Sony Launches Hard Drive for PlayStation2 in US

Sony have finally launched the PlayStation2 hard drive in the US, some might say a little late into the console’s life cycle. The drive is identical to the one that has been shipped with the Linux kit for the last 18 months – but then the drive in the Linux kit wasn’t compatible with game saves or downloading content.

So why now? The hard drive is needed to play Final Fantasy XI, the first online iteration of the baffling (hey, only if you don’t play it) role-playing game, and sales of the FF series more than justify marketing a $99 peripheral that was already in production. The drive comes with FFXI pre-installed, and players will be able to sample the game free for 30 days – but will have to cough up $12.95 a month as a subscription to keep going.

But that’s just one game – there will be a huge range of downloadable content and media available for subscribers: new levels, music, perhaps even full-length films. Given that the average game save is about 200kb and you could fit roughly 200,000 of those on the new disk. Sony obviously have a lot planned – and if the peripheral takes off, suddenly Sony has a potential installed base of more than 70 million broadband-enabled, game playing media hubs in living rooms and bedrooms around the world.

We’ve been quite looking forward to the hard drive, the endless fiddling about with memory cards is annoying: one card for RPGs, one card for all our EyeToy pictures, and Bahamut help me if I lost Sesame’s card with her Grand Theft Auto and Silent Hill saves on it.

Sony’s press release

“But your chocobo just squashed my level 76 Beastmaster!”


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?