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It Cuts Like a Knife

When Sony's PlayStation and PlayStation 2 consoles launched worldwide, there was up to nine months between the Japanese and European releases. So European gamers rejoiced when, at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, it was announced that the PlayStation 3 launch would take place worldwide over a matter of weeks in November. However, this morning Sony has issued a statement saying that the PlayStation 3 release date has been pushed back to March 2007 in Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, and Australasia. Sony cited 'the delay in the mass-production schedule of the blue laser diode within the Sony Group' as the reason for the postponement. The Japanese and North American release dates are unaffected by the delay, with scheduled 2006 launches on November 11 and November 17 respectively. Sony's global shipment forecast of 6 million units for the fiscal year of 2007 also remains unaffected. The European delay means that the PlayStation 3 launch will take place well over six years since that of its predecessor, which went on sale on November 24, 2000. Sony is making no additional comment on the PlayStation 3 delay at this point in time.

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Here We Go Again

This morning in Tokyo, Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi reportedly announced that only 500,000 PlayStation 3s would be available in the US and Japan at launch, and that the console's European debut had been pushed back until 2007.

Of the 500,000 launch PS3s, 100,000 will go on sale in Japan on November 11, and 400,000 will hit store shelves in North America on November 17. "We decided to focus on the Japanese and US markets," Kutaragi told reporters at a Tokyo press conference before apologizing for the delay, according to the Associated Press.

[uPDATE] When contacted by GameSpot about today's PS3 news, Sony reps said only that the company had "not announced specific ship numbers for Japan or North America."

Two weeks ago, Sony Computer Entertainment America president Kaz Hirai spoke with GameSpot about the forthcoming launch of the PlayStation 3. In the interview, the veteran game executive said that Sony expected to ship 2 million units worldwide by the end of the calendar year.

However, Sony corporate communications quickly contacted GameSpot to say that Hirai had misspoken. What he actually meant, according to Sony PR, was that there would be 2 million PS3s available when the PS3 launched in the US, Europe, and Japan nearly simultaneously in November, and that 4 million units would be available by the end of the 2006 calendar year.

[uPDATE] This morning, US Sony reps told GameSpot that, despite the European delay and the AP report of reduced shipment numbers, the previous estimates still stood. "[We] have announced that 2 million will be available in the world come November 11 and 17 and 4 million by the end of the calendar year," said a spokesperson.

The company is also sticking to its original financial-year sales estimates. "The previously announced PlayStation 3 shipment forecast of 6 million units globally within the fiscal year ending 2007 is not changed," the company said in a statement issued early this morning.

Sony blamed manufacturing laser diodes for the PS3's Blu-ray Disc drive for the shipment issues. "The revision of the launch date in [European] territories is caused by the delay in the mass-production schedule of the blue laser diode within the Sony Group, thus affecting the timely procurement of key components to be utilized in PlayStation 3," read Sony's statement. Kutaragi gave similar comments to the Associated Press, though he reportedly said they would also cause short supply.

In February, Sony hinted similar problems could delay the PS3 from its then-scheduled Spring 2007 launch. The new November launch was confirmed at Sony's Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference in May, the same month Sony announced the US launch of the Blu-ray format had also been pushed back. Meanwhile, in July, several Taiwanese business newspapers, including the Commercial Times, reported that Sony was falling behind in production of Blu-ray laser diodes, although Sony would not confirm those reports.

Analysts were swift in their response to the PS3 news. UBS's Michael Wallace predicted the delay could have an alarming ripple effect with third-party publishers. "We also think this delay could cause some of our companies to push some of their PS3 games out until March 2007 to take advantage of a larger installed base," he said in a statement. "We note that Activision (three launch titles), Electronic Arts (four to five launch titles), and Take-Two (three titles by January 2007) currently have the greatest exposure to the PS3 at launch, so they could be impacted the most by this delay."

Today's PS3 developments caused Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter to lower his entire US annual software sales estimate--just issued yesterday--from three percent growth to two percent. He also tweaked his European annual game-sales estimate from one percent growth to a one percent loss. "Our prior forecast assumed that Sony would ship 2.3 million PS3s to the US and Europe in 2006," said Pachter. "Our revised forecast assumes shipments of 1.5 million to the US (unchanged) and zero to Europe (down from 800,000)."

Needless to say, the PS3's delay and any supply issues will be a boon to Sony's rivals, Nintendo and Microsoft. "There will undoubtedly be some 'substitution effect' from lower PS3 shipments, with a portion of the shortfall offset by higher sales of PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and Wii hardware and software," Pachter said. "We have not adjusted our model to reflect this substitution...but we suspect that 25 to 50 percent of the shortfall in PS3 software sales (an estimated $124 million in Europe) will be offset by sales of software for the other platforms."

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  • 1 month later...

I think it is wrong, cause that means people who actually want one will have pay more then have too to get one. Another reason why everyone should wait to see how it does. They could all be faulty, I don't know if anyone else remember but the 400,000 disc read errors, I was one of them, the failed lauch of the ps2

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