PS3: Explained

Can we expect any more surprises?

Of course! Crucially, Mr. Kutaragi's announcement included no game details. Further titles will surely be revealed at E3 in May, and Sony is hoping to release the PS3 with a bigger line-up of launch games than the Xbox 360. Then there's the controller, which has been under wraps since the overwhelming - andcompletely under-informed- hostility shown to the boomerang-like model Sony showed off early last year. Some Sony reps were quick to brand the controller a non-final prototype, but other sources claimed it was pretty much done. We'll reserve judgement until we hold the final model, but we're definitely eager to see what that final form will be.

Finally (and more worryingly) there's the issue of pricing and availability. However, Sony has announced thatit will be churning out roughlyone million PS3s each month, withthe aim being to move six million machines by March 2007.Feed this rate of manufacture into some backwards math - six million by March divided by five months between November and March -and it appearsthat at leastone million PS3s will be available at launch.

In fact, we've heard that three million units is the launch target. However,that number seems to defy Sony's own"Six mil by March" plan, so take it with a grain of salt. The point is that there should be more PS3s at launch than there were Xbox 360s this past fall, and the supply should flow more steadily as well.

It's going to be a long, hot summer.