An interesting bit of news has come out of Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony
According to a range of reports, the device's hard drive-to-DVD dubbing speed is being cut. It won't play MP3 files or CD-Rs. Perhaps most interestingly, it won't come with a broadband socket that would have allowed users to play the online games currently available to PlayStation 2 users. (Sony says many of the "missing" features will be available for download, presumably using an adapter like the PlayStation 2's, in the future. Some may be built into subsequent shipments.)
The rush to get Japanese stores stocked with the PSX (which will make its U.S. and European debut next year) highlights the pressure the game business is experiencing as it tries to regenerate enthusiasm on the downslope of a hardware cycle. Holiday season reports from retailers Best Buy
Reports have the PlayStation 3's chip coming out in late 2005. (While the PSX packs loads of new functions into the box, it doesn't advance the PlayStation system itself.) News discussing Microsoft's
Given that, it's easy to understand why Sony would be eager to get PSX into stores -- it needs to put excitement back into the business. I'm inclined to dismiss the machine as an overpriced mishmash, though it will be interesting to see what form the PSX takes when it hits American stores -- and whether we're still taking about the machine in two years.
Will the PSX pack enough punch to encourage gamers to replace thir PS2s, or Xboxes? See what Fools are saying on the Sony discussion board.
Dave Marino-Nachison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.