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The PlayStation 3 (officially marketed PLAYSTATION 3, commonly abbreviated PS3) is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game systems.
A major feature that distinguishes the PlayStation 3 from its predecessors is its unified online gaming service, the PlayStation Network, which contrasts with Sony's former policy of relying on games developers for online play. Other major features of the console include its robust multimedia capabilities, connectivity with the PlayStation Portable, and its use of a next-gen optical media, Blu-ray Disc, as its primary storage medium.
The PlayStation 3 was first released on November 11, 2006, in Japan, November 17, 2006 in North America, and March 23, 2007 in Europe and Oceania, with two stock keeping units (SKUs): a basic version with a 20 GB hard disk drive (HDD), and a premium version with a 60 GB HDD and several additional features. The 20 GB version was not released in Europe or Oceania. Since then, the console has had several revisions made to its available SKUs and has faced stiff competition from the other seventh generation consoles. As of December 20, 2007, the PS3 is in third place in home console sales for its generation.