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Butter

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Sony PlayStation 3
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2006, 08:41:47 AM »

Japan tends to be a bit more gadget crazy than we are, so I can't say I'm surprised it's selling like hotcakes there... however, the US market is going to be a tougher nut to crack for a $500+ system.  It will be interesting to see how it goes.
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Cockney Rebel

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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2006, 09:16:33 AM »

Quote from: "rva"
If you're not a hardcore gamer that has already played all the existing games, you can get several years of enjoyment out of it.


I have used a baseball bat to repeatedly beat up innocent civilians (I imagined they were INS agents) in "Grand Theft Auto", crashed a couple of sports cars in some racing game, got to level 2 in "The Italian Job" and MK once let a miserable teenager in an early version of Sim City die a horrible death.

I've never once shot 'em up, burned 'em down, shagged 'em dry, lined 'em up against the wall, played with their roles or jumped over a doughnut.

I figured for $120 new a PS2 might give us a bit of fun? Plus, randomville members could maybe loan us games we can not get the hang of, adding to the humour factor.

I wonder if someone 'my age' getting a play system would make for a Randomville column/comment of some kind?
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Bronzetree

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Sony PlayStation 3
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2006, 09:57:15 AM »

Yeah, the PS2 is super cheap right now, and there are still a TON of games you can pick up. I don't see that slowing down for some time. I just picked up Guitar Hero II, which is GREAT fun.
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Hell Toupee

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Sony PlayStation 3
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2006, 04:29:01 PM »

First off, ask yourself this...

"How much will I play it?"

It might not be worth the investment if you're out all the time. But if you just want something to do when you can't sleep, then it's ok, but I'd pick up a used one from a local gaming store (preferably a slimline version that's more recent, if the store has one). Also, get the controllers and memory card used as well, and fore-go the added warranty they try to sell you.

What is it that you want to play, CR? That might help as well in determinating if it's a worthy purchase.
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Juliana

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Sony PlayStation 3
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2006, 08:33:49 AM »

The console won't play all the older games, as promised

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061115/ap_on_hi_te/japan_playstation
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