The PlayStation 3 (officially marketed PLAYSTATION 3, commonly abbreviated PS3) is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. PS3 competes with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game systems.
A major feature that distinguishes the PS3 from its predecessors is its unified online gaming service, the PlayStation Network, which contrasts with Sony’s former policy of relying on game developers for online play. Other major features of the console include its robust multimedia capabilities, connectivity with the PlayStation Portable, and its use of a high-definition optical disc format, Blu-ray Disc, as its primary storage medium. The PS3 was also the first Blu-ray 2.0-compliant Blu-ray player on the market.
The PS3 was first released on November 11, 2006 in Japan,November 17, 2006 in North America, and March 23, 2007 in Europe and Oceania. Two SKUs were available at launch; a basic model with a 20 GB hard disk drive (HDD) and a premium model with a 60 GB HDD and several additional features (The 20 GB model was not released in Europe or Oceania.) Since then, several revisions have been made to the console’s available models and has faced stiff competition from the other seventh generation consoles. As of December 20, 2007, the PS3 is in third place in home console sales for its generation.