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Friday, 18 February, 2000, 22:43 GMT
PlayStation site crashes

playstation2 Sony has high hopes of the next generation


Sony had to shut down its website briefly after being overwhelmed by people trying to order its PlayStation2 video game console.

The site received 100,000 hits in just a minute when sales of the new version of the popular video game went online two weeks ahead of its launch in Japan on 4 March.

The site was down for two hours.

The new 128-bit PlayStation2 player is the successor to the world's most popular game system.

Sony hopes consumers will use the machine as a central component linking digital Walkman stereos, televisions and other internet devices for services such as online gambling and films.

"We received far more accesses than we had imagined on the web," president Ken Kutaragi said.

Even after the failure, the site still received an average 400,000 to 500,000 hits per minute, he added.

The flurry of activity bodes well for sales figures - the company had planned to sell just 1,000 units to its online customers.

Banking on success

Its software developers are confident that the machine will provide an enormous boost to Japan's huge video game market - worth some $9bn a year.

"Sony's (PlayStation) will come to the top," said James Reed, international product manager at software developer Jaleco.

Sony's chief rivals in the video game industry are Nintendo and Sega. Videogame magazine publisher Mediaworks said nearly 90% of its readers voted for the PlayStation2 as their preferred choice in a questionnaire, while only 5% choosing rival Sega's Dreamcast.

"Unless Nintendo comes up with really unique features, the PlayStation will just swell the market," said Mediaworks' director Kozo Takahashi.

Nintendo plans to launch its own next-generation console, code-named Dolphin, later this year.

But the future is unpredictable.

"To be honest, in this rapidly changing era of the internet, what will happen three years ahead is totally unpredictable. It's a gamble. But we decided to go with Sony," said Kaz Ichigaya, executive director at game software designers Artdink Corp.

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See also:
03 Oct 99 |  The Company File
Japan's Electronics Giant
27 Oct 99 |  The Company File
Sony profits tumble
24 Nov 99 |  Business
Dreamcast beats Playstation record

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