Discover the amazing innovations introduced by PlayStation 3 since it exploded onto the video game scene in March 2007.
PlayStation 3 changed the landscape of home entertainment forever when it launched in Europe in 2007. Arriving with a polished black exterior and packing more processing power than any other games system available, PS3 quickly became a firm favourite with fans, breaking new ground with innovative entertainment for all. So, get the party poppers ready and make sure you get a slice of birthday cake as we take a look at what the stunning system has brought into your homes since its arrival five years ago. Happy birthday, PlayStation 3.
Games - Playtime
"To work on a game like Flower, created by an indie developer and to have it critically acclaimed and win a BAFTA, is definitely a highlight for me." - Gavin Russell, producer (Flower, Journey)
When it comes to games, PlayStation 3 brings a variety of fresh experiences that have to be played to be believed. Innovation is present in many shapes - from the unique gameplay of titles such as Journey, to the creativity and freedom offered by games such as LittleBigPlanet. Naughty Dog's Uncharted series has raised the bar for storytelling in video games, while Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain pushed the boundaries of emotional content in the medium by using virtual actors - something the developer is set to do again after unveiling the technology it will use for its next title via the stunning demo, KARA.
It's not just about the big budget titles, either, as smaller, independent game developers have thrived on PS3. The power of the system, coupled with opportunities afforded by PlayStation Network means titles such as PixelJunk Monsters from Q-Games and Eufloria by Omni Systems Limited blossom thanks to a large and appreciative audience.
Motion control gaming has gained a boost too, with the PlayStation Move motion controller arriving in 2010, featuring unrivalled precision for games which use more than just your thumbs. Titles such as Resident Evil 5 and EA SPORTS Grand Slam Tennis 2 become even more intense and engaging experiences with a motion controller in your hands.
PlayStation 3 has helped lead the pack for home based augmented reality gaming as well, taking strides into places rarely explored. EyePet brings a cheeky new friend into your living room via the PlayStation Eye camera, while Start the Party! Save the World gives party games that extra bit of energy to make sure any festivity lasts the distance.
PS3 is also the first home video game system to fully embrace stereoscopic 3D gaming - titles such as Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, Resistance 3 and Mortal Kombat all sparkle in this exciting new dimension.
Speaking of changing the way you play, PS3 has given rise to a number of game related events as well, ensuring your skills at home in front of the TV are just as useful outside. GT Academy sees Gran Turismo experts take their driving skills to the real life track as the best racers are given the chance to become a certified racing driver. On the football field, the FIFA Interactive World Cup creates hat-trick heroes in one of the biggest annual video game competitions going.
Network - Bringing people together
Let's not forget about the positive moves PlayStation 3 has made in connectivity. Remote Play brings the worlds of handheld gaming and home entertainment together like never before, as PSP and PS3 combine to grant you access to selected games, music and videos away from the TV - something continued with the PlayStation Vita system's Remote Play capabilities.
PlayStation Network centralises your online friends, allowing you to chat and share your achievements easily. The system also brings the world to your living room via a handy Internet browser, while downloading games, trailers, free demos and other goodies is a breeze with PlayStation Store.
PlayStation Store and PSN have also helped in sharing your imaginative creations. My SingStar Online and LittleBigPlanet.com both use PSN to show your SingStar videos and LBP levels to the world.
With interaction a big part of PSN, it's no surprise that PS3 has taken virtual socialising to the next level with PlayStation Home, a thriving and free online community. Full of games, hang-out spots and surprises, PlayStation Home is the perfect place for PlayStation fans to mingle and party.
Music - Get down on it
Parties have become even livelier with PlayStation 3 via some great leaps and thoughtful bounds in the way you interact with music. Playing your CDs and storing your favourite tunes on the Hard Disk Drive was an expected perk, however the arrival of VidZone in 2009 has offered even more options for any musical youth. The free music video streaming service features thousands of artists to groove to, making it easy to create a personal playlist of greatest hits. Music Unlimited joined in one year later to create a perfect duet of musical harmony, with easy access to millions of your favourite songs, all via your PS3.
Video - Like a bolt from the Blu
"My PlayStation 3 is my home entertainment hub - without it I probably wouldn't have a Blu-ray Disc player." - Elliott Martin, producer (SOCOM: Special Forces, MAG)
PS3 was the first games system to embrace the new world of High Definition heralded by Blu-ray Disc, a format which delivers crisp, clear visuals for unparalleled picture quality due to its huge storage capacity. PS3 immediately became the Blu-ray Disc player of choice for many, providing an affordable home cinema experience no other system could match.
PS3 also makes it easier to buy and rent movies, and watch television when you want. A variety of catch-up TV services including the revolutionary PlayTV make sure you never miss your favourite series or show again. Similarly, invaluable film on demand services such as MUBI and the Video Store of PlayStation Store mean a new movie is never far away. Going out by staying in has never felt so satisfying.
Photos - When you're smiling...
The ability to download and view your photo collection was something explored by PSP, and has been enhanced by Photo Gallery on PS3. Not only can you organise and enjoy your beloved memories in super sharp High Definition, you can also group them by categories such as the facial expressions in the snaps themselves. Later system software updates have allowed your pics to be uploaded to Facebook and web based album, Picasa.
That isn't the only innovation PS3 has added to home photo viewing. Downloadable application PlayMemories allows you to enjoy panoramic, multi-angle and stereoscopic 3D photographs and you can even zoom into the 3D environments for a unique viewing experience.
In a mere five years, PlayStation 3 has taken you to amazing new places - so why not celebrate right now and try out some of these remarkable innovations for yourself?
£39.99 – a small price, a year of gaming.