The version of the Sony PlayStation 2 console to be released in New Zealand at the end of this month has an expansion bay for a hard drive or modem.
The original PlayStation 2 released in Japan had no such bay, but Sony delivered a new version of its highly-touted games machine in time for last month's US launch. Now, Europe, Australia and New Zealand will get the new model.
There was speculation in the US that the consoles would actually ship with a hard drive, modem or both, but they will appear some time next year, with the only peripheral available at launch being a multi-tap hub.
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has this year been touting the presence of a built-in hard drive in the company's forthcoming X-Box console – which is still more than a year away – as a key advantage.
The new SCPH-15000 design also fixes a glitch in the original run of the consoles that allowed out-of-region DVDs and games to be played. The machines released in New Zealand will be locked to Zone 4.
Coming after Japan and the US mean New Zealand gamers will have access to more than a dozen new titles, from SCE's own Tekken tag Tournament and Ridge racer 5 to Fifa 2001 and Snowboarding Supercross.
To Sony's chagrin, it also means access to a second of third generation of "mod chips", which will allow both copied and out of region discs to play. Modchip.com is already shipping such chips worldwide.
PlayStation 2 will go on sale from all usual outlets on November 30, at $990 including GST (compared to the US price of $US299).