Sony PS3 Delay No Big Deal

    February 21, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Microsoft has failed to capitalize on what could be a significant delay in the launch of the next-generation gaming console from Sony, but Sony probably is not too concerned about a second-half 2006 debut if it comes to pass.

Sony still makes plenty of money on its PlayStation 2 console, with games continuing to debut and sell for the PS2, the Financial Times reported. And the launch of the PlayStation Portable has been welcomed by Sony’s global gaming audience.

Merrill Lynch started the ball rolling on news of a PS3 delay. The analyst firm claimed the PS3 would cost about $900, a figure Sony would need to subsidize heavily to find broad acceptance beyond the hardcore gamer markets. Whatever price point Sony sets for the launch, it is not likely to hit the shelves in Japan until autumn, and possibly after the holiday shopping season in the US.

The DVD wars could play a part in the PS3 delay. Sony wants to ship its new gaming console with a Blu-ray drive. Finalizing the specification for Blu-ray means getting the Blu-ray Disc Association’s 180 members to sign off on that spec.

If that sign off experiences delays for reasons like copy protection, Sony’s Computer Entertainment group will have to wait for those to be resolved. Even if it means missing a US launch before December 2006, Sony’s lead in the game console should not suffer very much according to an analyst cited in the article.

Some analysts say that even if Sony does bring out the PS3 before the Christmas season, it is unlikely to have a significant impact on its leadership position in the video games market.

This is partly because Microsoft’s XBox 360 has failed to live up to expectations, due to a product shortage in the US and an indifferent audience in Japan. But it is also because Sony’s games division continues to reap profits from PS2, which remains a popular platform five years after it launched.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.