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Friday, March 23, 2007

Who Is Afraid Of Sony?

The answer really seems to be Microsoft.

If I were to believe last year's hype that the PlayStation 3 was simply a non-player in the console market, I don't see why the company which at one point declared gamers didn't need HDMI and didn't need 1080P are now upgrading their line to support ... that's right - HDMI and 1080P. Even to the point of slapping on a larger hard drive and scraping closer to PS3 price points in a clear attempt to undermine Sony's selling points (although Microsoft still refuses to camp HD-DVD in the same tent, unlike Sony's Blu-Ray solution).

And now the European PS3 launch, considered mediocre by most accounts, is routinely heckled by Microsoft PR. While it's easy to write this kind of thing off as simple pranks and media stunts - remember that this kind of thing takes a decent amount of money and organization.

If Sony has the "least wanted console in recent history" as described recently in the press, why bother? Why bother with either one? The "Elite 360" lineup is particularly bizarre. If, as some suggest, Microsoft is planning to simply upgrade the hard drive and output of the Premium 360 at no extra cost to the user (and hopefully with cooler and more stable hardware in general) ... why not just do it? If it's not really ready for production yet - why bother putting out a version at a cost nobody wants?

Or am I not to find it curious that a very PlayStation 3-like version of the 360 (heck, it's even black) hits the mumblevine the same month as the Euro launch?

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