Is There a PSX2 in Your Future?

by Nate Heasley for Digital Living Today

Is it too early to think about that dreaded holiday? You know, the one involving an elvish home invasion? Probably… but if you want to guarantee that you get the most coveted gift of the season, I’m sorry to say that the season starts now. Arriving on shelves within the next few weeks is the next-generation Sony PlayStation, dubbed the PSX2. But because of chip shortages, it’s not going to spend much time on those shelves. The PSX2 could be the Furby of the 2000 holiday season.

This latest and greatest game machine is likely to be one of the most popular of all time. The reasons are numerous, but the primary one is graphics. The vaunted 128-Bit “Emotion Engine” that powers the graphics of the PSX2 is capable of rendering up to 75 million polygons a second. For those of you who might not know about video game technology, that means that it’s able to render realistic people and environments more than twice as smoothly as its closest competitor. Smoother graphics mean mind-blowing gameplay and more dangerously engrossing worlds, but more importantly, for the serious gamer, it means more realistic blood-letting. Oh boy!

The other feature that is causing such a panic among players is the DVD drive. This feature allows movies to be viewed through the machine, making it a dual-purpose entertainment system (and simultaneously making it easier to justify the purchase). No longer are the pre-teens of the household the only ones who’ll make use of the game console — now the whole family will want to hog it.

Add to those features an included modem and optional hard drive, and the PSX2 takes on a whole new dimension. The machine is designed for head-to-head multi-player gaming over the Internet, or via straight dial-up connection. Along with the recently debuted Sega Dreamcast Network, the PSX2 marks one of the first machines designed with such multi-player Net gaming in mind. The hard drive will allow saving games and characters, and even downloading optional add-ons and game levels.

Games for the PSX2, like the games for the older PlayStation, come on CDs. The PSX2 is backwards compatible, so older PlayStation games will still work on the new machine.

If this machine sounds like just the thing to brighten up that sullen teenager in your life (at least for a few days) or something that will give you a much-needed outlet for some virtual ass-kicking after a rough day at the datamines, you better act quickly. Despite prohibitions by Sony, many stores have pre-sold the $300 PSX2 and are already sold out. Others are likely to sell out on the very first day of sale. Of course there’s always eBay, where units will no doubt be selling for at least three times the retail price. But for that oh-so-special time of the year, it may be possible to convince your live-in Santa to pull out all the stops. You have been good, haven’t you?

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