PlayStation3: 2006, Playable Demo at E3

Ken Kutaragi has said that Sony plans to have a working PlayStation3 console at next May’s E3 show – so if you’re not doing anything between 18th and 20th of May next year, you might as well get yourself to Los Angeles.

Kutaragi told a meeting of PlayStation developers, suppliers and journalists: “There has been some talk that development is not going well, but we expect to have a playable version at E3. We are pushing ahead with that schedule in mind.”

Sony have been receiving a lot of criticism lately for their PlayStation brand – the PSX has been discontinued in Japan after selling only 100,000 units, and the PSP is under scrutiny with developers citing concerns battery life and screen quality. Sony have yet to confirm what the battery life of its new handheld console will be, and it has emerged that the screen in the demonstration model costs 70,0000 Yen (€520) alone. Clearly Sony will not be able to produce a console with the same screen and will have to source another, cheaper component.

Last week Sony Computer Entertainment announced that they had changed the memory chips in in the PS3 to 256 megabit chips, down from 512. This does not necessarily mean that the console has had its memory capacity halved, doomsayers – it could mean that, with the same memory and twice the number of chips that the bandwidth has been doubled: from 25.6 gigabits to 51.2 gigabits per second.

Sony are expected to follow their usual release pattern with PlayStation hardware – the console may well become available one year after its demonstration at E3, making that May 2006. US release will follow a couple of months later, with a European launch three months or so after that. Expect worried parents queuing up trying to get one of the few models released in the UK for Christmas 2006.


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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?