This fascinating look at an early PS3 dev kit is full of surprises
YouTuber Linus Tech Tips has got his hands on a PS3 development kit, and it’s well worth a watch
YouTuber Linus Tech Tips has managed to get his hands on a PlayStation 3 development kit, and apart from its enormous size (it’s two-foot-long and weighs 40 pounds), there’s a lot to unpack.
The DECR-1000A Reference Tool, as it’s officially called, reportedly cost $50,000 back in the day, excluding any alleged early adoption fees. It functions like a standard PS3 but has a ton of extras, including six USB ports, two network ports, four analog audio outputs, a monitor port, two more ethernet ports (strictly for Sony’s use), and a foot switch.
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny
🏋️ The PS3 devkit is 2ft long and weighs 40 pounds
💰 Reportedly cost $50,000
💽 Has nearly as much storage as a PS5
🆒 Functions like a normal PS5 but with loads of neat features
⚙️ Gears of War 3 nearly came to PS3 and is playable on this dev kit
💙 PS Vita dev kit also showcased in the video
But that’s not all. In typical Linus Tech Tips fashion, the PS3 dev kit is disassembled to reveal the inner workings of what third-party studios had to use back in 2005. Along with a comprehensive cooling system, the PS3 dev kit has two 400GB hard drives, a 1000 watt power supply, and 512MB of RAM instead of the regular 256MB found in consumer models.
A daughter board also acts as a dedicated web server, allowing devs to log errors and monitor how the system is running. Funnily enough, it’s not PS2 backward compatible, which was found in early PS3 systems and later removed by Sony.
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Once booted up, the PS3 dev kit has a slew of custom options that you won’t find on a consumer model PS3. You can fake which region you’re in – a godsend for those who like to download and play games from other countries – set your game output resolution, turn off HDCP (a form of digital rights management), and toggle a load of different tweakable settings.
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What’s more, the PS3 dev kit in Linus’s possession has several games pre-installed, including a development build of Life is Strange, LittleBigPlanet, and Gears of War 3… That’s right. There’s a playable build of Gear of War 3, which was released exclusively on Xbox 360. It even features the Xbox controller button overlay. The game doesn’t run very well on PS3, as you might expect, but it’s fascinating to see nonetheless.
Linus’s video also shows a PS Vita development kit in action, which looks so cumbersome to use that it’s no wonder that Sony pulled all support early into the handheld’s lifecycle.
It’s always fun to peek behind the curtain of game development, especially when we get a rare glimpse at something like a PS3 dev kit. Whether or not Sony will serve Linus Tech Tips with a cease and desist order – as the YouTuber’s video title suggests – remains to be seen, but we’re glad we got to see this beast for ourselves.
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Updated: July 6, 2022