The PS3 is an expensive machine, but Sony may have discovered a way for gamers to earn a bit of that hard-earned cash back. According to a report from The Financial Times , Sony is currently talking with some businesses regarding the potential commercial application of the Cell processor.

This comes hot on the heels of the [email protected] concept, which was an immense success for Stanford University's research project last month. Once the PS3 joined the PCs contributing to the project, 10,000 PS3s managed to supply the power of 200,000 PCs. News of the [email protected] triumph has spread, which prompted several business firms to approach Sony about the idea of distributed computing.

"This kind of computing model could be used in a commercial application," said Masa Chatani, chief technology officer at Sony Computer Entertainment. "For example, a start-up or a pharmaceutical company that lacks a super-computer could utilize this kind of infrastructure."

Chatani elaborates by saying that if a company decided to solve a large problem with the aid of number-crunching, the project could – feasibly – be distributed to PS3 users all over the world. Of course, while some of us liked the idea of helping out in the name of science ([email protected]), many might be adverse to making money for Sony for no profit on our end.

Now, Sony is well aware of this stumbling block, so they're looking at a way of repaying participants. One possibility is incentives, such as free products or even money towards PlayStation Store purchases. If this is something that really catches on, it could be a whole new reason to own a PS3…and for the very first time in the video game world, it would be a financially profitable reason.

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