Sony, Bandai team on Playstation 3 issue

TOKYO — Sony is teaming with Japanese vidgame publisher Namco Bandai to boost its troubled new PlayStation 3 console.

The two companies will partner on a new venture, Cellius, that will develop games for the PS3 that are designed to demon-strate the power of Sony’s Cell chip, the powerful engine of the vidgame console that Sony and partners spent billions to develop.

Cell chip makes the PS3 more powerful than Microsoft’s Xbox 360. But since most publishers don’t make significantly differ-ent versions of their titles for the PS3 vs. the 360, vidgame industryites largely agree that no games have yet taken full advantage of the Cell chip’s power.

Sony undoubtedly hopes Cellius will demonstrate the superior graphics and artificial intelligence capabilities of the PS3.

Sony has shipped about 1 million PlayStation 3s since it launched in North America and Japan in November. Microsoft has sold more than 10 million Xbox 360s since it launched a year earlier.

Joint venture is set to begin operations March 6. Kaoru Nakamura of Namco Bandai will serve as prexy, and Ken Kutaragi, chairman of the conglom’s vidgame division Sony Computer Entertainment, will be director.

Namco Bandai will own 51% of Cellius, SCE 49%. The startup capital will be ¥100 million ($826,446), though signifi-cantly more will be needed to actually produce games for the PS3.

(Ben Fritz in Hollywood contributed to this report.)

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