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Final PS3 controller, launch line-up at E3 - Harrison

More on digital distribution, too.

The PlayStation 3's final controller design and the console's line-up of launch software will be unveiled at E3, Sony Worldwide Studios head Phil Harrison said yesterday.

Speaking at a press luncheon, Harrison also said that Blu-ray disc "will be the primary distribution method for the triple-A games that you will see on the PS3," but that the "eventual shift" to digital distribution would be at a pace set by the consumer.

Sony wants to deliver episodic content - "whether it's game, music, television - or perhaps some combination of those" - through downloads for PS3, Harrison said, as part of a move to "push beyond the traditional gameplay we see in retail".

He also dismissed suggestions that the one-year gap between Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3's respective launches was a disadvantage, reminding those assembled that Sony has reached a market-leading position without ever being the first platform to market during a generation shift.

Having outlined Sony's plans for PlayStation 3 online and digital distribution, and demonstrated several real-time game demos before lunch, Harrison was meeting with the press to answer questions relating to the particulars of his presentation.

Asked if it would be fair to assume the games demonstrated during his keynote (see our previous coverage for more details) are launch titles, he said, "All of that will be answered at E3," but was reluctant to speculate further, other than to say, "I think it's fair to assume that the ones we showed you are going to be more advanced."

Another topic raised was the PlayStation 3's controller. The design of the prototype shown at last year's E3 has proven controversial, and Harrison reminded everyone of its prototype status in response to question about the impact of the Immersion lawsuit, which had "no impact" on the decision not to show the controller at GDC. "The controller will be revealed at E3," he stated - something later reaffirmed by Sony a spokesperson.

The Worldwide Studios boss would not be drawn on hardware issues, protesting, "I'm in charge of the software studios, not the manufacturing plant." Although he did say that Sony's production rate of one million units per month "is the fastest we've ever had."

Sections of the press have reacted with concern to Harrison's reluctance to comment directly on recent reports that the PlayStation 3 hard disk will be bundled with the console - following Sony boss Ken Kutaragi's revelation last week that it will be required. However Harrison has always chosen his words very carefully, and this reluctance is more likely out of a desire not to tread on his colleagues' toes than to create confusion or contradict previous statements. He did say, however, that, "Every single game will support a hard drive."

For more on the contents of Harrison's GDC keynote, and commentary.