Here we go - PlayStation 3 launch delayed in Europe

Here we go - PlayStation 3 launch delayed in Europe

Summary: Here we go. The first hint that Sony's PS3 production has serious problems. Ken Kutaragi, head of Sony's global computer entertainment division, has just announced that the European and Australian launch of the PlayStation 3 games console will be delayed until March 2007.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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Here we go.  The first hint that Sony's PS3 production There's little doubt the success or failure of the PS3 will have a far-reaching impact on Sony's earnings, and delays like this aren't a good starthas serious problems.  Ken Kutaragi, head of Sony's global computer entertainment division, has just announced that the European and Australian launch of the PlayStation 3 games console will be delayed until March 2007.

Mr Kutaragi blamed the delay on problems in mass producing certain components of the high-definition Blu-ray disc drives in the PS3 (most likely the laser diodes).

PS3 shotThis delay is expected - in a blog post I made here a few weeks ago I worked out that if Sony was going to be able to squeeze 2,000,000 consoles off the production line in three months, that meant Sony had to get 925 PS3 made an hour, or 15 a minute, 24/7, until launch.  Given this aggressive schedule, one thing that could trip Sony up was a kink anywhere in the parts supply chain. Well, it looks like that kink's appeared already.  To make matters worse, Sony hasn't even started full scale manufacture of the Cell processor used in the PS3 - this is expected to start at the end of this month.  There's little doubt the success or failure of the PS3 will have a far-reaching impact on Sony's earnings, and delays like this aren't a good start.  Sony now needs to work on making sure that the quality of the units shipped is high, because delays combined with a high number of faulty systems could shake buyer confidence and be disastrous for the company.

My guess is that this is the first of many delays and that even if Sony can keep to the launch dates for Japan and the US (November 11 and November 17, respectively), the PS3 is going to be seriously scarce over the Holidays.  Sony has cut back the number of units that will be available at launch in the US and Japan to 500,000 units (roughly split 400,00 for the US market and 100,00 for Japan) - not much considering that the PS3 has had months of hype (by comparison, Microsoft has 1.5 million Xbox 360s at release).  Bad news for anyone who wants to guarantee getting one for the Holidays, but good news for anyone hoping to get one and make a killing on eBay.

This is also going to be sweet news for the Xbox guys over at Redmond.  Microsoft is bound to take full advantage of any PS3 delays to get a greater foothold in the games market.  If the PS3 is going to end up being scarce over the Holiday period, this will be the second Christmas where the Xbox 360 has had little in the way of competition.  This is also going to be excellent news for Nintendo who plan on releasing the Wii console sometime this fall.  If these two companies can make sure their product are on the shelves and available while Sony instead has to make promises to customers, both Microsoft and Nintendo could cash in on these delays. 

Topic: Hardware

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  • Game developers.

    If a game is limited to a single device and that device is unavailable, the developer of the game will have restrictions on income. And I expect that many game developers have lower reserves than Sony.

    Are there many game developers with exclusive PS contracts? Do you think there will be as many after contract renewals?

    Because of the truism that the hardware loses money in order to sell games, this could be a significant issue. Particularly for the more expensive device with a probable higher loss per unit sold.
    Anton Philidor
    • if 10 people want a pup and only three are available,all bcm pick of litter

      the more PS3 devices Sony sells, the larger the loss it is going to incur.

      Maybe they want to create demand by reducing supply. This causes the unit price to increase thereby allowing Sony to sell them at a higher price and also deliver a marketing coup by being able to show to the world that PS3 is in greater demand than other game consoles.
      zzz1234567890
      • That demand is already there

        Sorry, but there is large demand for the PS3. Sony is depending on the PS3 to help drive demand for Blu-Ray - which means they need more, not less consoles out there.

        And it's Blu-Ray that is going to continue hobbling the amount of consoles, then games, from going thru the pipeline.

        From blue laser diodes to the Blu-Ray disks there will continue to be supply problems.
        quietLee