This beta is to come out in April, on a large scale. Here's a joystiq article:
I think this looks great. I've been waiting for them to announce this.
You know what? Everyone copies. Good ideas should be implemented. Consider this:
-PS3 copies Wii and 360 for "Mii" and "Achievements"
-PS3 adds motion sensing to the controller, but it's hardly a copy of the Wii
-360/Xbox copies PS2/PS1 for the controller layout (switches a joystick and DPAD around)
-PS1 copies... Wait? What DID PS1 copy?
--PS1 introduced the first CD medium that was relatively easy to develop for, as opposed to 3DO. Sega CD wasn't marketed heavily enough.
--PS1 introduces joysticks and rumble in later revisions of the controller.
--Oh wait, it was still a game console. It copied aspects of each console prior to it.
What about Nintendo? They've been good at not copying, but adapting to their own designs. The only significant difference between the Wii and GameCube is the addition of motion sensitive controls and pointing capabilities (with a boost in horsepower).
-Nintendo "copied" online gaming from the Xbox 360, which you could say copied PCs.
-Nintendo "copied" online purchases through Virtual Console --> Xbox Live Arcade?
What I'm trying to make a point of is that noone really copies anyone -- they either adapt to successful technologies of theirs, or invent. What did Sony do that was an industry first?
Some of these are exclusive on the premium system:
-PS3 made rechargable controllers STANDARD. They work out of the box without having to buy recharge packs or rechargable batteries.
-PS3 has HDMI onboard -- a console first!
-PS3 has gigabit ethernet
-PS3 has a selection of onboard memory card slots
-PS3 has virtual memory cards for PS2/PS1 games
-PS3 lets you install an alternate operating system (linux) out of the box
-Hard drive is standard.
Sony still has innovated. Everyone has contributed to the console cause in their own way.