The 7th generation of consoles was a strange time for video games; online play became ubiquitous, graphics got really hung up on being realistic (read: brown or gun metal grey) and there was a three-way race to establish themselves as the champions of the 7th generation.
The Xbox 360 officially heralded the beginning of the 7th generation in December 2005 giving it a year to establish itself as the console of choice for this bold new world.
Sony took 11 months to release their offering, the Playstation 3, and was released this week 15 years ago in North America; us poor Europeans had to wait until March.
As it turns out, we probably should have waited a bit longer.
There is no sugarcoating it, the Playstation 3 had a calamitous launch period, and it took the best part of 3 years for the console to truly fulfil its potential.
The Xbox 360 had no such problems; it hit the ground running with hit games such as the original 'Gears Of War', 'Dead Rising', 'Saints Row', 'Hitman: Blood Money' release within the first year of the consoles life, in addition to its strong launch line-up.
Microsoft also had a killer marketing campaign and unexpectedly struck gold with their advertising for 2006's 'Gears Of War'.
On the other hand, Sony's marketing of the PlayStation 3 was bizarre.
They tapped the legendary surreal director David Lynch to direct some ads for the PlayStation 2, and commissioned Aphex Twin music video director Chris Cunningham during the PlayStation 1 era, but the advertising for their new console was just odd.
What the hell is going on in this ad?
For the first year of the console's life, the Playstation 3 was treading water until 'Uncharted: Drake's Fortune' came along in December 2007, and from then on, the pendulum began to swing back towards the Sony camp.
Sony got two things wrong with the PlayStation 3launch: firstly, they assumed that coming off the roaring success of the PlayStation 2 they could name their price and their hordes of followers will follow suit.
The RRP for the PS3 at launch is still one of the industry's biggest howlers.
An asking price of €600 at retail with no good games to show for it?
It doesn't take Bill Gates to figure out why Xbox (and the Wii) roared into the lead early on in the 7th generation.
The numbers play a factor too.
From a financial standpoint, Sony's hands were tied; the technology in the machine was quite expensive, so they had to sell it at a high price point, otherwise, they would be selling the units at a loss.
The Xbox 360, conversely, retailed for as low as €300, but if you wanted to get all the accessories, the Xbox Live Gold service, and some games, the cost ended up at around €600.
Of course, the Xbox 360 had a healthy and firm library, and by the time the PlayStation 3 was launching in Europe 'Crackdown' was released, which served as another notch for Microsoft's belt.
Meanwhile, PlayStation 3 owners were "treated" to a 'historically accurate game' where Japanese warriors attacked giant enemy crabs as one of the launch titles.
If one were to be the devil's advocate, Sony was upfront and transparent with its cost, its online multiplayer service was free, and crucially, you could still play your old PS2 games on it.
However, people buy new hardware to play fresh and new games on it, and not as an expensive emulator to play 'Simpsons Hit And Run' or 'Metal Gear Solid 3'.
People can argue for the merits of 'Motorstorm' and the first 'Resistance' game all they like, but those are 7/10 games at best, and are not what sells a console in the initial launch period for a console.
Within the first year of the PlayStation 5's lifespan, players have gotten some great games such as 'Returnal' and 'Deathloop'.
The Xbox 360 on the other hand had a solid launch line-up, with a 'Project Gotham Racing' game in the deck, Rockstar's underrated western 'Gun', 'Need For Speed: Most Wanted', 'Condemned: Criminal Origins' which was an exercise in pants-wetting terror and the surprisingly brilliant tie-in game for Peter Jackson's 'King Kong' remake.
In addition, the PlayStation 3 was notoriously difficult for developers to develop on.
The PlayStation 3 used a custom system architecture called the 'Cell', which gave PlayStation 3 games some truly fantastic graphics but was incredibly unfriendly to developers, and having to learn a new system for one console quickly became time-consuming and resource-heavy for developers.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's Xbox used a similar system architecture as developing for PC, which most developers had plenty of experience with.
By the time the first truly great PlayStation 3 game came out in December 2007 (the first 'Uncharted' game) Microsoft had already established a commanding lead, with the titan that was 'Halo 3' leading the charge.
Sony kept the PlayStation 3 afloat for 2008 (along with its notorious bomb 'Haze', which is due a retrospective of one of these days) and had done just enough to stem the bleeding.
June 2008 saw the release of 'Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots', which is A) Hideo Kojima at his bafflingly brilliant best and B) a genuinely brilliant console exclusive any manufacturer would kill to have.
The more time developers spent with the console and its tricky design, the better the games became.
2009 was the first sign of improvement for the PlayStation 3, with 'Killzone 2' a solid if not quite a 'Halo killer' and May 2009's 'inFamous' offering a genuinely one-of-a-kind experience not available on any console.
It would take Naughty Dog's ingenuity for the PS3 to catch up to the Xbox, and the PlayStation 3 truly didn't fulfil its potential until the release of 2009's 'Uncharted 2: Among Thieves'.
Naughty Dog gave the PlayStation 3 era a hell of a send of with 'The Last Of Us', but it was 'Uncharted 2' that established the developer as a studio that is as crucial to Sony as Pixar is to Disney.
The first level of that game has Nathan Drake hanging from a suspended train on a dramatic, snow-capped cliffside in one of gamings most effective opening sequences, on a par with the opening of 'Bioshock'.
The gorgeous graphics still hold up well today.
It was at this moment the PlayStation 3 arrived.
Late 2009 also saw the revised PlayStation 3 model launch, which gave the console a more chic and clinical look compared to the originals hulking and towering design.
From then on, Sony rapidly gained ground on Microsoft, with the PlayStation 3 actually outselling the Xbox 360 in terms of overall lifetime sales by the time the 7th generation of consoles ended.
The twist in the tail is that the Nintendo Wii actually beat the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in terms of overall sales, but how many Nintendo Wii games defined and changed what was possible with storytelling in video games? (And no, 'Wii Sports' does not count)
The first year of the PlayStation 3's life was brutal for Sony, but lessons were being learned; don't take the core audience for granted, and don't make the system architecture so tricky to navigate next time.
With the PlayStation 4, Sony took all their mistakes from the 7th generation to heart and ended up demolishing the competition - but that's a retrospective article for another time.