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Wed, May 18, 2005 - Page 12 News List

Sony previews the latest version of its game console

GAME MACHINES The new PlayStation will be available in three colors and the company says new technology enables a higher level of realism


Sony Corp unveiled three flavors of its new PlayStation 3 (PS3) video game machine in what is likely a new round of console wars with rivals Microsoft Corp and Nintendo Co.

The new machine, set for release in the spring of next year, is about the same size as the current generation PlayStation 2 but has a more rounded look. Besides black, the PS3 will be available in silver and white.

Sony officials said on Monday that the PS3's new processor technology -- called Cell -- will offer high performance for movie-like realism in games, high-definition movies and other features.

Living-room Toy

"The PS3 truly is a system to be placed in the center of the living room," said Ken Kutaragi, creator of the original PlayStation console as well as the more recent PlayStation Portable handheld.

Prices for a specific lineup of games that will be available were not provided, though Sony showed off numerous demonstrations of games in development.

The PS3 will use the Blu-ray disc format, capable of holding 50 gigabytes of information, which is about six times the capacity of existing DVDs, as well as slots for memory cards, a detachable hard drive and Bluetooth wireless for up to seven wireless controllers.

The PS3 also will be able to run the thousands of games available for the older PS2 and PS1, officials said.

The announcement comes two days ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, an annual industry gathering in Los Angeles.

Rivals gear up

Last week, Microsoft showcased its new Xbox 360 in a 30-minute special on MTV.

Microsoft said it would begin selling Xbox 360 in North America around Thanksgiving, and Europe and Asia by the end of the year.

No pricing details have been announced on any of the systems.

Nintendo was to discuss its new console, code-named Revolution, yesterday morning.

Last year, Sony's older PlayStation 2 led the US console wars with 43 percent of the market, according to Jupiter Research. The original Xbox was a distant No. 2 with 19 percent, followed by Nintendo's GameCube at 14 percent. The remainder included handheld game systems.

But by 2010, Xbox 360 will grab the lead with 38 percent of the market, followed by Sony with 32 percent and Nintendo with 22 percent, Jupiter forecasts.

Microsoft is taking an entertainment hub approach with Xbox 360.

The curvy, white machine plays DVD movies and lets users listen to music, view photos and do real-time video chats with friends and relatives around the world.

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