Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) has just announced that the PlayStation 3 will get a simultaneous worldwide release in "early November".
The announcement was made at SCE's 2006 PlayStation Business Briefing, when Ken Kutaragi, head honcho of Sony's games division, confirmed the console will launch in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America simultaneously. Just like the Xbox 360 did.
Sony had originally been aiming for a spring 2006 launch window (i.e. now) for Japan, but Kutaragi said Sony couldn't meet its previous deadline due to technical hiccups with the copy protection technology on the console's Blu-ray Disc drive. In other words, the Blu-ray partners couldn't agree on which method to use to stop filthy pirates copying PS3 games and hi-def movies.
Crave is hardly surprised at the delay, particularly as games developers still haven't got their hands on PS3 development kits -- they're due to arrive in June. It's also worth pointing out that Sony has never launched a console without first showcasing it alongside fully playable games at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), held each May. At last year's event, all Sony could manage was a series of rolling tech demonstrations, none of which ran on final PS3 hardware.
Other funky details emerging from the 2006 PlayStation Business Briefing included the news that the PS3 will run all legacy PSOne and PS2 games at high-definition resolutions, and that the console will ship with a 60GB hard drive. As well as storing games content, this will act as a server, allowing users to store and share multimedia files around the home -- in the same way the Xbox 360 can be used as a Media Center Extender.
The PS3 will also launch alongside a dedicated online games service to rival Xbox Live, which at its most basic level will be free of charge.
Unfortunately, there's no word yet on how much the console itself will cost. Analysts expect it to retail somewhere in the region of £400, but we'll give you the official scoop as soon as we get it. In the meantime, have a butcher's at our PlayStation 3 preview. -RR