The PlayStation 3 a Decade Later

In looking through posts for the usual month in review summary I saw that we had just passed the ten year anniversary of our purchasing a PlayStation 3.

Just in case you wanted to see a box

A decade down the road… or about half an Afghan war later… the PlayStation 3 is still in the entertainment center under our televisions.  Same TV, same PlayStation 3.

We were a bit late to the PS3 party.  The platform launched back in late 2006 and was discontinued in the US back in 2016.  But back in 2006 we were more keen to jump on board with the Wii.  And I think it was probably the wise decision.  With our then young daughter in the house, the Wii was a lot more kid friendly.

The new TV was the primary driver for the PS3 purchase.  Our old 32″ CRT TV,  purchased back in 1998, was in the process of giving up the ghost so we finally bought a 46″ LCD HD TV.  With that we wanted to be able to watch Blu-Ray movies, stream, and play video games in actual HD resolutions, so a PS3 was already on my mind.  (Also, Potshot bought one and it seemed to work out for him.)

Anyway, we ended up doing some of all of that… once the PlayStation Network was up and running again.  The damn thing got hacked and brought down about a week after I bought the PS3 and remained down for over three weeks.  I was offered 450 Station Cash for my trouble as a result of a class action lawsuit, which tells you why I hate class action lawsuits.

For a long stretch we watched movies and streamed Netflix on the device.  Video games were played as well, though not as much as I thought would.  As it turned out, one of the oddities of the Wii, that you had half a controller to hold in each hand, was ergonomic brilliance.  Having to go to the “gamer grip” on a traditional controller made various parts of me ache.

Still, we did get through some of the TellTale LEGO titles, which were visually much better on the PS3 than the Wii, and my daughter put a lot of time into Little Big Planet.  But the last console video game we played on the TV in the family room was Just Dance 5 on the Wii, and the Wii has been packed up and stored away for about two years now.  The Wii was just more fun.

But the PS3 had other jobs.  We still used it for streaming and playing movies.  But the end of support for the platform still loomed.  Back in late 2019 we found that the streaming services had stopped updating their apps for the PS3, which ended its life for that function.  I went out and bought a Roku Stick, which now fulfills that need.

Then came the pandemic, and the television was suddenly getting more use than ever.  The Roku Stick purchase was just in time.  Within two month of that we had the pandemic, and Tiger King, and a hunger for video content.

Oddly, here is something we haven’t done in the pandemic: Watch movies on DVD or Blu-Ray.  We have a shelf full of them.  But streaming services seemed to have finally hit the point where they could scratch the itch that those disks were meant to cover.  That doesn’t mean I am tossing them, but when I am going through looking for something to watch, I am often struck by the overlap between movies available on services and our own library.  I mean, you get all of Star Wars and The Simpsons with Disney+.

So I haven’t spun up the PS3 in almost a year I would guess.  I think the last thing I watched was a couple of episodes of World at War, which I have on DVD and which doesn’t pop up on streaming services.  And that made me grouse a bit about how poorly black and white is rendered on modern AV equipment.  The glow of the CRT gave it a life that LCD technology lacks.

And so the PS3 sits on the bottom shelf of the entertainment center, half hidden in the darkness, waiting for us to want to spin a disk rather than stream.  Maybe some evening if the internet goes down we’ll boot it back up.

Recently I read that Sony will soon be shutting down PlayStation Store support for the PS3, which has made some grumble.  I am honestly surprised it has lasted this long, what with the PlayStation 5 out.  Nintendo pulled down all such support for the Wii ages ago, well before they launched the Switch.

And I am not that concerned.  The games I have will likely still work as I bought them all on disk and support for streaming apps and the like was already a dead end.   Of course, now there is a looming bug that might render the console useless if the CMOS battery dies, but I would have to feel the need to boot the system up to see if that was even a problem for us.

Overall, a decade later, I’d rate the purchase of the PS3 as probably worthwhile.  It did not get nearly the play time that the Wii did but it filled the gap in other places even if it was something of a “sledgehammer vs mosquito” level solution for some of its uses.  It played our Blu-Ray disks and streamed Netflix and HBO for us.  I’m not keen to replace it with something more modern.  There is no PS5 purchase looming in our future.  I don’t play video games on the TV and the streaming function has already been taken over by the Roku.  And, for now, the PS3 can handle and DVD or Blu-Ray needs.

Addendum: Sony has changed their mind and is keeping the PS3 and PS Vita stores open for now.  Maybe they’ll even push an update to fix the CMOS battery bug.

5 thoughts on “The PlayStation 3 a Decade Later

  1. mbp

    Your PS3 story is eerily familiar. We also have a dormant PS3 sitting under our main family telly. I bought it late in the cycle with the intention of exploring some of Sony’s famous exclusives. The only game I actually played to completion on it was “The Last of Us” although I did buy a few others with the intention of getting around to them eventually. However the machine served as a Blue Ray / Netflix player for several years until the advent of smart TVs and Chromecasts. It is still sitting under the TV beside our collection of Blue rays/DVDs but I don’t know if it is even still connected.

    I bought a second hand Xbox 360 even later just to play through the Halo franchise (This was before the PC version of MCC). I actually got better gaming value out of the Xbox 360 because I played all the Halo games and all the Gears of War games on it. It has no general utility value though because it doesn’t have a Blue Ray drive so the PS3 still sits under the telly while the 360 has long since been consigned to storage.

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  2. Yeebo

    That’s extremely similar to my PS3 story, save that I had to replace the TV about a year ago. We still use it for Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Hulu, DVDs and Blue Ray. We are holding out to buy a PS5, I have skipped the PS4 altogether, though most of what I play on the PS5 will no doubt be PS4 disks from pawn shops and flea markets. As soon as I can walk into a store and buy a PS5 our PS3 will go on to it’s well earned retirement.

    On the physical media vs streaming, I have found that streaming is great for modern shows or older shows that are still popular. It’s terrible for older shows, and terrible for old movies. It’s also increasingly terrible for having access to everything that appeals to our particular tastes without springing for six different services. Netflix DVD use to cover us there, but in the last year it has gotten very sparse.

    I recently bought all of the highlander TV show on DVD. Buying the old DVD releases was the only way to get access to a version that doesn’t have the top and the bottom of the picture cropped off. It was bad enough when they used to do that to movies to fit CRT TV screens. Now that’s being done to a lot of old TV shows to make them fit modern wide screen TVs. There often isn’t enough visual material there to lose two thirds of it and still end up with a coherent shot. The results are blurry and terrible. In any case, me and my wife both have a soft spot for the old show and have been enjoying the heck out of the DVDs. I spent too much, but it’s worth it to us.

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Yeebo – There are no end of video abominations. As a purist I should probably watch old episodes of The Simsons on DVD rather than on Disney+ because they have done the same thing, zoomed in to fit the old 4:3 image into a 16:9 screen, shaving off the top and bottom of the show, including the occasional gag. I have the DVDs if I feel like it… and honestly it isn’t so bad cropped.

    But World at War, the Thames documentary, that I mentioned in the post. That can only be viewed on DVD. They have since released a Blu-Ray version of it, and it is a cropping abomination that clips out important text from the bottom of the screen, which can be important when you have, say, a Japanese office speaking in Japanese about his experience in the war and the sub-titles are all you have to work with.

    There is a whole era of TV from the adoption of video tape technology in the late 70s to the move to the HD format in the late 90s that are just going to be butchered. Though, I write that and realize that even shows before video tape, which were on traditional film and thus suitable to be remastered for HD, are getting butchered as well. World at War got a horrible treatment, but Hogan’s Heroes is a lesson in how to remaster. Odd choices there.

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  4. potshot

    Finally passed the old ps3 on to a friend for him and his sons to play with and apparently they are still having a good time with it. Nice piece of kit with the usual nightmare Sony menus. Like you, it was mostly everything but a gaming console.

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