Oh, I remember it well.
Two models would be arriving, but the one most every gamer wanted was the 60GB model, which would cost $600. Blu-Ray was in its infancy, as was the PlayStation Network, the software launch lineup consisted of little in the way of recognizable goodness (although most were appropriately impressed with Resistance: Fall of Man ), and the shipment numbers…oh dear.
I remember having the PS3 pre-ordered at a local GameStop. Not long before the official launch day in mid-November, it was announced that Sony would be halving the initial shipment number. Retailers were already getting a very small number but suddenly, things got much, much worse. The GameStop where I had the console reserved was supposed to get 12; that number dropped to 6. Thankfully, as I was #4 on the list, I still got mine. But that's not really the point.
Nasty stories of assaults on customers who bought the PS3 on launch day began to arise. Stores were robbed. People were hurt. On top of it all, the $600 machine didn't have much going for it right out of the gate, besides the promise of future greatness. The media had a field day with the poor launch; or rather, a field day that lasted many, many months. Sony suffered through 2007, as rampant doomsday headlines dominated. Multiplatform games weren't faring well, Sony lost key exclusive franchises, and the future wasn't particularly bright.
Everything turned out all right, of course. The PS3 has now surpassed the Xbox 360 in terms of worldwide sales, and that exclusive software is undeniably the best and the most cutting-edge in the console business. Blu-Ray is here to stay and the Network has taken gargantuan strides (and yeah, it's still free). Still, you really don't want to see Sony repeat the same mistakes with the PS4, right? And it seems they really have learned a big lesson, as the PS4 architecture if far more accessible right off the bat, they've already announced at least one huge launch title ( Killzone: Shadow Fall ), developer support is through the roof, and price estimates have been quite agreeable. The new console might not retail for more than $500.
Therefore, it really does appear as if Sony will be in for a smoother ride this time around. They've taken the necessary precautions and fixed what they needed to fix. Wouldn't you say?