So, finally, we can quit with the guess work.
This morning Sony said the PS3 will, in an echo of the Xbox 360's debut last year, be arriving simultaneously in the US, Japan and Europe in November.
Phew. We knew the initially mooted spring launch went out the Tokyo window a while back due to complications over the PS3's high tech innards - the Blu-Ray drive and new Cell processors apparently being the tricky bits - but we had feared the next gen console would miss 2006 in the UK entirely.
Sony's also promising to avoid the shortage cock-up that befell Microsoft and the 360 last Christmas, when the act of buying an Xbox was harder than completing Project Gotham 3 on the fifth skill level. To avoid supply issues, a million PS3s will be built every month.
9.30AM update: the PS3 will hit shops 'early' November. Sony's folks tell us the new high-def console will definitely support the 50GB dual layer version of Blu-Ray as well as the standard 25GB single layer versions. Which is good news if HD movies on Blu-Ray take off on a big way.
Excitingly, Sony also revealed the final missing info on the next Playstation:
- the hard drive will be a monster 60GB job - the same as the top iPod and more than three times the capacity of Microsoft's Xbox 360
- it'll definitely play all old PSOne and PS2 games. Phew, we can still play the original version of Soul Reaver
- there'll be what Sony's calling a 'home server' feature. There are no further details, but we take that to mean streaming music, videos and photos from PCs, PSPs and other PS3s. It's also a given that you'll be able to connect up Sony Walkmans, Cybershots and - probably, considering the console has Bluetooth - Sony Eric phones such as the P990i.
- the OS running things is Linux.