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Sony says PS3 will be region-free

Games, certainly; movies... maybe

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Sony has confirmed that the PlayStation 3 will not impose a region-coding scheme on games. That the consumer electronics giant was considering such a move was first signalled in November 2005, but it was made official policy this week by the company's head of games development, Phil Harrison.

The revelation came in a Q&A session following Harrison's Games Developer Conference keynote yesterday, according to IGN.

Of course, the move is unlikely to extend to movies purched on Blu-ray Disc, though there are signs that, in the early days at least, first-batch next-generation optical media will lack region coding. Certainly, some drives are expected to be set as region-free units.

The move away from region coding appears to have been spurred by the desire to scotch the mod-chip business, in part created to allow console owners to buy games on territory and play them on hardware purchased elsewhere. There's an argument that the movie industry could do more to limit piracy if it adopted a more global approach to the release of new movies.

DVD region coding was predicated on the need to launch titles in different markets at different times, but it too has forced many consumers to seek out region-free DVD players or to modify their machines that way. Global launches make staggered roll-outs - and thus region coding - unnecessary. ®

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