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Games Entertainment

Rumours of Playstation 3 in 2003 381

aosgood writes "PS3 in 2003? Bloomberg's got a story from some manufactures stating that they are to begin trial runs next month. All I can say is WOW. "Cell" is ready?" I've got my doubts on the veracity of this information - unidentified sources and all. But it does indicate that even if it's not this year, Sony may be rolling the 3 out sooner then previously thought.Update: 03/10 14:50 GMT by H : Yep Sony has begun denying it.
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Rumours of Playstation 3 in 2003

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  • GDC (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Terminus0 ( 266721 )
    I heard some talk of this at the Game Developer's Conference. A couple of the speakers (Warren Spector is the only one who's name I remember) mentioned it in their lectures.
  • P3?? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2003 @09:48AM (#5476068)
    Damn and i still have a playstation 2 on layaway, only 1354 more nickles and its mine
  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @09:48AM (#5476071) Homepage Journal
    I somehow doubt that this (unverifiable) story is true. There may be some prototype units being made to test the new 'Cell' processor architecture, but the debugging cycle of a new processor can be time consuming. If the chip is still under developement, we won't be seeing the final unit this year.

    Smells like vapor...looks like vapor...maybe it is vapor!
  • by Gangis ( 310282 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @09:48AM (#5476073) Journal
    To be honest, I think the whole "Playstation 3" thing being released in 2003 is bull. I mean, think about it... The Playstation 2 was released with a LOT of fanfare. It was announced 2 years before, pictures of the unit a year before... If this is indeed true, I would be deeply surprised. Sony's famous for it's marketing and hype machine.

    I would know, I fell victim to the hype. I wanted one so bad that I wanted to trade my left nut for it. ;)

    (Thankfully that didn't happen as I was cheated out of a PS2 at Walmart, although I was able to pick a used one up a few months later for $125. Don't ask.)
    • only $125? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) < > on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:05AM (#5476184) Journal
      You got a PS2 a few months after release for only $125? You sold your _right_ nut for it, didn't you? :)

    • Let's assume that this story is true, even though it probably is not. It if is, there is are some good reasons for Sony to be in stealth mode for this launch.

      1. They don't want to kill current sales of PS2. If they announced now that there would be a new platform for Christmas worldwide it would kill current sales. Also, if they do plan on launching before Christmas and then miss the date they have just killed their sales year. You can be sure that if they think they have something that will be ready for this year, they won't announce it until there are SURE they can deliver.

      2. They don't want to alert Microsoft to what is going on. Everyone says that it would be impossible to release a PS3 this quickly, but what about an XBox2? By using what is basically commodity hardware again MS can develop and release a backwards compatible followup to the XBox with relatively little effort. They will be able to meet a Sony launch date with much less prep time. So not tipping off MS would be a huge reason to not hype the PS3 until just before launch.

      3. The "surprise" of a new console this quickly will be hype enough. Think about it. How blown away would people be if this were true? It will generate its own hype. Especially if the tech is good.

      I think that if you though about it for a while you could probably come up with some reasons of your own why operating in stealth mode would be an advantage even though it is n't what they have done in the past. Remember though, that while your reasoning might be flawed, it doesn't mean that the article is accurate.

      • by HiredMan ( 5546 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @11:38AM (#5476877) Journal
        They don't want to alert Microsoft to what is going on. Everyone says that it would be impossible to release a PS3 this quickly, but what about an XBox2? By using what is basically commodity hardware again MS can develop and release a backwards compatible followup to the XBox with relatively little effort.

        The problem for M$ is that consoles always outstrip the current offerings by computers - that's how they survive. The newest console offers you things you can't do on your computer yet - and for a couple hundred dollars.
        If the PS3 performs anywhere close to the lofty goals they said they were shooting for then M$ has a real problem. The only way to compete with the PS3 (and then Nintendos new box) would be to design their own cutting edge hardware - but the XBox is just a repackaged PC. To repeat their (limited) success they would need to package a dual Opteron system with the newest NVidia system into a box for US$300. The original XBox was only able to compete in hardware because it came out several years after the PS2 shipped - in that gap the PCs had caught up to the consoles - as they always do.

        M$ is not a hardware company and they will be hardpressed to EVER ship a box within a couple of years of a console that competes with the newest consoles without becoming a hardware developer.

        =tkk

        • I'm trying to distinguish between your use of the terms "couple of years" and "several years". I have to admit that I'm having a hard time of it.

          Anyhow, I disagree with your assertion that consoles always outstrip the current offerings of computers. In the past that might have been true some of the time. It certainly wasn't true in 1983 when the C64 was the best game machine out there. I don't think that it is true right now either. Perhaps in the SNES/N64 era there was some truth to that.

          MS has a huge advantage in that their upgrade path will always be clear. It will be inexpensive from an R&D standpoint. Backwards compatibility will be a no-brainer. It is a platform that developers are already familiar with. The big disadvantage is that over time your commodity parts become less common rather than more. An example of this is the HD in the XBox, which is now bigger than the original, but still is formatted to the same size.

          The Sony advantage is momentum. Right now they have the games, developers, and love of the public. The industry has certainly seen how that can change from one generation of hw to the next.

          • Anyhow, I disagree with your assertion that consoles always outstrip the current offerings of computers. In the past that might have been true some of the time. It certainly wasn't true in 1983 when the C64 was the best game machine out there.

            Um... 1983? Okay - my assertion might not have been valid 20 years ago. But consoles weren't in competition with computers 20 years ago because personal computers were exotic and rare. (I was playing on an Apple][!)

            What I'm saying is the consoles survive by applying specialized hardware towards a certain goal (playing games) and do it at a lower price. Microsoft could not have competed with Sony at the PS2s roll-out because packaging 2 year-old computer hardware into a box and selling it at a loss would NOT have created a box that would have competed in performance with the Playstation. M$ was only able to compete because they entered the market well after the rising tide of general computing power floated general computing power into the range of specialized hardware.

            If Sony makes their stated target goal of 1 trillion FPU operations with the PS3 processor it will outstrip ANYTHING that M$ can field for another few years after the PS3 rollout (if they depending on general computing hardware) let alone field at the several hundred dollar price. M$ can continue they schedule of letting general computer power rise to the level of specialized hardware and then repackage it for the masses, but it's not working out very well for them now and it probably won't into the future.
            How many XBoxes are they going to sell when the PS3 is about to ship?

            =tkk

    • by Bohnanza ( 523456 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @11:33AM (#5476831)
      The Playstation 2 was released with a LOT of fanfare. It was announced 2 years before, pictures of the unit a year before...

      A big part of that was to convince people NOT to buy a Dreamcast. If they did the same thing this time, they'd mainly be convincing people not to buy a PS2.

    • In response to the comment about the XBox 2...

      It seems to be a moot point to me, as the XBox is already doing pretty rotten in the GAMES department, which is generally what makes or a breaks a system.

      Do you think, to add insult to injury, Microsoft would spring a NEW $300 system on the unsuspecting public ? Who gives a DAMN about backwards compatibility - we're talking simply about consumer willingness to purchase a new system every 6 months!

      -Leothequick
  • Still early (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LookSharp ( 3864 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @09:49AM (#5476077)
    Whether Cell is ready or not, you still have to go through manufacturing trails, quality assurance, a big Japanese release (with requesite game titles), then a US release.

    Even with a reputable source like Bloomberg, the odds that Sony would have a US launch before Christmas would be long, in my completely uninformed opinion. :)

  • I doubt it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stapler ( 559692 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @09:50AM (#5476086) Homepage
    They don't have to do it. There's no way XBox or GC can ever catch up to the PS2. There is really no reason for Sony to release this in 2003, and probably no reason in 2004 either. They've won the war. I think a PS3 release this year could only hurt them.
    • Re:I doubt it (Score:3, Insightful)

      by krugdm ( 322700 )

      I wouldn't say that it would hurt them, but it's an expense that would be completely unnecessary right now.

      I'd bet the could get another two years out of the PS2 easy. Maybe a Christmas 2004 launch?

      Perhaps this this the start of the PS3 hype machine. "Leak" a few rumors to start getting the fanboy interest up...

    • by Viewsonic ( 584922 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:27AM (#5476327)
      It isn't the fact that they've won already, it's the fact that their standard games all look like total ass on High Def TVs, unlike the Cube and XBox .. They need to keep updating so people can get the games looking good on their sets. Just because they have 25 million owners doesn't mean none of us want some upgraded technology for our spoiled lifestyles.
      • It was a 2 year old system(Released in Japan in early 2000, late 1999) when XBox and GC hit the scene, even in Japan the amount of HDTVs on the market didn't warrant strong HD support. NOT ONLY THAT, the GC wasn't designed with HD in mind either. In terms of hardware life time, it's on it's third year, into it's fourth. When PS3 comes out in 2005(I believe the proper projected sony street date), it'll be almost six years old for god's sake.

        Besides, it does support 16x9 output anyway, so blame developers for not taking advantage of this. Konami does 16x9 with Beatmania IIDX, which was DESIGNED for 16x9(Take a look at one of the arcade screens, you'll know what I mean). Polyphony Digital does 16x9 with Gran Turismo 3: ASpec, not only that, it does it damn well.

        Atleast you're not bitching about the quality of games on the ps2 ;)
  • No Way! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by windsok ( 601802 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @09:50AM (#5476088)
    I am willing to bet that bloomberg have got the story wrong, for starters their sources do not sound very credible. I think that that are confused with what has been dubbed the PS2.5, a new version of the Playstation 2, much like the psone was to the psx.
    • Re:No Way! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by larien ( 5608 )
      Sounds more reasonable. However, a beta/alpha version of PS3 could be getting built now, probably mainly for development, both within Sony and for games developers.

      However, Sony are going to need to get PS3 out within a reasonable timeframe, simply to keep up with the Xbox. Right now, it's showing its age against the latest offerings and the only thing keeping it going is brand loyalty and a larger game base. Once MS catches up with the game base (particularly if it keeps buying companies and making Xbox-only games), the PS2 will start to lag.

      Heck, even if the PS2 comes out relatively soon, it may not be enough; MS are already thinking about XBox-2 which could leapfrog the PS3 (NB: wild speculation here!). If the timeframe between PS3 & Xbox2 isn't enough, Sony are going to have some trouble making sales.

      • Re:No Way! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by FatherOfONe ( 515801 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @11:09AM (#5476622)
        You paint a bad picture for the PS2/3. I will counter that with a bleak picture for the Xbox.

        Xboxes currently being built are being sold below cost. One core reason is that Microsoft can't force (easily) Nvidia and Intel to lower the price of their hardware. So while Sony combines chips to lower manufacturing cost, Microsoft must still pay the higher cost, and loose money on each Xbox sold. Nintendo and Sony don't.

        Xbox sales are WAY below what Microsoft had hopped they would be. Understand that Microsoft generally sets extreemly low expectations for their products, and then brag about how great it is selling! Their shareholders were kinda pissed about 40Billion in the bank and no dividends being paid. Microsoft paid some, but now those same shareholders don't want Microsoft loosing money.

        Microsoft has been trying to get developers to ONLY develop for the Xbox. Very few companies have done this. The core problem is that Sony owns a HUGE chunk of the console market, those developers don't want to exclude that market.

        Now the biggest issue. The Xbox is just a Inter/Windows PC. Software development companies that "port" their games to the Xbox from the PC because it is "easy" find out that 95+% of their sales comes from the PC market. The Xbox generally competes against another Microsoft product... the pc. The customers that have an Xbox seem to also have a great PC, and the games play much better on their PC. There are a few exceptions, specifically sports games.

        A HUGE mistake Microsoft made was giving up the younger generation market to the GameCube and only going after the ~15-35 year old males. So the way I see it the maket kinda breaks down as follows:
        Kids and family gamers - Nintendo
        14-40 year old males without a good PC - Xbox
        Everyone Else Sony.

        That is a HUGE everyone else!

        I believe that Microsoft will probably not develop an Xbox2 for a LONG time if at all. If they put in a new Intel and Nvidea combination, then what would that buy them? The games run at 720X512 resolution? How much more is a P4 3GH and new Gforce going to give you, at that resolution? Yes 4X anti-aliasing is nice, but the current Gforce does a fine job at that low resolution. Now if HDTV becomes more mainstream, this may change things... but that will be a LONG way out.

        I honestly believe that Microsoft is going to get out of this market, but it will take a few years, and they will continue to support the current Xbox for at least 3-4 more years. Their primary concern is getting Intel and Nvidia to lower the cost of their chips!

        It has been said before, but it is the truth. When Microsoft can't leverage it's OS, it doesn't do well. I don't see Office for the Xbox any time soon.

        Another mistake is betting heavy on online games with the Xbox. Sony is kinda falling in to this trap to some degree. Nintendo is the smartest in this one... This is a topic for another day though... Just imagine letting your 6 year old play "Mario Online" and having them ask you what all those cuss words mean.

  • by SnowDog_2112 ( 23900 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @09:50AM (#5476089) Homepage
    Sony may be winning the console war, but I'd say their hold on their lead is pretty tenuous. They need to keep people buying their systems.

    My impression, and I admit it's from a pretty cursory overview of the console world, is that the PS2 gets its market share because of its market recognition (the name "Playstation" means "home console" in much the same way "Atari" used to) and its huge game library. Folks who are real graphics nuts are talking about how much the PS2 lags behind the competitors in terms of how "pretty" the games are.

    A fully backwards-compatible PS3 would definitely help this, without losing their two main advantages in the market. A PS3 that isn't backwards compatible had better have some real big pluses going for it.
    • Hear, Hear! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mantrid ( 250133 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @09:56AM (#5476117) Journal
      I truly hope the PS3 will be backwards compatible. Definitely for PS2 games - as there are many I'm sure I will still play for years to come. PS1 would be nice too, but I rarely play any PS1 games anymore - I've got a few kicking around (King's Field, Vandal Hearts, and Frogger for the wife) - but heck it's probably trivial for them to include PS1 compatibility so they'd better do it!!

      One thing I would like to see that annoyed me about PS2- I think that they should've included the ability to partition off a small space in the PS2 memory card for a PS1 compatible storage area- it's a pain to swap cards (the PS1 cards don't always seem to like to fit as nice). If the PS3 has a HDD or higher capacity capabilities of some sort, I truly hope they allow this sort of thing for PS2 and PS1 media!
    • does anyone honestly believe that after a great success w/backwards compat. w/the PS1 that the PS3 wouldn't be compatible back to the 1 and 2? Hell, I cannot find a game in a "new video game store" for an N64 but I can find PS1 games... Funny eh?

      Other comments about the reason that this isn't going to fly is the rumor that the PS3 would be fitted w/a possible SMP system? I am too lazy to search for the article but I believe that is what they were planning on developing (although it was most likely rumor and happened several months ago).
    • by EvilTwinSkippy ( 112490 ) <yoda@et o y o c . c om> on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:03AM (#5476165) Homepage Journal
      Sony may be winning the console war, but I'd say their hold on their lead is pretty tenuous. They need to keep people buying their systems.

      Funny. I was under the impression that they were beating the pants off of everyone else. Hell, I'm seeing PC games being ported to the PS2. Sony's brilliant move was to be loose with the licenses so that developers could afford to take a risk. This may explain the 5 racks of PS2 games at the local game stop as opposed to the 1 rack of Xbox, and the 5 racks of games for the PC.

      Frankly I do see a difference between the major game consoles in performance, but if Intel has taught us anything it is be the first with the worst. The PS2 does and adaquate job with every game I've thrown in it. For the price, the selection, and the fact it doesn't eat an entire shelf by itself, PS2 wins.

      That said, consoles are gettign to be so cheap that you can afford to have more than one. My wife is talking about getting a gamecube for the little one. I'm for anything that keeps the kids off my PC.

      • by vidnet ( 580068 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:14AM (#5476246) Homepage
        I'm for anything that keeps the kids off my PC.

        Like drugs?

        (sorry)

      • if Intel has taught us anything it is be the first with the worst.

        And if the 3DO and Dreamcast have taught us anything, Intel was just lucky.
        • SEGA! (Score:2, Interesting)

          the 3D0 wasn't a bad system, certainly not "the worst." And Sega's problems post-Genesis have always been with marketing and getting game developers to develop on their systems. They really burned a lot of people with the Sega CD followed by the 32X followed by the rush job they called the Saturn.

          I think if Company X, Company Y, and Company Z have taught us anything it is that you can't define a market strategy that will always work in a sentence. Yes, sometimes lesser products to gain footholds because of lead time and sometimes they don't. In business, it's not always quality that is king. There are quite a few more issues and trying to simplify those, as you did or as the parent did, are just going to fail.

      • but if Intel has taught us anything it is be the first with the worst

        I've said for years that this is why Sega can't afford to make consoles anymore. The software developers definately do their job better than the old market analysts did.

      • by RedCard ( 302122 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:30AM (#5476354)
        While it is true that the PS is beating the pants off of every other competitor right now, you're forgetting the volatility of the console market itself. There was a point in time when the NES's lead seemed unassailable, but the SNES was only able to sell 1:1 with the genesis, and then both sega and nintendo were shellacked by the playstation.

        So what's the point? The point is that every manufacturer's lead is "tenuous at best" and that the fates of the current generation have little to no effect on the next.

        That being said, this is the first generation of systems where backwards compatibility may become widespread. This could act as a wildcard, and reduce some of the historical volatility that we've seen in the industry.

        As for 'be the first with the worst' - we've seen that proven untrue time and time again in the games industry.

        Finally, towards the end of every console cycle, consoles get so cheap that you can afford to buy more than one of them. When the next generation hits, they'll be so expensive that you'll only be buying one... at least for the first year or two. In fact, I would suggest that you could probably judge the time-to-death of the current life cycle by the relative afforability of the consoles. The more you can afford to buy, the closer they all are to going belly-up.
        • by dead sun ( 104217 ) <aranach&gmail,com> on Monday March 10, 2003 @01:34PM (#5477820) Homepage Journal
          Perhaps I really shouldn't be stating this, just in case some console bigwigs are reading this post, but I can't help myself. Backwards compatability means that I will buy a console of a different manufacturer the next time around. While it may be true that I would do so anyway, backwards compatability more or less guarantees it. Last generation I had (well still have I guess) a Dreamcast. Even had Sega followed it up and released a backwards compatable unit, I probably still would have bought a PS2 this generation. Why? Because now I can play all those PS1 games as well. Sure, the PS1 is awful cheap now, but I can instead put that money towards games.

          If next generation comes around and the PS3 is backwards compatable with the PS2 and PS1, and the Gamecube 2 plays its own games along with the original Gamecube's, I'll probably get a Gamecube 2. Only because now I can't play Gamecube games except at friends' houses where there are Gamecubes. If the trend continues then I'll be able to buy a PS4 or something and still get the games I missed (at a discount no less) and be able to play a whole different system with two generations of games until then.

          So I guess in regards to my opening, backwards compatability could be a double edged sword. If you don't have it, the console isn't going to look as attractive to those who didn't have your last generation console as well. If you do have it, people may give your console a miss this generation if they already have systems that are covered by the backwards compatability, and hope for backwards compatability again next generation, and go buy a different console that covers two generations they don't own.

    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:37AM (#5476405) Homepage
      The Playstation 2 does have the "videogame shorthand" going for it, as did Atari and Nintendo. However, what keeps it in the #1 position is a full library of great titles, like Devil May Cry 2, etc. That lead becomes cemented because developers looking to stay profitable aim for the dominant console, and so the cycle continues. That is not what I would call a tenuous lead, that's a solid lead.

      However, what you say after that is unfortunately totally wrong. A backwards compatible PS3 does not help the PS2 to "catch up" to the X-Box or the 'Cube in terms of graphics capability. A backwards compatible PS3 would be an entirely new system, which would segment the existing market and the development houses into multiple camps. You would have a large group of people who just invested money in the PS2 who would feel cheated by Sony (see also: SEGA), and who wouldn't buy the PS3. Likewise, the PS3 at this point might look better than the PS2, but not enough to justify spending an extra 300 dollars for most people. What you would have is a halfway release, cutting off the value of the previous generation of console while not delivering on the promise of the next. Plus, you again are saddled with a console that isn't as powerful as the machines from Microsoft and Nintendo when they release on the regular 5 - 6 year cycle. In short, Sony releasing a backwards compatible PS3 would ruin the market for them.

      A *forwards* compatible PS3 might be interesting, but such a PS2+ in order to not break PS2 compatibility could only contain more RAM, a few more graphical tricks, etc... but would royally tick off development houses who already find the PS2 to be a tremendous programming burden and wouldn't give the games any kick more significant than the PS2 can do for PS1 games (or perhaps the RAM pack did for the N64).

      And let's not forget, to achieve backwards compatibility with the PS1, the PS2 uses the PS1's processor internally as a DSP. Many games leverage that extra processor to help balance processing loads. This is one of the things that lead to the developer lament that the PS2 is the hardest console to develop for. For a PS3 to be backwards compatible, it would need to contain the chipsets of the PS1 and the PS2. The Emotion Engine is probably too large of a financial and technical burden to be included as a throw-in to the next generation of consoles (Hitachi made the SH-1 for other uses besides the PS1)... Such a solution would not be feasable until the PS2 chipset can be had for under 40 dollars, and with Sony having to keep a full fab plant running just for the emotion engine that doesn't seem likely.

      No, releasing the PS3 now would be an incredibly bad move. Sony needs to accept that the system they released is just not quite as graphically powerful as others on the market, and play up its strengths:

      System releases are like a game of chicken... you always want to release with a better technology than the other guy, which usually means launching just after them. But you do have to launch, and you don't want to give your opponent as large a launch window as Microsoft did with Sony. So the game continues, but the PS3 remains, thankfully, quite a while off.
  • by motardo ( 74082 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @09:51AM (#5476091)
    ...for one reason only. PS2 is currently taking up the large share of the market as of right now, and sees now signs of slowdown. The only time that I think Sony would bring one out is when it sees imminent competition from the next consoles from microsoft or nintendo.
    • Also would seem a bit stupid to roll out a new PS with the online ps2 rollout going good at the moment.

      Imho if PS3 was on the horizon wouldn't they of canned the online part of the PS2? Seems alot of money wasted on something that will last less than a year...
    • It's the same old trick. Stop people buying your competitors product by promising something better soon. Repeat until you actually have something to offer. It's a trick Microsoft have used many times too.

      I'm going to fetch my broom...
  • by Spencerian ( 465343 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @09:52AM (#5476097) Homepage Journal
    Sony was the first major game console maker I can think of that allowed reverse compatibility with its previous products. You couldn't use NES carts in Super NES, nor SNES in N64, etc. The XBox should allow reverse compatibility and, to some, is a superior platform to PS2. However, Sony has the stronger mindshare.

    But things change. The PS needs to stay competitive, and I was very concerned in news that PS3 wouldn't show as fast as Microsoft could update its XBox.
  • What about games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by r_arr ( 613036 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @09:53AM (#5476107)
    Have they sent out any kits to game makers, you can't sell videogame console without games.
    • Re:What about games (Score:3, Informative)

      by luzrek ( 570886 )
      Hmmm... I wonder if the first batch of PS3's really will be produced mid-year and goto game manufacturers rather than consumers. It sure would make one hell of a product anouncement. Hypothetically in mid-June we might read, "Today Sony shipped 3000 Playstation 3's to game producers. M$ cr**ed its pants."

      Whenever the PS3 comes out I sincerely hope that it is backwards compatable with the PS2 (and PS). Perhaps even in the same way the PS2 was backwards compatable with the PS. The entire previous system was produced on a single chip and inserted in the PS2 in addition to the PS2's own circutry (the same chip was the origin of the smaller PS). If Sony anounce that this would be the case with the Playstation 3 I think it would keep current PS2 owners from buying a XBox.

    • Have they sent out any kits to game makers, you can't sell videogame console without games.

      That never stopped Sega. Remember Saturn? Didn't think so.
  • by al_fruitbat ( 617734 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @09:55AM (#5476115)
    Why would Sony shoot themselves in the foot like this? They're the current console market leader with millions installed, everyone's developing games for their system and they make money off of every title sold. Hell, in the console war, they're still selling a less powerful machine for more money than the others. All the while, Microsoft is bleeding on each Xbox it subsidises. So according to this article, they go and ruin it all by making the public think the Playstation2 is going to be outdated this year? I don't think so...
  • Test/demo silicon (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Uncle Ira ( 586682 )
    There's no way- devkits haven't even been released to developers yet (have they?). So that leaves, what, 6-month development cycle for a next generation game on radically different hardware? Seems unlikely.

    If there's any grain of truth to this story at all, it probably has something to do with a few prototypes. That would give Sony time to have some hardware demos ready for the next E3. Then the promotional onslaught we've all come to know and love can begin.

    • If there's any grain of truth to this story at all, it probably has something to do with a few prototypes.

      I was thinking this too. Or possibly a PS2+: same software, same performance, smaller form factor with built-in broadband, lower manufacturing costs.

  • by Nexum ( 516661 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @09:56AM (#5476122)
    I would put a lot of money on it not being available this year.

    This article reeks of "reports" from another source which itself has "unverifiable contacts" etc. etc.

    Even if the hardware is progressing quickly it would be a watershed moment in the industry for a concept on the scale of complexity of Cell to be available 2 YEARS early.

    Also what about the games? So you release the console 2 years early and have no games available for it? No way, this story is rubbish, read my lips, the PS3 will not be available for purchase this year.

    Sony's strategy would be undermined by releasing the PS3 now. Look how long the PS1 was on the market for, personally I see this as a great thing, I know when I buy a Sony console it will be around for a LONG time compared to other consoles, and that means a huge guaranteed selection of games in the future etc. etc. This is a key part of the Sony strategy that they would never go against even if the hardware was ready.

    One thing I hope it comes with is a CD burner... I think there is a great market for home users to burn compilations of tunes onto CD, and would be a gateway technology for home users downloading tunes from some online service... let's not forget how big a record label Sony themselves are... that's an asset Microsoft could NEVER approach...

    -Nex
  • and when they push it out too early someone else will go on the same idea and be a best seller!!! (Anyone think of Dreamcast here?)
  • Maybe not in 2003 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by OuD ( 527033 )
    The chip, called "Cell", is still in development

    I don't think we're very likely to see this in 2003..


  • Wouldn't a 2003 (perhaps even 2004) release hurt Sony in the meantime, as people hold off on purchasing PS2 consoles in anticipation of the new unit? Sony gives such large lead announced times for release dates that it gives consumers time to consider purchasing already existing hardware, knowing that they've got X months until the next big thing comes out.

    If anything, such a rumor could help the competition.
  • by presroi ( 657709 ) <neubau@presroi.de> on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:00AM (#5476148) Homepage
    My favourite word has always been "vapurware" so I'm very confused. How do you call things that arrive at the market *before* the exspected release date? HurryWare? ChronitonWare?

    I won't start an "ask slashdot"-Session for this but I'd like to invite you for collecting new words for this phenomenon.

    Disclaimer: PS3 has still chances to become VapourWare :)
  • Sony GSCube (Score:5, Informative)

    by SnowDog_2112 ( 23900 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:02AM (#5476156) Homepage
    This article [wired.com], from Wired in May 2001, talks about how Sony was giving developers access to some prototype PS3-style hardware for tinkering/hacking. Granted it was just a bunch of beefed-up PS-1 processors in parallel, but it shows they were already courting developers for the PS3 a year ago.


    Here [com.com] is a similar story on CNet.


    And, for more on the "cell" technology, check out this Red Herring article [redherring.com] from last summer, and this Inquirier.net [theinquirer.net] article that includes a picture from the USPT office.


    Given all that, I'd still be surprised if this was in US stores in time for XMas. I just don't think they'll have enough time to hype it sufficiently. On the other hand, if the tech is really almost done, do they want to wait until XMas 2004? Hrm....

    • On the other hand, if the tech is really almost done, do they want to wait until XMas 2004?

      That's easy: To give developers some time to come up with games that require all that horsepower. If I have learned anything from watching Sony, they never just sell you a product. They sell you a platform. (Which may partly explain the Sony Vaio on my desk that talks to my Sony Digital-8 camcorder over a sony Ilink...er...ieee1394 cable.

      They know people aren't going to buy a system just because it is faster or can display more polygons. They want to sell you a system that is going to do something the previous system couldn't do. I can't tell you how many of my friends bought a PS2 because it ALSO played DVD's.

      I think between the very friendly response to the Linux hackers, and an emphasis on networking, Sony may be making a run at an alternative platform for home computers.

  • by Boo Robin ( 657702 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:04AM (#5476172) Homepage Journal
    It's great to hear that the Playstation will be updated. But honestly, who wants to dish out another $500? I'm still debating whether or not to buy a PS2.

    But knowing how the game world works. Most people will run out and buy one the very same day it is released. This is madness. They are just doing what Sony wants them to do. Purchasing the console at an inflated price for maximum profit. If you go buy a PS2 right now for $300(Canadian), the store's profit is about $5. Compared to the $200+ when it is first released.

    In all reality, I'll probably buy one. But not until the price drops.
  • Well duh (Score:4, Funny)

    by one9nine ( 526521 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:04AM (#5476173) Journal
    How else are they going to compete with the YBox and Game Pentagon both coming out this August?
    • Wouldn't that be 'Game Hypercube'?

      Wonder what that design would look like.
      • I wanted to put the name of the solid that is formed from pentagons (i.e. a cube is a soild formed from squares) but I couldn't remember it and now it's driving me crazy. Does anybody know?
  • by akiaki007 ( 148804 ) <aa316@@@nyu...edu> on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:04AM (#5476176)
    Also picked up on Bloomberg. I don't have a link to the article, but here is the entire article:

    Sony Denies Report That It Will Release PlayStation 3 This Year
    2003-03-09 22:29 (New York)

    Sony Denies Report That It Will Release PlayStation 3 This Year

    Tokyo, March 10 (Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp., the world's
    largest maker of video-game consoles, denied a report in Taiwan's
    Commercial Times newspaper that it will introduce the successor to
    its PlayStation 2 video-game console as earlier as this year.
    ``The report is wrong,'' said Koichiro Katsurayama, a
    spokesman at Tokyo-based Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., Sony's
    games unit. ``The timing of the successor machine to PlayStation 2
    has not been decided.''
    Sony may start selling the PlayStation 3 in Japan as early as
    mid-year and overseas by the end of the year, two years ahead of
    schedule so Sony can widen its lead over rivals Nintendo Co. and
    Microsoft Corp., the Commercial Times said, citing unidentified
    people at Taiwanese parts suppliers.
    Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. of Taiwan, which assembles
    the PlayStation 2 for Sony, and other parts suppliers on the
    island will start trial production next month, the report said.
    Speculation over the timing of Sony's next console comes as
    Kyoto-based Nintendo, the company behind the Mario the plumber
    game character, prepares a new version of its GameCube machine.

    Chip Development

    Tokyo-based Sony, in collaboration with International
    Business Machines Corp. and Toshiba Corp., is developing a new
    processor, called ``Cell,'' which will be capable of handling
    sophisticated graphics and sound over the Internet.
    Sony and Toshiba, Japan's largest chipmaker, plan to use
    ``Cell'' in a range of digital consumer products, including TVs,
    cellular phones and the successor to the PlayStation 2.
    The chip is still in development, Molly Smith, a spokeswoman
    with Sony Computer Entertainment America, said on March 4.
    Sales of the PlayStation 2 console, which debuted in Japan
    three years ago this month, exceeded 50 million units in January.
    Sony released the PlayStation 2 four years after the company
    introduced the original PlayStation console.
  • hope it's not true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lingqi ( 577227 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:06AM (#5476194) Journal
    I just bought a PS2, dammit (for the japanese release of FFX-2, which is this thursday (3 more days)).

    The real thoughts behind it, though, is two fold:

    1) processor speed / tech really depends on fabrication technology more than anything - I mean, you have to hit the same price point, so you can't go invest same HUGE amount of chip-area for your super-woozie processor; which means that if it's released this soon, the technology is not that new and it's not gonna be "that cool."

    2) PS2 are still selling like hot-cakes. about a month ago they started colorized PS2's in Japan, silver, sakura (pink), and light blue (which I forgot the name). some might argue that it's the same "re-do PS1" route, but the format is still the same, until they can shrink PS2 a lot (reduce heat, power consumption, etc etc too), I don't think PS3 will be released

    3) not to mention that based on (1) and (2), no way will PS3 be back-compatible, given the current processor technology

    Granted, though - 2003 may mean tomorrow or thankgiving; with enough advertisement they probably can make a christmas release; but again, they don't have a reason unless they think X-box will take over (and X box is not selling that well in japan, despite being only priced at some 170 dollars equiv, while PS2 at over 210) - besides the release said that it won't be in time for the US release anyhow.

    forgot my point, but it's kinda late to be not sleeping. ciao.
  • by forged ( 206127 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:09AM (#5476205) Homepage Journal
    Duke Nukem Forever !!!

    </sarcasm>
  • hardware != PS3 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YE ( 23647 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:20AM (#5476287)
    With the absurdly difficult to program architecture the rumors are pointing at (8 PowerPCs controlling 8 "Cells" each), my guess is that developers will need at least 12-18 months to crank out the first games. So trial runs in Q3 2003 means prototype devkits in developers by Q1 2004, for a launch in early 2005.
  • by EvilTwinSkippy ( 112490 ) <yoda@et o y o c . c om> on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:21AM (#5476289) Homepage Journal
    This to me is a very healthy sign for the game market. The fact that Sony is in good enough shape that:
    • a) They consider it worth their while to stay in the market
    • b) They have been doing all this research behind the scenes. In the past game companies have been out front with their new consoles as a distraction from the competition and the flagging sales of their present system.

    I have to give Sony one giant attaboy for turning the game market into a real industry. They aren't trying to sell you the house-brand games. They really worked on making the systems mass-produced (i.e. cheap.) They have games for the $10 market (kids with an allowance) to the $60 market (kids at heart with a toy budget). They managed to grab the DVD craze, and also allow the unit to act as an appliance to play movies.

    The industry is developed to the point that a bunch of colleges in my area have started to offer Video Game Development as a major.

    I have no idea what the PS3 is going to do differently, which is probably why they are quitely rolling it out.

    As a funny note, when I typed in "playstation 3" under google, they have a link to this thread on slashdot already.

    My minimal research leads me to predict the PS3 will be a geometric improvement to the performance of the PS2, and be backward compadible given the similarity in architecture. Reading the tea leaves I thing it will incorporate networking. The real barn stormer will probably be a special disk with the minimal distro of Linux containting a web browser that will allow the PS3 to act as a web appliance.

  • by magicsquid ( 85985 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:23AM (#5476302) Homepage
    The Dreamcast came out a full year before the PS2, but no one seemed to want one. Why was that? I think it was because Sony was out there saying "Our console will be the best piece of electronics in history. We will be able to render Toy Story quality graphics on the fly. The PlayStation 2 will make you feel better about yourself just for owning it... etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseum, repeat." They started 2 years before it came out and hyped it to extreme levels. That plan obviously worked for them, because even though everyone I know who bought one at launch was very disappointed, they had already fallen prey to the hype machine. They were now betroathed to Sony, like it or not.

    The same thing seems to be happening with this story. Sony is using these unknown sources to grab mindshare right now, so that in 2005 when the new Nintendo and Microsoft consoles come out, consumers will be foolishly waiting for all the promises of Sony to be delivered.
  • Story is a fake. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:26AM (#5476315)
    Turns out the story is a fake, here is true story

    Story [excite.co.jp]
  • I don't think so. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sk3lt ( 464645 )
    Come on it's Sony.. if they were going to be releasing the PS3 this year then there would already be tons of advertisements and articles straight from the horses mouth.
  • PSM April Fools joke (Score:5, Informative)

    by gurnb ( 80987 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:32AM (#5476363) Homepage
    This was listed as a 'news' article in the APRIL edition of PSM. It also stated that ALL games on the PS3 would be cell shaded, and would even convert 'old' games to cell shade technology. The last line refernced that fact that this was an April Fools Joke.

    Guess the real joke was on Bloomberg News.
  • I don't buy it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doomstalk ( 629173 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:38AM (#5476412)
    The author of the article doesn't seem to get that an early launch can work against you as much as launching late. Drive the PS2 to obsolescence now, and you piss off developers with software in the works, and gamers who just bought one. Not to mention that a launch now would mean exactly zero launch titles for the PS3, since I doubt most developers have the final specs, let alone an actual development unit. And if they did manage to miraculously pull a title out of their proverbial rear ends, it probably wouldn't be very good considering the huge complexity of the PS3's proposed architecture (something on the order of 74 processors total).
  • PS3 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jhines0042 ( 184217 )
    I will buy a PS-3 when Gran Tourismo 4 comes out for it.

    Gran Tourismo 3 is why I bought a PS-2

    GT 2 and GT 1 are why I bought a PS-1

  • by Featureless ( 599963 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @10:44AM (#5476451) Journal
    This rumor can't be true for the simplest and most basic reason - the money doesn't work.

    You build consoles and sell them at a huge loss. It's a multi-billion dollar gamble only the largest players can attempt. If you win, you get a piece of the action for every product sold on your (dominant) platform, _and_ over time, your margin on the hardware comes back out of the red, and you make a profit selling that too. Sony has now been profitable on the PS2 hardware for some moderately short period of time.

    In order to make the billions necessary to go it again in the next round, you have a nice, long run with each platform. This is one of the good things about the console business model. Rather than the upgrade race the PC software vendors and hardware manufacturers like to suck you into, the console vendors are incentivized to make each revision of their hardware go as long as possible, so as to maximize their profits.

    While Sony may be concerned about Microsoft's growing marketshare, last I checked XBox wasn't even close to PS2's penetration. Trying to pre-empt xbox2 may be on Sony's mind, but given that sales of PS2 hardware and software are exceptionally strong (in fact, record breaking) right now, releasing a successor product will just kill their money factory. Yes, I'm sure prototype hardware will be floating around before long, and I'm sure the first games that will come out on the system have already begun. But Sony will wait as long as humanly possible before a retail release. Only lagging sales, or (much more likely) Microsoft and Nintendo will push them out of the gate, and it's way too soon for that.
    • by Kintanon ( 65528 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @11:35AM (#5476849) Homepage Journal
      You build consoles and sell them at a huge loss. It's a multi-billion dollar gamble only the largest players can attempt. If you win, you get a piece of the action for every product sold on your (dominant) platform, _and_ over time, your margin on the hardware comes back out of the red, and you make a profit selling that too. Sony has now been profitable on the PS2 hardware for some moderately short period of time.

      Ok, this will be the fourth time I've done this, so PAY ATTENTION. The per unit cost of each PS2, is GREATER than the per unit cost to build the PS2. The same was true for the PS1. They are not "taking a loss" on the consoles. Sony never has done that and never will. You can view it as "taking a loss" only if you divide the R&D cost across the first year of consoles, but the fact is that Sony sells each console for more than it cost to make that console. They had recouped their R&D by the middle of the second year the PS2 was out, they have been making straight up profit for over a year and pushing that into the R&D for the nextgen. Currently Microsoft is the only player on the market taking a loss on their consoles.

      The nextgen Sony console will most likely be released for Christmas of 2005, but if there doesn't seem to be a new console coming up from Nintendo or MSFT Sony will very likely hold the actual console release a bit. Their plan is usually to release just a few days or weeks before Nintendo does, but advertise for a year or so beforehand.

      Kintanon
  • Even if the PS3 is ready to go and backwards compatable to PS1, what's the point? There's nothing to use the new technology.

    I have no doubt Sony wants the technology as a ready as soon as possible, but they're not going to release unless there's a Killer Game or three out there and available and even more in the pipes. Otherwise what's the point?

  • If developers haven't heard of the PS3 yet, and the average game development time these days is two years, then this rumor is unlikely to be true. Sony could pull a Nintendo and release a handful of internally developed games at launch, followed by a long drought, but that's about it.
  • 2005 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by emh0 ( 632902 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @11:01AM (#5476555)

    There was an article on the IBM intranet a few months ago (the PS3 chip is being developed jointly by Sony, IBM and Toshiba), which says "Japan's Sony Corp plans to outpace its main rivals into the next generation of game machines by launching a successor to the PlayStation 2 (PS2) in 2005, earlier than expected".

    Somehow, 2005 seems far more likely to me - releasing the PS3 is pointless until the PS2 is actually threatened.

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