In light of the PStwo's unveiling earlier this week, Sony Computer Entertainment's American arm has come out and clarified the future of the Hard Disk Drive, and the message seems to be that people who want to use it will probably continue to do so using the older hardware, but that the PStwo will not be in a position to support it.
"The new PlayStation 2 was designed to be slimmer and more lightweight, and the current manufacturing, as well as capacity and design of the internal Hard Disk Drive would not allow for inclusion in the new hardware model," SCEA's statement says.
"The design of the new hardware is NOT a sign of Sony Computer Entertainment's change in philosophy regarding the Hard Disc Drive. The internal Hard Disc Drive will continue to be sold in North America and Sony Computer Entertainment America will offer related services and customer support."
"Consumers who want and use the Hard Disk Drive are typically the more 'hard core' gamers, and with more than 27 million PlayStation 2 units already sold in North America, we feel that a majority of those HDD interested consumers already have their PlayStation 2 units," it then says, somewhat at odds with the previous comment, before concluding, "We are also looking into other memory options that would be compatible with the new PlayStation 2."
Of course, given that we'll never see the HDD adapter in Europe, this is all a bit moot, but it's interesting to see what was once considered a prerequisite to the PlayStation's continued dominance - in light of the success of the Xbox hard disk - is no longer considered quite so central to Sony's plans. So, bad luck to fans of Final Fantasy XI, SOCOM II downloadables and Front Mission Online, but hey, at least you can have more space under the TV soon.