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PSX rolls out in Japan, but analysts disappointed

Specification 'blunder' bad for device's public image, apparently

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PSX, Sony's integrated games console, DVD recorder and digital video recorder, has arrived in Japan, but analysts now seem unconvinced by the machine following the company's decision to scale back its specifications.

Speaking to the Associated Press, analyst Kazumasa Kubota of Okasan Securities described the system as a "publicity stunt" and predicted that it would "sell well for a month or two, but the momentum isn't likely to hold up after that".

His sentiments were echoed by Kazuya Yamamoto of UFJ Tsubasa, who claimed that "lowering the specifications of the PSX hurt Sony's image", and stated the belief that the system has failed to deliver on its promise to be a "superior machine as a DVD recorder".

Strong words indeed, but it's not entirely clear where the hostility towards Sony's new system arises from. Even without the features deprecated (which include MP3 playback, display of certain image file formats and the ability to read CD-R and certain rewriteable DVD formats), Sony's PSX offering is still more feature-rich than any rival DVD recorder - and crucially, is also significantly cheaper.

To top it off, it's now emerged that many of the features which have been removed from the specification will be added to the system using software updates over the Internet in the coming months - with MP3 playback and support for all the image formats, among other things, expected to be reinstated shortly, while other features which weren't even in the original specification may appear over time.

Comments from other divisions of Sony have indicated that by the time the PSX arrives in territories outside Japan, the full original spec will have been restored. Given the attractive design, comprehensive feature set and low price of the Sony system, it's hard to believe that the buying public in Japan - who were apparently so taken with the PSX at its public unveiling this autumn - will be entirely put off by the temporary removal of some minor functions.

Copyright © 2003, GamesIndustry.biz

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