August 24, 2004 10:25 AM PDT

Amazon lists PlayStation 3

And the winner is--the Sony PlayStation.

While game console makers are still jockeying to beat each other to market with next-generation models, Sony achieved a dubious distinction recently by grabbing the first major retail notice for its upcoming machine.

The Japanese unit of online retail giant Amazon has posted a product page for the PlayStation 3, more than a year ahead of the console's expected debut.

The page has no photos or links for placing advance orders and appears to offer no significant new details on the console, expected to go on sale in late 2005 at the earliest. But that didn't stop several visitors from posting five-star reviews of the gadget.

Sony has slowly trickled out details on the PlayStation 3 over the past year, confirming that the console will use the high-powered "Cell" processor--jointly developed by Sony, Toshiba and IBM--and Sony's next-generation Blu-ray DVD technology.

Sony executive have also set broad target dates for the console, saying they'll have more details at a Japanese trade event in March and demonstration units at the E3 trade show in May. The company has yet to set a release date or price, however, nor to confirm details such as expected multimedia capabilities.

Rival console makers Microsoft and Nintendo are also working on next-generation consoles and hope to beat Sony to market. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently told CNET News.com that the company is hard at work on the next version of the Xbox, which he said he expects will outsell the PlayStation 3. Nintendo executives have made similar promises for their next console, code-named "Revolution."

Retailers have long tapped into the exuberance of hardcore gamers by taking orders for new hardware and games well in advance of their release. The Amazon PS3 page may set a record, however, for anticipatory retail zeal, rivaled only by an eBay auction offering supposedly exclusive details on how to get a pre-release version of the PS3.

 

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