Market leader Sony is planning to diversify its PlayStation product family significantly in the coming years, with the company set to show a remodelled PS2 at E3 next month and multiple versions of the PS3 on the horizon.
Speaking in an interview on an official Sony website - which has now been pulled, and was apparently made public in error - SCEE president David Reeves strongly suggested that the PSP handheld and PSX home media centre would not be the only new PlayStation hardware devices on show at E3.
"Something we haven't talked about, is that we made a change from PlayStation to PSone," he explained, "so we may, in the course of time, make some cosmetic changes to PlayStation 2 and come out with something that's a little bit sexier, but probably no changes to specs or anything like that."
The PStwo console is likely to follow in the footsteps of the PSone by being significantly smaller, and the redesign would allow Sony to maintain a healthy price point for the PS2 platform going forward. Packing the PS2 components into a small case wouldn't be difficult at this point - after all, the company has effectively done just that to create the handheld PSP.
On the topic of the PlayStation 3, Reeves revealed that the company is considering launching multiple versions of the next-generation console, catering for a variety of different requirements and price points.
A version of the console described as the "home server" version would follow in the footsteps of the PSX media system, with "all-singing, all dancing features with maybe a hard disk drive" and a retail price take of "whatever it might be, â'¬600 or â'¬700."
However, for those just seeking a new games machine rather than a fully fledged home media server, the company could offer a stripped down system catering to the needs of those who "just [want] to pay 200 Euros for a new generation games machine," Reeves said.
Reeves also confirmed that the company is investigating the possibility of electronic distribution of content over broadband for its next generation system - describing the pursuit of this as the "ultimate goal" for the PlayStation 3, and stating that Sony hopes to see always-on network access and viable broadband distribution in place when the PS3 becomes available in 2006.
"It's going to have to be 2 or 3MB, something like that," he said, speaking about connection sizes - which are currently generally at 512k (0.5MB) in most UK broadband-enabled homes. "Ken [Kutaragi]'s even talking about 30MB! And when it gets to that, then it is broadband distribution, and people then can just download whatever game they want. But it's got to be secure, and that's where DNAS [Sony's online security protocol] comes in."