It's the fall of 2006 and Sony has a problem. PlayStation 3, the company's eagerly awaited and hyperbolically marketed successor to the best-selling video game console of all time, has not been well-received. The major issue is cost. With models launching at $499 and $599, PS3 is shipping a year later than Microsoft's Xbox 360 and selling for $100 higher -- $200 more if you compare it to the hard drive-free Xbox 360 Core edition.
That placed the system out of the reach of many gamers, but it was a cost necessitated by complex, custom internals -- not the least of which being the physical inclusion of an Emotion Engine CPU, the brain that powered the PS2. Sony had basically replicated the guts of the older system to enable proper backward compatibility, and, by mixing that with a very advanced processor called Cell, created a system that simply could not be sold inexpensively at launch.
Cost, though, is something that can be fixed, and Sony solved that problem. The economic implications of volume production are well understood, and video game components are high-volume things. Sony would streamline an... [Read more]