Sony Corp. said on Wednesday it would delay the European launch of its PlayStation 3 (PS3) game machine to March from November due to inadequate supply of a key component, missing the critical Christmas shopping season in one of its main markets.
I feel sorry. I think there are so many people out there who hold such high expectations for PS3,” said Ken Kutaragi, the head of Sony’s game unit and known as the “father of the PlayStation”
The delay means that the PS3 falls substantially behind its rival machines — Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii — in time to market in parts of the world. Microsoft launched its Xbox 360 late last year and Nintendo plans to offer the Wii in the final quarter of 2006.
Kutaragi said commercial production of blue laser, a key component for PS3′s Blu-ray optical disc drive, has fallen behind the original schedule, forcing the delay.
Yet another reason why building the Blu-ray player in was a bad idea.
Sony has kept unchanged its Japan launch on Nov. 11 and North American launch on Nov. 17. It has also stuck to its target to ship 6 million units of PS3 worldwide by the end of March despite the delay in Europe.
Shipping the same total number of units if there’s a part shortage would seem to be a neat trick. There’s more by following the link and also at The Register where Leo Waldock observes that the delay is for “the PAL territories of Europe, Russia, Middle East, Africa and Australasia ,” and:
Sony’s comment that the delayed European launch won’t affect global sales suggests that it doesn’t have a prayer of meeting demand when it finally gets around to launching the console.
That isn’t quite what they said, but is likely the right answer.
Update: More details on volumes from Yuri Kageyama at the AP:
The company is still sticking to its initial global target of shipping 6 million PlayStation 3 machines by March 2007.
But far fewer machines will be available for the launch dates in Japan and the U.S. because of the production problem, Kutaragi said.
In the U.S., about 400,000 PlayStation 3 machines will be available when they go on sale Nov. 17. About 100,000 will be available on the Nov. 11 Japan launch date.
Mass production of the machine is set to start end of September, he said.
Although Sony had initially counted on shipping 4 million PlayStation 3 machines worldwide by the end of the year, that will likely fall to 2 million, he said.