Keen to counter Microsoft's announcement of the Xbox 360 with an announcement of its own, Sony has revealed the Playstation 3, and has promised to demonstrate prototypes of the console during the E3 Expo in Los Angeles.

The PS3 will utilise a PowerPC-based Cell processor, which Sony claims contains no less than eight cores which are clocked at 3.2 GHz each. There is also the "RSX" graphics engine, courtesy of NVIDIA, which is based on a 550 MHz GPU that offers 1.8 TFlops performance.

"RSX will be the most sophisticated graphics processor ever built, representing 1500 person-years of investment. When combined with Cell, it will provide an astounding two teraflops of floating point horsepower. A measure of the extraordinary processing power of RSX compared to current-generation game consoles is the numbers of transistors it will contain: 300 million." - Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA.

Additionally, the PS3 will sport six USB 2.0 ports, slots for Memory Stick, SD and CompactFlash media and a detachable 2.5-inch hard drive. Support for wireless networking, like the other next generation consoles due to appear, is also built in. The PS3 will also support the new Blu-ray format (BD-ROM, BD-R, BD-RE, BD-Video), and will be fully backwards compatible with the original Playstation. Currently, Microsoft's Xbox 360 is only set to offer partial compatibility with the original Xbox.