Wed, Jul 14, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Sony vows to demonstrate new PlayStation in May

AP , SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA

Sony Corp says it expects to demonstrate a working version of its next-generation PlayStation video game console at a trade show in May next year.

Sony has been secretive about its next-generation consoles because of stiff competition from rivals Microsoft Corp of the US and Japan's Nintendo Co.

To date, Sony has not specified a launch date for the follow-up to the popular PlayStation 2, but company officials in Tokyo on Monday told reporters they will unveil more details about the highly anticipated product by the end of its fiscal year, which ends in March, said Molly Smith, a spokeswoman for Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc, based in Foster City, California.

"We wanted to let our business partners know that our development is progressing as planned on the future platform," Smith said.

Takeshi Kutaragi, president of Sony Computer, said the PlayStation Portable, dubbed PSP, would be on store shelves by the end of March but didn't reveal the product's specifications, Kyodo News agency said.

If Sony meets its targets, then the public will finally get a glimpse of the next-generation game console at the E3 convention in Los Angeles, set for May. Sony and other video game makers have used E3, which draws game developers, fans and industry officials, for major product launches.

Sony's PlayStation2 game machine is the industry's best-selling console, though Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube have been gaining some ground. Microsoft has not said when its next-generation Xbox might be available, while Nintendo announced last month that it would "show" its GameCube successor, code-named "Revolution," next year.

Kutaragi also said Sony will sell its PlayStation Portable -- a handheld device with a color display, stereo speakers and wireless Internet for multiplayer games, music and videos -- in Japan by the end of December.

PSP will be available in the US and Europe by March next year, Kutaragi said, according to Smith.

Officials at Sony's headquarters in Tokyo couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

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