Ever since Sony announced the $600 price tag for its next-generation video-game console in May, Stringer and his team have been busy deflecting criticism from analysts and hard-core gamers that the PS3, despite glitzy features such as a Blu-ray disc, is just too darn expensive. Potential buyers, say the critics, won't be impressed enough to haul one to the checkout counter.
That might not be such a big deal if Sir Howard & Co. didn't have such grand ambitions for the PS3. But Sony has tied nearly every piece of its expansive operations-movies, music, chips, and high-definition television-to the console's success. The company plans to use the console as a Trojan horse to dominate the living room and, by extension, much of the entertainment industry.
The machine will have an Internet connection to let users send instant messages, talk to other PS3 gamers, and surf the Web on a built-in browser. And its hard disk and slots for plug-in memory cards will make it a cinch to sift through and play downloaded music or movie files-and allow Sony to funnel buyers toward its vast library of games, films, and music.