Typically of Sony, the PlayStation 3 is not a console without having achieved a milestone of sorts. It is, in fact, the world's first video game console to fully utilize a Blu-ray Disc as its primary storage medium. Sony's PlayStation Network gaming service was also first launched with the PlayStation 3. Read more below!
When the PlayStation 3 was launched in 2005, it received many critical praises for its powerful internals and specifications – even for a moment it was rivaling the specifications and performance of a gaming computer. The Central Processing Unit (CPU) of the PlayStation 3 is a cell microprocessor that utilizes an array of processing elements. It was considered revolutionary at the time, but was ultimately rather hard to develop games for, leading to a rather shortage of great titles during the earlier stages of the PlayStation 3.
It was also praised for the use of Blu-ray Discs as its primary storage medium. As Blu-ray Discs can hold a large amount of data, large games could be stored entirely onto and operated from a single Blu-ray Disc. It is the first game console to ever use Blu-ray Discs, and also the first console to be able to natively operate as a Blu-ray Disc player for movies.
The PlayStation 3 also marked the launch of Sony's first social and digital media gaming network, PlayStation Network (PSN). Originally only meant for PlayStation consoles, the service is now extended to smartphones, tablets, Blu-ray Players, and Sony's very own line of HD television sets.
The PSN service allowed the users to stream videos, movies, and music from online servers straight to their PlayStation, acting as a sort of set-top box for TV. Recently Sony also introduced PlayStation Now, a game streaming service in which gamers can rent to stream a game direct to their PlayStation without owning a physical or digital copy. Besides these first-party services however, third-party services such as Netflix and Crunchyroll are also made available on PlayStation.
The PlayStation 3, along with the PlayStation Network, launched also with PlayStation Plus, a premium PlayStation online service that gave the subscriber specific benefits during their time as a PlayStation user, such as early access to games, special discounts, and automatic downloads of updates. One of the most outstanding factor of the PlayStation Plus service is the Instant Game Collection, which offers 6 games per month to a subscriber for free – although it is only active until the PlayStation Plus subscription ends. The free games offered are not only available for the PlayStation 3, but also on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.