A 20% cut in the number of PlayStation 3 games consoles available for the Japanese launch is a sure sign that Sony is going to have huge problems keeping up with demand. According to Japanese newspaper Nikkei Keizai Shimbun, Sony is going to be 20,000 PS3 short at the launch. Sony had expected to have 100,000 consoles available by 11 November, but if this report is correct then this is now down to 80,000.[poll id=11]
So, after cutting Europe out of the equation until 2007, what's the likely reason for this latest cut? My guess is that it's a combination of reasons. First off, IBM is having real problems getting good yields for the Cell processor. Currently they are getting something like 10 - 20% yields off a single wafer (amounting to, at best, 64 Cells per wafer). Low yield doesn't just mean Cell shortages, it also increases the production costs dramatically. A cost that will be passed on to the consumer.
The other reason has to be the shortage of blue laser diodes. These are really scarce at present and this is affecting all HD and Blu-ray drive manufacturers out there.
Sony's betting a lot on the success of the PS3 and so far all the signs point to them having seriously dropped the ball. Limited numbers of consoles over the Holiday period could seriously affect sales and even mean that Sony has to wait until December 2007 before it starts to see significant PS3 income.
If you've got a PS3 on your Holiday wish list, then maybe you should also add a winning lottery ticket - who know, you might get lucky and get one of the things you wanted!