The US and Japanese governments have demanded that Sony abandon its plan to outsource PlayStation 2 production to Taiwan. The reason? The console could be used for military purposes.
So say sources cited by Taiwanese Web site DigiTimes, which also claims Sony has complied the with requests, halting contracts with local manufacturers Asustek and Acer. DigiTimes' sources are almost certainly from within one or both of those companies.
Both manufacturers were due to begin shipping PlayStation 2s to Sony this month, with a plan to ramp up production to 300,000-400,000 consoles per month.
The two governments' problem with the PlayStation 2 apparently centres on its DVD functionality. We're not sure how allowing co-called rogue states to watch Little Mermaid 2 will bring down Western Civilisation as we know it, but there you go.
Or perhaps the DVD spec's Content Scrambling System provides the bad guys with too much crypto power? That would certainly put an interesting spin on the movie industry's attempt to suppress CSS decoding applications, specifically the open source DeCSS utility. Over to you, conspiracy theory wonks...
In any case, some dodgy regimes already have PlayStation 2 technology. Late last year it was reported that Saddam Hussein had already ordered 400 PS2s, though whether for military applications or as gifts for the despot's large family isn't known. ®
DigiTime: Sony halts PS2 outsourcing to Taiwan