PREMIER MANAGER 2003/2004, Publisher: Zoo Digital; Format: PS2. Price: £39.99. Out now: RELEASING a football management simulation just as the transfer window opens is asking for trouble.

Unless you happen to be a supporter of Leeds United, the first thing you'll need to do is get busy in the transfer market to bring your team-sheet up to date.

The PS2 has enjoyed only one decent management sim to date - LMA Manager from Codemasters.

Zoo Digital reckons it has the game to challenge LMA for honours and to be quite sure it has put together a team of management veterans, many of whom worked on the original Premier Manager for the Amiga.

Unfortunately Premier Manager 2003/2004 doesn't have the kind of comprehensive data-base used by LMA Manager that takes years to put together. Fans of Darlington will look in vain for the Quakers as the Third Division is not included. Likewise the Scottish leagues.

Provided you enjoy the Premiership there's still fun to be had, although it has to be said that Premier Manager still feels a generation or two behind LMA.

The match engine, in particular, looks and feels awkward compared to the Codemasters' game. In fact, it reminded me rather too much of the original Prem Manager on the Amiga and doesn't even measure up to LMA on PSOne.

This sim is probably best suited to younger football fans who don't have the patience or the time to immerse themselves in the sport's minutiae.

It's enjoyable in a rough 'n ready kind of way although anyone used to playing Championship Manager will find it laughably basic.

SEGA GT ONLINE, Publisher: Sega, Format: Xbox; Price: £29.99. On sale now.

Until Project Gotham Racing 2 arrived just before Christmas, this series was the best driving to be had on the Xbox.

GT Online is probably half a car's length behind Project Gotham at the finish line but it has enough going for it to make both games essential purchases for Xbox driving fanatics.

First and foremost there is the online aspect that allows for the player to race against other gamers across the globe. Up to a dozen drivers can take part in each race and there's a lot more satisfaction to be had knowing you have beaten real flesh and blood rather than a computer opponent.

Driving against human opponents also makes for a more unpredictable race, especially if they crash out in front of you on the final lap!

Sega's simulation places more emphasis on the realistic aspects of driving than Project Gotham. This makes the game more difficult but far more satisfying when you do master the races.

If you happen to own the original GT game, Sega has added a nifty little utility that allows you to upload your favourite customised car and drive it on-line. There are 40 new machines to choose, as well, taking the overall tally to more than 150 - something for everyone.

However, if you have last year's version then the only true new feature is the online component. At least the price of GT Online reflects the game's status as more of an update than an all-new title for 2004.

Sony PSX, Price: to be confirmed but don't expect much change from £500: On sale sometime this year.

IT all sounded so good. The Sony PSX was supposed to offer PS2 gaming, a hard drive, MP3 playback, online access and a DVD recording. No wonder company president Ken Kutaragi said the "X" in PSX stood for extraordinary.

Sadly all Mr Kutaragi got for Christmas was a hefty helping of egg all over his face.

In a bid to get the machine in shops before the Yuletide, the engineers in Japan were ordered to cut some corners.

So the PSX went on sale in Japan sans some pretty crucial features. DVD recording, the ability to play home recorded CDs, the ability to handle popular image formats, playback of movies taken on Sony cameras and the MP3 decoding were all junked.

The result? A very expensive PS2 with a hard drive that does nothing more than record broadcast TV (but gives you no way of permanently archiving your favourite programmes).

Will the PSX have the same crippled feature set when it goes on sale in Europe later this year?

Sony reckons the extra time will allow it to reach the original specification.

If it doesn't, I can see this expensive box of tricks lining up alongside other gaming console boosters like the Mega CD and the 32X to gather dust. It was supposed to be the ultimate home entertainment system but by the time it finally arrives here gamers will be looking towards PS3 and Xbox 2.