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Appeared on: Tuesday, March 14, 2006
PS3 Details Eyed as Sony Opens Meeting

Sony said on Tuesday it will allow the media and analysts to attend an annual meeting for third-party software developers of its PlayStation video game, prompting questions on whether it will give details on the launch of its next-generation console.

The meeting, in Tokyo on Wednesday, had been intended only for software licensees and was closed to analysts and reporters.

Sony Computer Entertainment President Ken Kutaragi will attand the meeting, and analysts hope it will disclose the launch timing and price for the much-anticipated PlayStation 3 (PS3) console.

"These events typically address platform strategy, loyalty structures, development-related plans and other details that aren't as interesting to us, but the fact that they opened the meeting up raises the possibility that there might be more," said Yuta Sakurai, a senior analyst with Nomura Securities.

Sony said late last month it still aimed to launch PS3 this spring, but said it could be delayed if industry specifications for some of the technology were not finalised soon.

The PS3 launch has been the subject of heavy speculation in the industry as expectations are high for the powerful machine, which will feature cutting-edge technology in its DVD player, processors and graphics.

Analysts generally expect the PS3 to be launched in the United States and Japan in time for the year-end holiday season for about $500, with an initial software lineup of at least five to 10 games.

One analyst, who declined to be named, said he believed Sony was unlikely to give such details on Wednesday because it would have planned a much bigger event for such a disclosure.

If Sony were to provide such details now, it would also risk conceding the limelight to rival Nintendo at the key E3 annual industry trade show in Los Angeles in May.


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