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Launch date could be announced this week

CES Logo There’s only one big gaming expo left before the PlayStation 3’s planned Spring 2006 release — the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 5 - 8. Sony’s CEO, Sir Howard Stringer, will be making the keynote address, and we can expect there to be a lot of new revelations about the PS3. The most important one: a release date.

Of course, there’s no official confirmation of what Stringer will say, but this seems like the perfect venue for the announcement, and time is running short — especially if the system is still on track for a Spring release in some territories. The next question: where will the system be released? The rumors floating around now generally point to a release schedule similar to that of the PS2: Japan around March, North America around October, and Europe and the rest of the world a few months later.

This is still all speculation, but by the end of the week it could very well be set in stone. So stay tuned, and we’ll put it all right here as it happens.

• The Week Ahead: Jan. 2-6 [Forbes, last item]

EARLIER: Rumor has it PS3 development has run into a lot of problems. And will Microsoft pit Halo 3 against the American PS3 launch?

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