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Sony's plans made public

Arcade centre PS2s to be developers; i-mode lead to become available shortly

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

The speculation about Sony's decisions for the next fiscal year was silenced today by a news conference in which SCE president Ken Kutaragi spoke to reporters about the company's planned moves into the arcade market with Sega and Namco, and the i-mode deal with NTT DoCoMo. The big news was the arcade collaboration. Sony will be working with Sega and Namco, two of the world's biggest arcade powerhouses to develop an advanced version of the PlayStation 2's hardware for use in centres. Changes to the technology will include high-resolution monitors, as well as a high-speed fibre optic network that will connect multiple gaming centres across the country by video and in mulitplayer software. The move will likely be more successful than the recent residential trials of ~3Mbit variable fibre optic connections, which we spoke about in an editorial last week. Limited tests of the arcade service are expected to go live this year, with a fullscale nationwide service as early as 2002. The upgrades to the PS2 architecture may take into account the recent graphics chipset updates that Sony have been hammering on about to various e-news oracles, but Mr. Kutaragi mentioned nothing of the sort. Of course, this sort of upgrade could well be made part of a second generation of these machines for mass-production in a similar manner to Sega's old AM1/2/3 upgrades. According to Yahoo, the only concern on analysts lips at the time was of profit - specifically how quickly the company was likely to turn one from the new structure, but the company declined to release information on the costs of the programme so early on. Sony's deal with NTT DoCoMo over its i-mode mobile phones was also discussed. There has been plenty of interest in this of late, what with similar announcements involving NTT's overseas partners and of course mobile phone behemoth Vodafone. Very soon now, Sony will launch a cable to connect PSOne consoles to the i-mode mobile on March 29th, retailing for about $30, as well as new versions of PlayStation software with i-mode support. I-mode mobile phones will now be able to display data on PSOne TV screens, and according to NTT yesterday, Sega arcade machines as well. The various announcements have prompted a slight improvement in Sega's shares, and a modest drop-off in Sony's, presumably because of the non-disclosure of details about the company's expenses in the arcade area. Nonetheless, a lot of companies will come off nicely at the end of the day. Related Feature - Vodafone sign with Sony

Source - Yahoo

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