In the wake of fervent rumors of the PS3's demise, Sony came clean with launch information about the PS3, while presenting a host of new features for a price-dropped PSP. Here are the main bullet points, separated by console.
The PlayStation 3 will launch in all territories in early to mid-November 2006--with a pre-Black Friday release promised. No price was given. This is a delay from the console's purported spring release in Japan but on track with the speculated launch for the United States and Europe.
The 60GB 2.5-inch hard disc drive will have a Linux OS. It was not revealed whether the hard drive will come with the console, but one will be necessary to play PS3 games.
Sony is preparing an online gaming service comparable to Xbox Live. It will be called PlayStation Network Platform. No price was given, but "free" is being bandied about.
In order to meet the worldwide demand and avoid Xbox 360-esque shortages, Sony will produce 1 million PS3 consoles each month, promising 6 million by March 2007.
As expected, PS3 games will only be available on Blu-ray discs to curtail piracy. The PS3 will play DVDs and CDs as well as PS2 and PS1 games.
A new PSP bundle available next week will retail for $200--$50 less than the current bundle. The new bundle will include only the system with the built-in battery pack and an AC adapter. Gone is the 32MB Memory Stick, the headphones with remote, and the soft case. No word yet on the status of the worship cloth.
Sony is developing an emulator that allows the PSP to play PS1 games--legally. The games will be digitally distributed in the same way that Microsoft provides Xbox Live Arcade games and Nintendo promises to deliver previous-gen games on the Revolution. This leads speculation that Sony will ramp up the available memory, perhaps via a console redesign.
Beginning in October, the PSP will support Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Complementing it will be an EyeToy-esque accessory that supports motion JPEGs.
Rounding out the new features for the PSP is the ability to play games made with Macromedia Flash, RSS feeds in the Internet browser, and a GPS locator.
The PS2 will remain firm at its $150 price tag. Sony will continue to support the console for another four to five years. It's always nice to have some humor at these press conferences.
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