Recent comments from SCE president Ken Kutaragi suggest that Sony considers its upcoming PlayStation 3 to be a computer, not a console. The same can't be said for the PS2, however.
A U.K. court of appeals has ruled against Sony after a five-year legal battle to have the PS2 classified as a computer or "digital processing unit." While computers have always been exempt from EU import charges, video game consoles have not. Had the court actually ruled that the PS2 is a computer, Sony could have been granted a 50 million Euro (roughly $63 million) rebate on import duties.
Lord Justice Chadwick dismissed Sony's entire claim as a "skeleton argument."
He wrote, "In my view the skeleton argument filed in this Court on behalf of Sony goes beyond what can be regarded as acceptable written advocacy: it exceeds the bounds of propriety..."
"I am not here protesting about its inordinate length, nor about its discursive quality, nor about its frequent and unnecessary resort to hyperbole; although all those unappealing features are present. My concern is with the repeated aspersions that are cast in that document on the intellectual honesty of the High Court Judge from whose decision this appeal is brought," concluded Chadwick.
Interestingly, Kutaragi's latest insistence that the PS3 is a computer does not seem to stem from Sony wanting to avoid tariff payments when the next-gen system goes on sale. The European import tax on video game consoles was zero in 2004 and video game consoles are not subject to EU import charges currently.