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Sony 'PStwo' to kick PS2 out of PS3's shadow?

Announcement could come next week

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Sony is believed to be preparing a more compact version of its PlayStation 2 console intended to give the platform mid-life boost in much the same way it did with the original PlayStation.

Sony announced the PSone in June 2000, initially alongside the original console, but later, once the PS2 was widely available, in place of it. Sony used the device to win over consumers for whom the latest-generation console was too pricey.

The consumer electronics giant's move to register the name 'PStwo' as a trademark, signalled by market watcher PJ McNealy of American Technology Research, suggests that it is considering a similar strategy as the company prepares to launch the PS3, currently scheduled for Q1 2005.

Once the PS3 is announced, Sony may also feel the PS2 will need refreshment in order to counter a potential tail-off in sales as consumers prepare to wait for the new machine. A redesign might also subtly shift the console away from the audience the PS3 will be pitched at.

Some commentators have suggested that the PStwo could ship in time for Christmas - an idea given weight by the low levels of PS2 stock in the US, reported by GamesIndustry.biz. Indeed, the site suggests Sony's Computer Entertainment division may use its annual strategy meeting next week to announce the box.

Such an announcement could be seen as an attempt to counter Microsoft's upcoming Halo 2, which is expected to give Xbox a kick in the run up to Christmas.

However, with PS3's ship date -as opposed to its formal launch - still a long way off, and PS2's pricing now at an all-time low, now may not be the time to launch an alternative version. Sony may simply be registering the PStwo name now in readiness for a launch next year, or just in order to be sure of the name's ownership if it ever decides it needs the brand. ®

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