Sony’s Spring PS3 Launch in Jeopardy

If you were hoping for Sony’s PlayStation 3 to combat the Xbox 360 this spring, you’ll probably be disappointed. All signs from Sony are that the launch will be delayed. “We’re aiming for spring, but we haven’t announced specific regions,” a spokeswoman for Sony Computer Entertainment said, adding that it was waiting for the final specifications on some of the technology it is using in the PS3, such as the Blu-ray DVD drive. “We’re waiting for them until the last possible minute, but the launch could be pushed back if they’re not decided soon.”

If history is any indication, Sony will first launch the PS3 in Japan, as it has done with its previous two consoles. So even if Sony makes the spring launch like they previously claimed they would, which is now in doubt, that launch will probably only occur in Japan, not America or Europe. “No one is seriously thinking a spring release is realistic any more,” said Hiroshi Kamide, an analyst at KBC Securities. “If I were Sony, I wouldn’t be that worried about releasing as soon as I possibly could.” He says that slow initial sales of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 could mean that Sony will wait until the PS3 is fully prepared.

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There is also a possibility of game development delays. Since the technology has not been finalized, “game makers are developing games according to their guesses on what the final specifications might be,” said Takeshi Tajima, a BNP Paribas analyst. Yuta Sakurai, a senior analyst at Nomura Securities said, “I don’t think it matters when Sony launches in the U.S. as long as it’s in time for Christmas,” a remark probably agreed with by retailers, publishers and gamers, all feeling the pinch of a transition to a new generation of game machines.

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