GDC 06: PS3 games region-free, movie/music download confirmed

Sony's next-gen console will play games from every territory; plans for media download revealed.


SAN JOSE, Calif.--At his post-presentation Q&A session, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Phil Harrison dodged questions regarding the PlayStation 3's hard drive and controller. However, he was more forthcoming regarding other aspects of the console.

While he wouldn't say if it would ship with the console, Harrison did say that the PS3 HDD "will also allow download of movies and music." While the PS3's media storage abilities had already been previously touted, the executive's comments indicate Sony may be planning to extend its soon-to-be-PSP-compatible Connect download service to the just-announced PlayStation Network Platform.

"There's no reason not to use the network to access any digital content," said Harrison. "We want [the PS3] to download movies, music, TV, or some blended combination."

Harrison also revealed that, like the PSP, all PS3 games would be playable in any region, unlike current-generation games and DVDs. "Software will be region-free, so developers can put games in the TV format of their choice," he said. Films, however, would remain limited to their regions of origin, as with movies released on the PSP's UMD format.

In his presentation, Harrison said that due to the high-storage capacity of the PS3's Blu-ray Disc (BD) format, publishers would be able to release a single SKU worldwide with all localized versions on a single disc. At the Q&A, Harrison said a BD--which can hold up to 50GB--will also be able to store various video formats (PAL, NTSC, SECAM) on one disc.

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