Following the recent launch of Sony’s PSX, which combines the functions of a PlayStation 2, PVR and DVD burner (full details), there have been a number of dissenting voices over the reduced specification of the released product. Despite this, the first shipment to shops is reported to have nearly sold out on launch day, with long queues on the day of its release. The size of the initial shipment has not been disclosed. A spokesperson for Sony added that they plan to ship one million PSX systems by the end of 2004.
Quite a number of what would appear to be vital functions and features of the PSX have been downgraded or removed, which Sony say is to time pressures in hitting an xmas released date. The most surprising omission is of a functioning Ethernet port, clearly vital for accessing online content and sharing content between rooms in a household.
A number of formats will not initially be supported. MP3 playback will be missing, but Sony’s copy-protected ATRAC will be and TIFF and GIF graphics formats, although JPEG will continue to be supported. Two disk formats, CD-R and DVD+RW have also been dropped. The speed of the DVD recording has been halved from x24 to x12 which should have too much of an impact.
Financial analysts have been damning in their views of the changes with Kazumasa Kubota of Okasan Securities has described the PSX as a “publicity stunt”, while Kazuya Yamamoto of UFJ Tsubasa has claimed that “lowering the specifications of the PSX hurt Sony’s image”.
We feel the removals have been more about anti-piracy than a need to “rush” the release and are probably victims of the long-running struggle between Sony’s content and CE division.