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PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2: mystery and history

PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2: mystery and history

After an inauspicious debut for the PlayStation 3 at E3 2005, where the system's unsubstantiated "gameplay" footage was largely overlooked in favor of the Xbox 360's playable wares, Sony should be more forthcoming in providing information and demos of the PS3 in action at E3 2006. The company revealed quite a bit of information at a March press event and at the Game Developers Conference a week later: the console will be released in November; it will play Blu-ray movies and region-free games as well as PS2 and PS1 titles, CDs, and DVDs; and it will require an internal hard drive for gameplay. The biggest question mark remaining pertains to the console's pricing. The cheapest stand-alone Blu-ray players available by November will likely sell for $1,000, while the 360--the PS3's direct high-def console competitor--will be $400 at the very least--and primed for a price cut at that point. There will also likely be a bevy of details on the PS3's online gaming service known--internally, at least--as the PlayStation Network Platform. Will Sony try to topple the Xbox Live behemoth, or will it keep the relaxed publisher-dependent online structure of the PS2?

Not many titles have been confirmed as playable for the PS3 at E3, but there are a few major titles being showcased. One confirmed title is WarHawk, an air-combat sequel to one of the first titles released for the PlayStation 1 back in 1995. EA should have a playable demo of Madden 2007--it wouldn't be a console launch without the perennial pigskin title, would it? Killzone 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4 had commanding presences in video form at last year's show; either one would be a huge playable boon for the company, though nothing's set in stone.

As the oldest console on display at E3, you might expect the almost-six-year-old PlayStation 2 to have the weakest lineup on the floor. On the contrary, there should be some highly anticipated titles coming to the elder statesman of current-gen consoles. God of War II looks to be another blockbuster action title, while Guitar Hero II will pile on more tracks and better multiplayer modes.

This year, Sony will lead off the hysteria of E3 week with a Monday afternoon press conference, with the other console bigwigs Nintendo and Microsoft following the next morning. Last year, 360 and "Revolution" revelations overshadowed Sony's lack of information. Hopefully Sony's learned some lessons and comes to E3 2006 with concrete system information and some great playable games.