It features internal storage (user-replaceable 2.5" SATA hard drive ranging from 20GB to 500GB or 16GB of on-board flash memory, depending on the model), much improved CPU, high definition graphics, advanced online gaming capabilities, blu-ray media, wireless "SIXAXIS" or "DualShock 3" controllers, interaction with a PlayStation Portable (PSP) system through Wi-Fi and much more.
Unlike the PlayStation 2, whose online services were supported by the individual game publishers and developers for each online capable game, online services for the PlayStation 3 were unified under the PlayStation Network, which launched concurrently with the console. Unlike Xbox Live, which requires a paid subscription, online gaming for the PS3 is free on the PlayStation Network; however, Sony launched a paid tier, PlayStation Plus, in 2010, which offers certain benefits such as free games, store discounts, and cloud backups of game saves.
The PlayStation 3 is backwards compatible with the original PlayStation, and early models were also backwards compatible with the PlayStation 2. Later revisions of the PS3 hardware removed compatibility with physical PS2 discs; however, certain titles were later emulated and offered under the "PS2 Classics" line, including games from the GTA III Era. It was also the only seventh-generation console to offer region-free games. The console underwent two major redesigns, the "Slim" model in 2009 and "Super Slim" model in 2012; the Super Slim removes the slot-loading optical drive in favor of a top-loading, sliding door mechanism.
The PlayStation 3 was discontinued in March 2016 in PAL regions, October 2016 in North America, and May 2017 in Japan; however, online services via the PlayStation Network remain available.