Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. gave a preview Tuesday of the new graphics and massive calculating power of its next-generation video game machine, announcing plans to release a successor to its No. 1 PlayStation this winter.

PlayStation is Japan’s best-selling home game machine, with a total of 50 million units shipped worldwide.

The Sony group, working with Toshiba Corp., has invested about 20 billion yen alone into development of the new machine’s two main chips, according to company officials. “This may be a radical challenge against what Intel and Microsoft have been doing. We, as the whole Sony group, want to make it so,” Sony Corp. President Nobuyuki Idei said at a technical seminar to announce the new machine’s specifications.

SCE claims the new machine’s chip is the world’s first full 128-bit central processing unit, with information in the data bus, cache memory and registers all handled in 128 bits.

The machine also has a rendering processor that Sony says has greater performance than those in the highest-level graphics workstations. Observers say the new machine will be more expensive than the PlayStation, which has maintained a dominant lead on rivals like Nintendo Co.

According to Ken Kutaragi, executive vice president of SCE, the new machine will be “totally backward compatible” with the company’s current PlayStation — which means all software developed for the current machine can be used with the new console.

He added that Sony will continue to market the current PlayStation, at least for the time being, even after the new machine debuts.

The new chips jointly developed by Sony and Toshiba will be used solely for the tentatively named PlayStation2. But the technology gleaned through the joint effort can be applied to many other things in future, said Mitsuo Saito, general manager at a Toshiba LSI research center.

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