TOKYO -- Sony Computer Entertainment has announced specifications and other plans for the next generation of its highly successful PlayStation set-top video-game platform.
making it the leading game platform. The new unit will be "backward compatible," or able to play software designed for the first game platform, according to Sony.
The new PlayStation will compete with the Nintendo 64 system, now on the market, and the Sega Dreamcast system, which has not been released in this country yet. Both the new Sony and Sega machines are 128-bit, while the Nintendo unit is 64 bit. With a 128-bit processor, the new system "massively" increases the quality and performance of graphics and will use DVD-ROM discs, compared with the CD-ROM discs used by the old PlayStation, Sony said. A concept called "Emotion Synthesis" will allow PlayStation II machines to simulate not just how the images look, but how the characters and objects in a game think, act and behave, said Sony. The new system will use MPEG2 image-decompression technology, which is widely used today for image-based DVDs. The company did not reveal pricing.
"This system is more than a technical upgrade. It is a new delivery channel for interactive entertainment," said Ken Kutaragi, executive vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment. Nobuyuki Idei, company president, said, "I believe the next-generation PlayStation will become one of the pillars of Sony's business." Meanwhile, the manufacturer has established a new subsidiary to manufacture the Graphic Synthesizer, which is the main graphics processor for the new PlayStation system. Also, Sony and Toshiba Corp. have established a joint venture to produce the 128-bit central processing unit for the system.