A new picture purporting to be of Sony's next-generation PlayStation has been "leaked" onto the Internet, but a number of elements point to the image being an impressive fake rather than a genuine leak.
The picture originally appeared on technology blog Gizmodo where it was accompanied by a note saying that the site's staff couldn't "vouch for the validity" of the image, and has since been posted to numerous sites and forums around the web.
The mock-up shows a black and silver console with one rounded end, presumably designed to stand vertically or lie flat - similarly to the existing PS2 console - and slot-loading bays for Blu-Ray discs, Memory Stick Duo cards and UMD discs.
However, the image, which is numbered as "Page 12 / 18" and designed to look like a presentation slide, contains a number of inconsistencies which suggest that it isn't really a PlayStation 3 we're seeing.
For a start, the use of the phrase "PlayStation 3" on the slide is unusual, since Sony has been carefully avoiding using that phrase in association with its next-generation console, and sources close to the company - including graphics chip manufacturer NVIDIA - have stated that the system will not be called that.
The presence of a UMD bay is also peculiar; it's labelled as "PS3 / PSP UMD MediaMove" in the picture, which suggests that it would be a drive for writing UMDs as well as reading them, but Sony has so far been hugely resistant to that concept.
Indeed, the company is so determined not to allow people to write to UMD discs that even game developers working on PSP games haven't been given drives that can do so, and instead have to send off builds to Sony to be put onto UMDs for testing purposes.
Other small inconsistencies abound - in particular, it's odd that the sleek fascia doesn't include any activity lights for the presumably wireless controllers. The lack of controller ports is to be expected, but activity lights almost certainly will be de rigeur on the next-gen machines, since without them it can be a nightmare to work out when a controller isn't working properly - as any Nintendo Wavebird owner can attest.
In summary, then, it's a very professionally made image, but it's certainly a fake mocked up by a graphic designer. The real apparance of the system will only become known in mid-May, when Sony finally unveils the real next-generation PlayStation at its pre-E3 conference in Los Angeles.