Sony's Ken Kutaragi outlined the PlayStation 3's release schedule at the PlayStation Meeting 2004 held yesterday in Tokyo, in response to concerns that Sony's next-generation console will lag behind the competitors (namely the Xbox 2, which is said to be released next year).

"There's much talk here and there of next-generation consoles, and all kinds of rumours sprout up if we keep silent," said Kutaragi. "We want to discuss what kind of strategy we will have with our next-generation console's release."

Frequently referred to as PlayStation 3, the system does not yet have an official name, and was simply labelled as "next system" in the presentation. The company plans to unveil the system at E3 2005 playable, and will have a premier event in the following spring in Japan.

With Sony planning a release "exactly one year behind the PSP's," a release towards the end of 2005 in Japan remains a possibility -- however, it also announced plans to have "playable games by next-year's Tokyo Game Show (September 2005)," making a mid-2006 a more realistic estimation.