Sony and AOL announced today they will co-operate to make AOL services available on Sony's PlayStation 2 games machine.

Under the new alliance Sony will offer PlayStation 2 users a network adapter, giving access to such AOL features as instant messaging, chat and email.

There should also be the ability to use the set-up to play internet-enabled games and get entertainment content, the companies said in a joint statement.

Also in the works is a Netscape web browser for PlayStation 2, and additional hardware including a hard disk drive, LCD display, keyboard and mouse, to enable improved web surfing.

These could well be based on the Linux open source operating system [see our previous story].

The AOL features will also be incorporated into the PlayStation 2 software development kits available to content developers.

The new services are expected to be available by the end of the year, the companies said.