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Sony to sell PlayStation 2 mobos to arcade game makers

Deal confirms Emotion Engine performance - and production limits

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Sony is to provide eight giants of the videogame industry, including Capcom and Namco, with PlayStation 2 motherboards for their own coin-operated arcade game systems. Sony's motivation in the deal is clear: it wants to accelerate the translation of coin-op games to home consoles (and vice versa), and the easiest way to do that is to get the arcade software guys working on the very system that forms the basis for console. Traditionally, arcade games have provided the main inspiration for console releases. It's only when Sony simplified the PC/PlayStation porting process in order to increase the availability of PlayStation titles, that the console business and the PC game industry really got it together. Sony's scheme to simplify cross-platform development arguably made the PlayStation the success it is today - that and the use of cheap CDs rather than expensive ROM cartridges, of course - and clearly it's hoping to extend that cross-platform concept further with today's deal. It's also a major vote of confidence in PlayStation 2's technology. Consoles have always lagged behind the performance of dedicated arcade systems. While coin-ops are likely to stay ahead of consoles for some time yet - using hi-res monitors rather than lo-res TV screens is a big advantage, for starters - it's a testament to the power of the PlayStation 2's Emotion Engine CPU that arcade vendors are willing to use it as the basis for new coin-ops. That said, Sony did point out that, initially at least, the mobos will be shipped without CPUs, and that the company is "studying the possibility" of offering Emotion Engines to arcade game vendors. What’s wrong with this picture is that mobos tend to be pretty damn processor specific. You can't just shove a PIII onto a Power Mac G4 motherboard (not that you’d want to, mind...) And that goes double if you're looking to provide software compatibility. So we suspect CPUs are inherently part of the deal, it's simply that Sony can't supply them yet. There have been plenty of rumours that Sony and its processor partner, Toshiba, can't produce enough Emotion Engines to meet the demand for the PlayStation 2 when it launches next week, let alone supply third parties. Supply will be an issue, but while it's unlikely to dampen PlayStation 2 significantly, Sony will need all the chips it can get, and that rules out selling them to Namco and co. at least for the near future. ® Related Stories Sony confesses PlayStation 2 won't play all PSX 1 games 2m PlayStation 2s to ship in first 2 days -- Sony exec Sony to launch e-commerce biz to serve PlayStation 2 users

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