Sony launches PS3, its latest gaming console

The console wars are back again. Sony launched its latest mean gaming machine, Playstation 3 (PS3), last week in Japan and it is now out in the U.S. However, the rest of the world will just have to wait. Such is the demand for the new system that there is a ballot in Japan to decide who gets to buy the first pieces. And the ballot, about 30,000 yen (Rs.11,500), does not include the price of the station, which itself costs about 100,000 yen (Rs.38,000). Gaming consoles have come a long way since Nintendo in the 1980s. The PS3 promises to go one up over Microsoft's Xbox 360, which set the benchmark for consoles last year. It might be just to play games, but you will be amazed at the amount of computing power that this sleek machine packs. The first versions of its IBM processor clock at 3.2 Ghz and its cores are split to multi-task. And then there is the dedicated graphics chip, which clocks 550 Mhz and uses 300 million transistors. Add a 60 GB hard drive, blue-ray disc drive, wi-fi Internet, a built-in browser and you are putting most home computers to shame. The presence of a new Six-axis controller with a motion sensing feature means that some games could be played by just tipping the controller. Now the price of the console might be within the reach of most of our gadget-savvy souls, but it is the accessories which will burn a hole in the wallet. I tried the Xbox 360 and trust me it isn't fun plugging it into your run-of-the mill colour television. These consoles support the highest standards of colour and detail rendition, which are fully exploited only by a high-definition television. Then you come to the sound, which requires its own home theatre. Do the math and also add the cost of a good leather beanbag! India seems to be on the very far horizon when it comes to consoles, and you would be saving a lot of time if you told your cousin to get it from the Unites States. Gaming here is on the up but is yet to get the kind of devotion that makes people wait for days in queues outside retail outlets. It is strange that none of the big console makers - Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft - has made a serious attempt at marketing their products here. Going by the initial reviews of the PS3, it seems I need to find that cousin who is in Detroit.Nintendo's answer to the PS3 and Xbox 360, will be launched in the first week of December.ANAND SANKAR