New Game

The debut of PlayStation2 will expand the platform wars to the Net and beyond

They oohed as animated football players threw one another to the ground. They ahhed as vividly colored martial artists gouged each other's eyes. The crowd huddled around ultrathin TVs earlier this month at the Metreon, a four-story Sony entertainment palace in San Francisco, was getting a sneak preview of Sony's much-touted PlayStation2. And they were loving it.

But this Sony-sponsored launch party was hardly a tough audience. Many of the well-dressed game gawkers were actually foot soldiers in the Sony empire, loyally cheering on a product crucial to the company's future. The real test for Sony comes this week when it...

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