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Sony shrugs off Xbox 360 lead over PS3

/ Source: The Associated Press

A Sony Corp. game executive rebuffed concerns Wednesday that the PlayStation 3’s delayed launch would put it at a competitive disadvantage to the already available Xbox 360 game console.

“We have a tremendous piece of hardware ... and great creativity,” Phil Harrison, president of Sony Computer Entertainment's Worldwide Studios, told an assembly of reporters at the Game Developer Conference. “I have no concerns about the competition.”

Earlier, Harrison delivered the conference’s opening keynote before thousands of game developers, and apologized for the delay, which was announced in Tokyo last week.

The worldwide launch will now take place in November instead of the expected staggered launch, first in Japan in the spring followed by North America.

In addition to demonstrating the powerful high-definition graphics capabilities of the upcoming PS3, Harrison detailed the underlying strategy of the device as a networked machine.

The console will act as a media server for the home, Harrison said, allowing it to deliver content to other devices on a user’s home network, including the PlayStation Portable.

More importantly, the online platform of PS3 will enable new features, ranging from video chat and voice communications over the Internet to the ability to purchase and download game or other entertainment content directly to the machine.

Instead of relying on sales from consoles and packaged game sales, Sony plans a variety of revenue sources. Among them: an online PS3 store to sell downloadable content, including full-versions of games themselves; subscriptions for online game play or different levels of service; micropayments for game objects or other media; and perhaps payments for “episodic” content, he said.

The PS3 delay comes at a time when competition in next-generation game consoles is heating up. Microsoft Corp. already put the Xbox 360 on sale last November and, capitalizing on Sony’s delay, the company said this week it will increase production to help meet demand. ( is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)

Nintendo Co., the Japanese manufacturer of Game Boy machines and Pokemon and Super Mario game software, is also planning its version called Revolution later this year. The president of Nintendo is slated to speak at the conference on Thursday.