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Sony PS3 Release Update

With the XBox 360 selling at a fast pace and opening our eyes to high def graphic capabilities, just when will the Sony Playstation 3 finally be released?

Sony has always been pretty tight lipped about exactly when the PS3 would come out for consumers. A big problem is that they are on the very cutting edge of technology, and to be honest, that technology isn't "ready" yet. They are attempting to incorporate both a new "cell" kind of CPU as well as a high def DVD technology.

On the cell side, the claim is that it will be far faster than the XBox 360. The problem is that it's not being made in bulk yet. They have to ramp up the actual manufacturing process before they can put them into gaming units.

On the High Definition DVD side, anybody who is following this war knows what a nightmare it is. Remember the old problems of VHS and Beta formats for VCR tapes? This is the exact same thing. We all want high definition DVDs. There are currently two competing formats, though. One is called HD-DVD, which Microsoft wants everyone to use. The other is Blu-Ray, which Sony wants everyone to use. Neither side is backing down, and it may mean that we will have two types of players and two types of disks on the market shortly.

These formats haven't even been finalized, never mind had players built yet. We all know what happens when a new technology comes out on the market. Remember the first REGULAR DVD players? Those cost a ton of money when they first came out! Some people estimate that the first high definition DVD players that come out will be around $1,500 each. That's just for the player. If Sony is going to stick a high def DVD player into every unit, it's either going to make the unit VERY pricey or is going to mean that Sony loses a ton of money with every sale.

Sure, the prices for technology always drop over time. Heck, "in the old days" buying a 1 gig hard drive was incredibly expensive. Nowadays you can buy 300 gig hard drives for not a lot of money. But are gamers really that patient? Are we going to wait a year or two for the price of Blu-Ray drives to drop, so that we can afford to buy our PS3 gaming unit?

It's likely that Sony will split the difference - wait until Holiday Season 2006, just like the XBox 360 did, to do its big launch. That gives them time to crank out a lot of Cell processors. It gives them time to let the price of these Blu-Ray drives to come down to something at least semi-reasonable. It also gives the game makers time to actually make some games for this unit.

I really feel this will suck on one hand - I really want to play with the PS3!! But if it means that the unit will be "only" $500 each- instead of $1,500 each - I will quite happily wait a few months for that. Sometimes it pays to be patient.

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