SCEA launches the Hard Disk Drive in North America
It's finally here! And as we all know, the cool thing includes the much awaited Final Fantasy XI. Details about the release and's coverage plans.

- SCEA today announced that the Hard Disk Drive (40GB) is now available across all stores in North America. The HDD comes with Final Fantasy XI pre-installed. Developed by Square Enix and published by SCEA, Final Fantasy XI is the first online Final Fantasy game, a Massive Multiplayer Online RPG that realizes the dream of millions of players to play in a breathing, constantly evolving Final Fantasy universe together with players from every part of the world.

"True to its business philosophy of delivering technology when the market is ready and with full content support, the Hard Disk Drive delivers the features that consumers want most," said Andrew House, executive vice president, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "With 2.6 million network ready PlayStation 2 consoles in more than 25 million homes throughout North America, the internal Hard Disk Drive paves the way for delivering countless forms of digital entertainment to this massive audience."

To answer the questions of our readers, the Hard Disk Drive will be supported by many games in the future. SOCOM II: U.S. Navy Seals, for example, will soon benefit from downloadable content available to players with a HDD installed in their Playstation 2. Installation of the Hard Disk Drive is fast and easy the device must be inserted into the Expansion Bay, and the Network Adaptor than connects to the back of the HDD. Benefits for games supporting the HDD will include faster loading times, and possibility to download new levels, costumes, characters, stadiums for sport games, and much more, assured Sony.

Anyhow, the fact the unit comes pre-installed with Final Fantasy XI will probably be the first reason of its success. Final Fantasy XI, released at the end of last year on PC in North America, is Square Enix's first big online MMORPG a game that takes the premise of many already excellent MMORPGs like EverQuest, but offers a new level of elegance, refinement, and a style that have characterized all past "classic" Final Fantasy titles. will offer plenty of coverage about the HDD, with hardware guides and a complete review, and we will start soon a series of special features about Final Fantasy XI starting from the basics of the gameplay and then going through races, locations, and discussion about the PlayOnline game community in our soon to be opened Final Fantasy XI forum. Dont forget to register as usual, its all free!

(Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2004, 10:35AM GMT)

- Harry

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