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PlayStation 3 launch 'ahead of E3', says Sony

But how far ahead?

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Sony will unveil its PlayStation 3 console before the start of the E3 games show, company spokespeople revealed this week.

E3 opens its doors in Los Angeles on 17 May. The implication of the Sony staffers' comments, made to US news site GameSpot, is that PS3's outing will come much sooner.

However, as European news site GamesIndustry.biz points out, Sony often holds launch events just a few days ahead of E3; and everything the Sony representatives said this week could also apply to such a time as, say, a late March announcement.

Sony itself signalled that the event could come much earlier than just ahead of E3 at its last annual analysts' day. Its roadmap, which accurately listed the Japanese and US PlayStation Portable release dates, points to an announcement well ahead of E3, in Q1 2005, the last quarter of Sony's FY2004, when ends on 31 March.

Schedules change, of course - look what appears to have happened with the PSP's European launch. But with this week's formal unveiling of Cell, the processor used in PS3 - not to mention the anticipated launch of Xbox 2, and possibly Nintendo's 'Revolution' too, at E3 - Sony may well want to kick-start public interest in PS3 as soon as it can.

Then again, the console is more than a year away from shipping - according to the previously mentioned roadmap - so a month here or there may not matter too much to the company. ®

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