US Air Force Orders 2.2k PlayStation 3s

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The United States’ Air Force is reminding everyone that it can make the term “modern warfare” mean whatever it likes with the news this week that it’s ordering itself up no less than 2,200 games consoles.

The Air Force already has a bit of history with Sony’s PlayStation 3, having bought around 300 of the devices last year so that it could run tests with the Cell Broadband Engine Architecture (which is usually just shortened to Cell processor) that Sony’s been touting as the best thing in processors for a couple of years now. It seems as though they’ve found what they were looking for, considering the fact that they’ve now moved to up their quote of PS3s by another 2,200, but it’s not going to be all that simple.

It’s already been pointed out that the Air Force has some very specific needs, ones that naturally aren’t going to be met by the PlayStation 3’s usual firmware, as well you might imagine. It’s handy to have Facebook support built right in, but you can’t have a room full of researchers sitting on Farmville all day and hope to get any real results.

Instead, it’s likely to be looking for older models of the PlayStation 3, predating the recent PS3 Slim, with 160GB hard drives and allowing the installation of Linux builds instead of the PS3 firmware. The only problem is that Sony doesn’t make them anymore, and they’re not really something one can easily find at retail thanks to the fact that most places price dropped them in an attempt to ship them all out ahead of the launch of the PS3 Slim.

So, is the US Air Force going to be reduced to walking into Gamestop and requisitioning stacks of pre-owned PlayStation 3 consoles? If they want to get 2,200 of the things they may very well have few other choices.

You can read more about the Air Force’s flirtation with Sony’s gaming hardware over at InformationWeek.

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