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PS3 is 'entertainment centre'

Says Ken Kutaragi.

Sony Computer Entertainment boss Ken Kutaragi has outlined his vision for the PlayStation 3 as an media centre which excels at all forms of entertainment, not just games - and criticised the design of Xbox 360.

Speaking in an interview with Japanese website Impress PC Watch, which has been partially translated by GameSpot, Kutaragi argued that the PS3 "is not a game machine", saying that the company has "never once called it a game machine".

Instead, he says, it has been designed as "a computer that's meant for entertainment", fulfilling the motivation of Sony Computer Entertainment to "[explore ways of] applying the power of computing to entertainment and enjoyment".

Kutaragi highlighted the specialised nature of the hardware within the PlayStation 3, including the custom-designed Cell microprocessor, which he claims gives the system supercomputer-style processing power and is designed specifically with entertainment functions in mind.

"PCs that are currently available have been created as work tools," he commented. "They've begun selling computers with media playback capabilities, such as the Media Centre PC, but those just imitate the functions of home electronics. It's not like those machines have been created solely for entertainment."

He then extended this comment to make a dig at Microsoft's Xbox 360 console, which is due out later this year, saying that the system is more like an "Xbox 1.5", since it seems like an extension of the original console, and criticising its architecture - which uses multiple general purpose CPUs - saying that it "will only benefit general applications" as opposed to entertainment functions.

Speaking more specifically about the functionality of the system, Kutaragi said that an online storage system called Cell Storage would allow users to store their media and process and refine it using idle time on the Cell chip itself, performing tasks such as scaling up standard video to High Definition. The system's security will also enable users to make protected "rips" of their DVDs, he claimed.

PlayStation 3 was unveiled in Los Angeles last week, and is expected to launch in Japan in the middle of next year.