There's no denying that Sony is slightly late to the table with its next generation gaming console. With Nintendo launching its fun filled Wii at the beginning of December 2006 and Microsoft unveiling the Xbox 360 almost a year and a half ago, Sony has managed to gift no less than two Christmas periods to Microsoft and one to Nintendo.
It's fair to say that the Wii was the big hit of the recent festive season, while the year before getting your paws on an Xbox 360 was nigh on impossible. But for the launch of the PlayStation 3 there's no Christmas buying frenzy to help it along, and with much of the gaming public already equipped with an X360 or a Wii, or even both, has the PlayStation 3 got what it takes to make an impact at this stage?
Well first and foremost, it's clear that the buying public haven't been rushing to buy Sony's new machine, no matter how Sony's PR machine might try to spin things. Just a few days before the launch date, every single high street store that I visited and every online retailer was still promising launch day hardware!
That's about as far removed as you can get from the Xbox 360 and Wii launches, where you couldn't find a console for love nor money weeks before the actual launch. It's probably fair to say that the cost of the PlayStation 3 is making prospective buyers think carefully before slapping the plastic on the counter, but we'll come onto cost a bit later.
One thing that Sony can't be criticised for is the amount of functionality that the PlayStation 3 offers. It really is so much more than just a games console, which is fine, assuming that you want to do so much more than play games. The PS3 really does have the makings to be the hub of your home entertainment setup, while it also has the potential to expand its capabilities considerably over the months and years.
Even though I consider myself a particularly cynical and jaded technology hack, I was pleasantly surprised when I got my paws on a full retail PlayStation 3 a while back. But that's not to say that I think that Sony is set to blow away the competition, in fact I think that this third generation PlayStation will have a tougher fight than either of its predecessors.