Playable PS3 Fantasy

Sony PS3 News

An rather dubious rumour is circulating the gaming news, suggesting that Sony are going to show a playable PS3 at the Taipei Games Show in Taiwan next week, allocating a quarter of its show-floor space to the super-hardware. We explain what we expect they'll really show.

No, Sony will not have finished consoles. Of course, they will have empty cases, possibly with some lights inside. They will also have some playable games running on some kind of hardware - hardware that will be hidden away from prying eyes.

If we're very lucky we might see some photographs of production circuit boards, or maybe some mock-up boards. The one thing we will not see is a real PS3 case with a production board inside it running a game, even a part finished game.

Sony are masters of showcraft, and will do everything to make visitors walk away thinking they've seen games running on a production console, but actually seeing such a production console running is extremely unlikely.

Now you may say, "But they are showing games running on real hardware, that's enough isn't it? That means the hardware is finished?" Sadly, no it does not. Sony will be making changes to the hardware right up to the moment that they begin bulk manufacture. In the meantime, developers will be working with large prototype dev-kits that are frequently replaced and modified. Also, remember that even production dev-kits have far more memory than production consoles, and demos that run on them, playable or otherwise are not an entirely honest representation of what is to come. Futhermore, showing a running game says nothing about the disc system, how loading will work, or whether BluRay is ready.

Sony knows it must do everything in its power to disrupt Microsoft's 360 push in Taiwan, and it will use every trick in the book to create the impression that PS3 is closer to shipping than it really is. This has always been the way the console hardware game works, and it is likely to be the case next week.