The following is being reported at gamespot.

PlayStation 3 not a console?

While Sony basks in the success of its PlayStation 2, expectations are rising that its successor will be out by 2005, in an entirely different form.

Sony remains tight-lipped about the timing of its next-generation product's debut, but it is dropping some hints about the PlayStation 3's likely shape--or more accurately, lack of shape.
"We're not thinking about hardware," said Kenichi Fukunaga, spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment. "The ideal solution would be having an operating system installed in various home appliances that could run game programs."

Fueling expectations of a 2005 target date is a chip project between Sony, IBM, and Toshiba, Japan's largest chipmaker and coproducer of the PS2's complex microprocessor. The four-year project, code-named Cell and set for completion in spring 2005, aims to create a powerful processor for home electronics with ultrafast Internet connections that could, for example, transmit high-resolution moving pictures.

"It's possible PlayStation 3 would come out in 2005, since that's when Sony's Cell project will yield something," said Kazuharu Miura, an analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research. He added that, by 2005, Japan's broadband infrastructure for high-speed Internet service will be largely complete, and Sony will likely have a clearer idea of what kind of online games people want to play.

Sony said it had not decided how to integrate the Cell processor into its next game console, but the general idea is to use the chip in Internet servers and home electronics to divide computing tasks among networked machines.

This would give the devices as much processing power as a supercomputer, such as IBM's Deep Blue machine that defeated Gary Kasparov at chess, and enable them to handle everything from games to video recording to downloading data from the Internet.

"We've started with boxes--making boxes to do specific things. But if you have a chip this powerful, you can add functions to any box. It's reverse thinking," Fukunaga said.

By Reuters, News.com [POSTED: 09/06/02]