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Sony PlayStation2 version 2.0

Ronald Hanaki
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Is Johnny the console gamer laughing at you for constantly upgrading your PC when he hasn’t needed to upgrade his PlayStation since 1995? Well, it turns out that consoles get revised, too. Daily Radar reported last week that the Japanese PlayStation 2 will get an overhaul.

The new system is now bundled with a large, full-featured remote control, and no longer comes with a memory card. The DVD drivers, once stored on the memory card, are now built into the system’s firmware, just as they are on the current US model. This does two things — it saves Sony a few dollars per unit, since the remote device is probably cheaper than a memory card, even with the small infrared receiver it’s bundled with. It also makes the process of watching DVDs on the Japanese system not only easier, but better, thanks to some brand new and relatively high-end new features, including A/B repeat and, more importantly, slow-motion.

Yep, remote control. Proving that ‘convergence’ is not just a buzzword, Sharky Extreme sees DVD playback as one of the PS2’s redeeming qualities in an otherwise tepid release. Moreover, GameSpot reported that Ergosoft and Planetweb have revealed a web browser and MP3 player for the PS2. Quick quote: “The browser is compatible with HTML 3.2; Cascade Style Sheet 1.0; GIF 87 and 89a formats; WAV, AIFF, AU, and MP3 audio formats; SSL 3.0; JavaScript 1.1; and Macromedia Flash 3.0. You can also send and receive e-mails and exchange PS2 memory-card files. The MP3 player will not only allow you to play MP3 audio files, but it will also play tracks from music CDs.

Microsoft’s Xbox looms in the shadows and without a doubt, Sony cannot remain sanguine in its bid to establish the PS2 as the must-have multimedia device in the living room. Consoles and other all-in-one type set-top boxes look to dominate the home in the next several years.

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