PS3 HDD to be sold separately?
So says Famitsu.
The hard drive for the PlayStation 3 will not be bundled with the machine, but will instead be sold as an add-on unit, according to press reports in Japan which seem to confirm earlier hints dropped by SCE boss Ken Kutaragi.
The latest issue of Famitsu includes a feature about the PS3 hardware which says that the device will ship with a slot for a hard drive - which can be found on the underside of the machine, and is designed to accommodate a 2.5" hard drive package - but not with the drive itself.
The hard drive, Famitsu claims, would be sold separately - much like the hard drive for the PlayStation 2, which is used by a small number of games, most notably Square Enix' massively multiplayer title Final Fantasy XI.
The PlayStation 3 is expected to use its hard drive for a wide range of media functionality, such as the ability to download media from online stores and possibly even to rip DVDs to the drive.
Kutaragi has previously hinted that Sony hasn't reached a decision on the inclusion of the drive, and has also suggested that the drive may be up to 80Gb in size - compared to just 20Gb for the drive in the Xbox 360.
It's not clear whether Famitsu is simply basing an assumption on the inclusion of the drive on Kutaragi's previous comments, or if the magazine actually has new information about Sony's thinking on the matter.
If PS3 doesn't ship with a hard drive, it will give an edge to the Xbox 360, particularly in terms of massively multiplayer games - an increasingly popular genre which currently requires significant amounts of storage on the client side. Sony may be hoping, however, that the PS3's superior capabilities for removable storage, which includes slots for Memory Stick and other types of high-capacity memory cards, will allow MMOGs to be played on the console even without a drive.
It's also possible that Sony may adopt the approach which many commentators expected Microsoft to follow with the Xbox 360, by launching two versions of the PS3 - one without a hard drive and with limited media capabilities, and a more expensive model with a hard drive and full media functionality.