There is a smaller glimmer of hope for importers out there. The Australian IT claims that the PS3’s use of hi definition monitors will eliminate the PAL/NTSC standards that plagued previous systems. The article also cites that mod chips have been deemed legal in the land down under. While this sounds like good news it’s more conjecture than fact.
Even though hi definition monitors are standard not all households are equipped with HD. In fact most people are probably going to keep to their regular TV sets for a few more years, so the new PS3 will have to support standard PAL / NTSC too. Also while mod chips may not be illegal in Australia, they aren’t legal in many other regions.
The PSP is the real hint for a region free console. Gamers in the US have filled the void of domestic releases by importing titles. Maybe Sony will take the hint when they finish up development on the next Playstation. In the meantime we can always dream.