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.