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PS3 launch details next week?

Major announcement on the cards for the 15th, so maybe.

Information from a number of independent sources is suggesting that Sony may announce further details of its plans for PlayStation 3 next week in Tokyo, with the revised launch schedule for the console being at the top of the agenda.

News of a planned Sony Computer Entertainment press conference on March 15th was leaked by Koei boss Kiyoshi Komatsu, who told press at an unrelated conference in Tokyo about the existence of the event and speculated that "some details about the PS3 might be announced there".

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Sony Europe sources confirmed that a major announcement is planned next week, but would not be drawn on details of what will be discussed - which does mean that it's by no means certain that PS3 will be on the agenda.

However, the timing of the announcement suggests otherwise, coming as it does a week before the Game Developers' Conference in San Jose, and two weeks before the end of Sony's 2006 financial year.

Announcing further PS3 details in Tokyo next week would allow Sony to give the Japanese press and business community forewarning of anything that may be discussed at GDC, and would give SCE worldwide studios boss Phil Harrison a far wider range of topics to address in his eagerly awaited keynote speech in San Jose.

Crucially, it would also keep the announcements well away from the firm's year-end, a period when it's generally frowned upon for large Japanese corporations to make major strategy announcements.

Sony's current line is that there has been no change to its original plan of launching PlayStation 3 in spring, but few in the industry find this timescale realistic, with Namco Bandai president Takeo Takasu describing it this week as "impossible".

In related news, Chinese technology website Mydrivers this week reported comments made by an unnamed source at Taiwanese firm COMPEQ, which is one of Sony's manufacturing partners for PlayStation Portable. According to Mydrivers' source, COMPEQ will begin building printed circuit boards for PlayStation 3 in June or July - implying that the assembly of the console won't begin until mid-summer at the earliest, and making an autumn launch seem all the more likely.