Yesterday’s rumor of Sony delaying the PlayStation 3 game console until November was confirmed today by Ken Kutaragi, president of Sony’s game unit, in a hastily call press conference in Tokyo. Yukari Iwatani Kane and Sachi Izumi at Reuters:
Sony Corp. said on Wednesday it would delay the release of its new PlayStation 3 video game console until early November because development of some of the technology was behind schedule.
The company, which currently dominates the game console market with a market share of about 70 percent, said it planned to launch the much-anticipated PlayStation 3 (PS3) almost simultaneously in Japan, North America and Europe in time for the key holiday season.
“When we initially announced our plans to launch this spring, we had expected the standardisation work on all of the technologies to be completed by last August, but there were improvements that were decided on since then,” said Ken Kutaragi, president of Sony’s game division.
“We wanted to be sure to include all future technologies that are available now,” he said at a business briefing for software developers as he apologised for not updating the industry sooner.
Actually, he offered several excuses. Martin Fackler at the New York Times:
Ken Kutaragi, president of Sony’s game unit, apologized repeatedly during a hastily called meeting of game software developers, analysts and reporters for failing to have the console ready this spring, as originally promised. He said the delay was mostly the result of a strategic decision to give developers time to write game software, and to make a splash ahead of the pre-Christmas shopping rush.
“Instead of rushing, we want to have a solid launch,” Mr. Kutaragi said. “We wanted to have time to make the big sales season that starts with Thanksgiving.”
Mr. Kutaragi said Sony will be ready to produce 1 million consoles per month by November, and plans to make 6 million machines by March 2007.
On Wednesday, Mr. Kutaragi cited delays in developing copyright protection technology for Blu-ray as a factor in the holdup. But he said that this and other technical problems will be resolved by June, and that Sony could have launched PlayStation 3 earlier had it chosen to do so.
Follow both links for some skeptical punditry about the excuses and about what it means for Sony which has been struggling in recent years. However, everyone agrees that it is a golden opportunity Microsoft’s Xbox 360 if they can capitalize on it.
One final oddity from Fackler’s account:
Mr. Kutaragi only compounded such fears on Wednesday by announcing that PlayStation 3 will also include a 60 gigabyte hard-disc drive, Linux operating software and the ability to handle broadband Internet connections. These additional features will allow the game console to double as a home server, further driving up production costs.
Why? This may be of interest to a few, but a standard feature? Dan Choi at joystiq has a roundup of more technical details from the news conference as well.