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Sony to sell PlayStation 2 chips to other companies
(IDG) -- Just as Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) rolled DVD Video player functions into its recently launched PlayStation 2 (PS2) games console to give it a double role, the company announced last week that it hopes others will soon start building support for PS2 gaming into their consumer electronics products.
SCEI offered no more details on the plan, disclosed at a Tokyo press conference on Thursday, except to say that it plans to sell the PS2 chipset -- the brain of the PS2 machine -- externally in the future. The plan could see a range of consumer electronics products, including televisions and set-top boxes, doubling as PS2 consoles in the future.
The press conference was held to announce plans to build a new semiconductor production line to increase capacity ahead of the launch of the PS2 in markets outside of Japan. Such an increase in chip output is also vital if SCEI is to satisfy any demand for the chipset from other companies.
The Tokyo-based unit of Sony will spend 125 billion yen ($1.15 billion) during the current fiscal year, the period to the end of March 2001, to upgrade an existing line, build a new production line and invest in production at the factory of Oita TS Semiconductor Corp. (OTSS), a joint venture between SCEI and Toshiba.
Construction of the new 67.5 billion-yen production line, which will be situated alongside an existing line in Isahaya, Nagasaki prefecture, in western Japan, is scheduled to begin in July. Completion is currently slated for February 2001, with production to begin April 2001.
The new production line will have a capacity of 6,000 8-inch wafers per month, and capacity at the existing companion line, which will receive an investment of 23 billion yen, will be increased from 10,000 8-inch wafers per month to 12,000 units per month. Both lines produce the graphics synthesizer chip for the PS2.
At OTSS, which produces the Emotion Engine central processor, investment of 34.5 billion yen will push output up to 15,000 8-inch wafers per month from the current 10,000 units per month.
PlayStation2 due in U.S. this fall
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