Sony's plans unveiled at GDC

PS3, online strategy illuminated at keynote speech

Another, slightly more shocking announcement was the revelation that the PS3 will indeed be a global, region-free system. This implies that import gamers won't need to modify their systems to play Japanese or European games, and software pirates will have one less excuse for modifying theirs.

All this is possible, Harrison said, because of Sony's proprietary Blu-ray Discs, which will have enough capacity to enable publishers to cram multiplelanguage tracks onto a single disc. So, your dream of playing the next Harry Potter in Swahili may finally be realized. Regardless of what the publishers decide to do, however, Harrison was very clear about one point. "Software will be region-free," he said at a question-and-answer session following the keynote.

The rest of the speech was dedicated to developers showing off a few games (clickherefor a rundown), and detailing how the new online initiative will affect the PSP. There were two main points there - the first is that content downloads, including full versions of old PSone games, are on the way, as is a web browser. By the way, the browser will purportedly be able to view pages that have Flash animations, which are sometimes a stumbling block for less robust browsers.

The second big online deal is that the upcoming, enhanced EyeToy camera is intended primarily to turn the PSP into a video phone, though Harrison obviously said it "could" be used for gameplay. So could an upcoming GPS add-on for the handheld. The speech didn't touch upon how the PS3 and PSP might be used together, but Harrison promised to be more revealing at E3 in May.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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