Since its introduction in 1994, PlayStation® has dominated the entertainment playing field. Now PLAYSTATION®3 is here, opening up new horizons in fun. Its impressive specifications are revolutionary, rather than evolutionary. How did the designers decide on the hardware design and graphical user interface (GUI) that express these advances? Here, two designers share a glimpse behind the development scenes.
Goto: Ever since we introduced the original PlayStation® in 1994, our goal has been to make it the best entertainment system available. PLAYSTATION®3 continues this tradition, but this one is truly special. It can play Blu-ray discs, is powered by a new processor called Cell Broadband Engine™ and has a built-in hard disk drive. We incorporated state-of-the-art technology on PLAYSTATION®3 to provide incredible specs, and as those specs took shape in the form of the product, we sought a design that conveys its sophistication and refinement, matching its high performance.
This system leaves the concept of previous game far behind, thanks to its technical specifications. Our first task was finding a way to make this obvious to the user, and this called for a form different from anything we had seen up to PlayStation®2—something new. We were aiming for a form, a texture, and a presence that seemed like something from the future. We imagined structures like high-rise buildings. Development involved trial and error, and we produced sketch after sketch, model after model.
Actually, the engineers initially wanted to make it the size of a desktop computer. The reality of such advanced specs is that you need powerful cooling system and a large motherboard. But it was vital that the case be able to outshine plain, boxy computers and AV equipment. After exploring many options, we finally settled on a case formed by gently curving surfaces. This shape accommodates thick components in the middle while the tapered ends make it look streamlined. It's unlike most AV equipment we've seen so far. We then focused on concept mock-ups of this form, and the engineers were left with a lot of work to do. Thanks to them, the unit ended up nearly the same size as the mock-up, and we were able to turn the design into a product.