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Wednesday, 16 May, 2001, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
Playstation 2 steps up its game
Sony is teaming up with several high profile companies to enhance its battle to keep its Playstation 2 console ahead of the game.
The electronics giant has formed an alliance with America Online (AOL) to enable fast internet access through its games console.
Extra Playstation 2 features will include instant messaging, chat and e-mail.
Sony is fighting to keep its place at the top of the games market with increasing pressure from Microsoft and Nintendo.
Microsoft's rival X-Box is being showcased at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles amid a fanfare of hype and excitement.
The GameCube from Nintendo is also being previewed at the event.
Under the new Sony and AOL agreement, the companies will work together to develop other interactive entertainment opportunities which will include the use of broadband technologies.
A Netscape browser for the console is also in development along with additional hardware including a hard disk drive, LCD display, keyboard and mouse.
All the new features are expected to roll out by the end of the year.
Sony Computer Entertainment president and chief executive Ken Kutaragi said: "With AOL by our side, Sony Computer Entertainment will begin to provide the world's content creators access to a new community for digital entertainment and distribution."
He said the company was "escalating the evolution of great gaming experiences into what will become a highly interactive, real-time broadband network environment".
Sony has also hooked up with software outfit RealNetworks to extend its online gaming market.
The agreement will enable the company's RealPlayer 8 to be installed on the Playstation 2 to give access to video on the internet.
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