PS3 hard disk confusion

HDD to be sold separately?

Sony Computer Entertainment's chief technology officer Masayuki Chatani has cast doubt on the company's plans to include a hard disk unit in the PlayStation 3's launch package next spring.

Speaking in the pages of Japanese magazine Famitsu, Chatani said that a strategy had "yet to be decided", but added that he felt people would want to upgrade to higher capacity drives - the implication being that Sony would shy away from making the hard disk unit an obligatory part of the PlayStation 3 launch package.

Sony has previously identified a detachable 2.5" (laptop size) hard disk drive as an optional storage peripheral, and it is believed this will slot inside a small rectangular port located on the underside of the unit.

However the company has never said that a hard disk would be bundled with the unit at launch, and Chatani's comments this month seem to suggest it's erring toward not including one - and perhaps offering the peripheral optionally in the same way it currently sells Memory Card units separately from PlayStation 2.

Chatani also said that he expected people to unplug their hard disks and move them between PS3 units, implying a similar functionality to that of Xbox 360, whose detachable hard disk units appear designed to be portable rather than optional.

The biggest question now, of course, will be what impact such a decision would have on the PlayStation 3's price tag, which is already expected to be higher than that of its rival Xbox 360, which launches this winter. Microsoft's J Allard recently said the Xbox 360 would cost in the region of US$300.

Sony declined to clarify Chatani's comments prior to publication.

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