Sony Computer Entertainment Australia's managing director, Michael Ephraim, has suggested that games for the next-generation PlayStation 3 console may not be region encoded.
"If you look at the fact that it will support high-definition TV, which will be a global standard, there's a good likelihood that it will be global region, as for example we've done with the PSP," Ephraim told Australian IT.
The move would mark a significant shift for the company - PSone and PS2 titles come in PAL and NTSC formats and there is no crossover.
However, as Ephraim noted, PSP games are not region locked. As a result, more units than usual were imported into Europe following delays to the launch, with consumers confident that they would be able to play European games on their Japanese or US PSPs. Sony ended up taking the importers to court, and it seems likely that the company would want to avoid a similar situation when the PS3 launches.
One way of doing this would be to launch the console in all the regions within a short time frame - something which Microsoft is about to do with the Xbox 360, and which Nintendo has also hinted at. Sony, however, is still keeping silent on launch plans - CEO Howard Stringer recently suggested that the PS3 would launch in spring 2006, though he did not specify in which territory.