GDC 06: Sony Q&A raises PS3 HDD, controller questions

Phil Harrison's postpresentation comments cast doubt on hard-drive being bundled with the new console, raises prospect of "batarang" redesign.

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SAN JOSE, Calif.--After presenting his keynote address at the 2006 Game Developers Conference, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Phil Harrison held a brief luncheon with selected members of the gaming press. While the lunch was fine, the Q&A session that accompanied it raised more questions than it gave answers.

Affable on stage, Harrison grew testy at the questions directed at him. After repeating Sony's previous assertions that all PlayStation 3 games would require the hard drive to run, he rebuffed questions on whether PlayStation 3 would ship with it. "I'm head of software studios, not hardware," said a vexed Harrison. His remarks appeared to contradict recent European press reports that said Sony had confirmed that the next-gen console would come bundled with a 60GB HDD.

Then, when asked a software-specific question--whether the PS3 games shown at the presentation would be available at launch--Harrison was once again evasive. After declining to "speculate" on the console's launch lineup, he then simply said that question would be answered "at E3."

Another of Harrison's comments raised questions about another part of the PS3's hardware. The console's controversial controller, which has been derisively nicknamed the "batarang," was not displayed next to the PS3 console that was on stage during Harrison's speech. When asked if a recent legal ruling against Sony by peripheral-maker Immersion, which accused the company of infringing on its patent to create the PS2's Dual Shock controller, prevented its display, Harrison issued a stern denial.

Harrison then said that "the PS3 controller will be revealed at E3." (Emphasis added.) Though he would not elaborate, his comments appear to imply that the PS3 controller has been redesigned, as some sites have reported. When asked for clarification, a Sony rep would only say, "To date, the PS3 controller shown has been a prototype. I can confirm that Phil stated the final PS3 controller will be at E3."

For more news from the event, check out GameSpot's GDC 2006 page.

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