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Sony Pulls Together Final PS3 Pieces

Wednesday, May 10, 2006, 11:09AM EST

PlayStation 3 is ready to launch, with a price, release date, and game portfolio, as well as a new controller, an online strategy, advanced technology, hard drive, and Blu-ray.

Kaz Hirai has spent the last year pulling together all the pieces that make up a major hardware launch. On Monday, Sony Computer Entertainment America's president and CEO unveiled the final parts of his plan to launch the third generation of PlayStation into North America and around the world.

At the company's press conference in Culver City, the announcement everyone expected to hear—that of price—was saved until last. Sony has opted for a two-price strategy around the world, offering consumers either a 20GB hard drive or a 60GB version. In the United States, the two prices will be $499 and $599.

Hirai also announced the release date of the machine. In Japan it will arrive on November 11, followed by Europe, North America, and Australasia on November 17. Sony plans to launch with 2 million units, followed by a further 2 million by year's end, and finally a total of 6 million by March 2007.

According to Hirai, PlayStation 3 represents the future of home entertainment, interacting with other devices such as PSP, enabled for online community and play, and offering Blu-ray drive and a hard drive. But he said the real power of the machine would come through the work of content creators and the interaction of consumers.

There are currently 10,000 development kits in circulation through 208 companies in 11 countries. He also stressed the new machine's ability to work with PlayStation Portable, adding, "We are aggressively seeking ways to connect the two products in innovative and interesting ways."

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the presentation was made by Ken Kutaragi, group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment. He unveiled the machine's controller, which, aesthetically, is the same as the traditional PlayStation controller. However, it offers six-axis sensing capability out of the box, including roll, pitch, and yaw. Kutaragi called it an elegant and powerful solution to the search for an innovative controller that also feels familiar.

SCEA also announced on Monday the first "Greatest Hits" titles for the PlayStation Portable. The initial selection includes five first-party titles: Ape Escape: On the Loose, ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin' Trails, Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee, Twisted Metal: Head On, and Wipeout Pure. All will be available for a $19.99 SRP on July 25.

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