PlayStation fans queued outside outlets including Gamestop and HMV in Dublin last night for the midnight launch of the PlayStation 3 (PS3) console.
Most punters waiting in line had pre-ordered the PS3 despite its price tag of €629.99 with all games having a recommended retail price of €69.99.
In what Sony have called the biggest ever launch of a games product in Ireland, it has been demonstrating the PS3 console’s capabilities at The Hive in Dublin 2 for the past two weeks in the run-up to last night’s launch.
At first glance the sleek, black, glossy chassis indicates the direction Sony are taking with this new offering, and this is further compounded by the minimalist, intuitive user interface.
This product is aiming to straddle the ground between the hardcore gamer and the digital hobbyist looking for a complete media centre.
The dashboard contains one scrolling menu with chunky icons that have a drop-down menu when highlighted. The user is easily alerted to the insertion of any external media like a USB key by an icon that pops up above the scrolling menu.
The PS3 comes standard with a Blu-Ray drive that was demonstrated by showing the difference between a movie on DVD and one on Blu-Ray. On a high-definition TV (HDTV) the variation was very noticeable – background objects stood out more and the lines were sharper and clearer.
All games launched with the console are designed specifically for HDTV and Blu-Ray. As of yet the PS3 is not backwards compatible with older games but Sony said it was working on this.
Of the games launched with the console, Resistance is the front runner and displays the strengths of the 60GB machine and its Blu-ray drive.
The graphics and artificial intelligence make the game immersive as does its key to detail: when I shot at several window panes they cracked in different ways and on returning several minutes later the cracks were just as I left them.
The PS3 holds multiple user profiles with the option of a master user that moderates the machine. It has the standard capabilities of any media centre for displaying photos, playing music and movies and accessing the internet.
By Marie Boran