The first two generations of PlayStation consoles were extremely well received among gamers. The original PlayStation broke Nintendo’s dominance in the 1990s, while the PlayStation 2 became the most successful home console in history earlier this century.
Expectations from the PlayStation 3 were therefore huge when the console was announced in 2005. But a series of moves by Sony for the console means that the PlayStation brand has dropped in popularity since 2006, finding itself behind the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 consoles.
Several factors contributed to the negative reception of the PlayStation 3 console. Sony opted for a hardware-advanced approach, so they developed a powerful Cell processor for the console and used a Blu-ray Disc reader.
That combination was expensive, so the price of the console was higher than what the competition offered, or better said - higher than Sony had ever asked for a single console. The cheaper 20GB drive model cost $ 499 and the 60GB model cost $ 599.
Interest in the console was initially high. The PlayStation 3 was first
launched in Japan and the United States in late 2006. Several thefts and
robberies related to Sony's console were recorded at the launch.
But by the time the PlayStation 3 hit Europe and the rest of the world in the spring of 2007, the Xbox 360 was already in full swing, gaining games that were late on the PS3. Games like BioShock and Mass Effect were not initially available for the PlayStation 3, and while the Xbox 360 had great exclusives like Halo 3, Forza Motorsport 2, and Crackdown, Sony offered less successful games like MotorStorm, Warhawk, and Heavenly Sword.
There were other objections to the console. For example, in the first version of the console, the standard controller was a wireless Sixaxis that did not have vibration functionality, while the accelerometer controls were totally meaningless and most often unusable.
Installations of games on the console used to take a long time - even hours. Programming games for the Sony console was more complicated, so players on the PlayStation 3 usually got versions of games with more technical difficulties or poorer performance.
Still, some things went in favor of the PlayStation 3. Sony, unlike Microsoft,
didn’t charge for playing online multiplayer, and the console, despite
its peppery price, ended up being one of the most cost-effective devices for
playing movies on Blu-ray media. Since 2008, the situation with exclusives has
started to improve, and the console received games such as Metal Gear Solid 4,
InFamous, Demon's Souls, LittleBigPlanet, etc. technically the most advanced
games of its generation, including Uncharted 2, God of War 3 and The Last of
Price reductions and the introduction of the 2009 Slim model helped to improve the console's image. Although this model lost support for playing PS1 and PS2 games, it was well-received due to lower power consumption and quieter operation. In 2012, another model followed, called Super Slim, which came in several versions with different disk capacities - up to 12 GB to 500 GB.
The PlayStation 3 had support for anything and everything. It was initially
possible to install the Linux operating system on it, later came applications
for Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, etc. The console also had support for
stereoscopic 3D and was also used for research and advanced computing.
The console was hit by two major disasters. The original fashion was first hit by a leap year bug, and in 2010 users were unable to connect to the PlayStation Network. A more serious problem was related to the hacker attack on the PlayStation Network in 2011 when the PlayStation 3 console could not be played online for more than a month. Sony subsequently apologized to customers for gifts in the form of free games.
The console significantly accelerated sales in later years, eventually surpassing the Xbox 360 with more than 87.4 million units sold. Production of the consoles was discontinued at the end of 2016 for Europe, and shortly afterward in Japan. The last game produced for the PS3 was FIFA 19.
Today, PlayStation 3 games are still sold digitally on the PlayStation Store, but that could end soon. Many of the exclusive games for the PS3 were later transferred to the PS4 and PC, and those that are not can be played on these devices by streaming through PlayStation Now.