Sony will launch its next-gen console PlayStation3 in fall, Kyodo News reports (through Yahoo Asia). The reason for the delay is the Blu-Ray format and the participating companies´ failure to agree on its industry standards.
Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. may delay the launch of PlayStation 3 game consoles to this fall or later from this spring, as originally scheduled, because Blu-ray DVD makers have been late in finalizing specifications for the device, a key part of the new game consoles, industry analysts said Saturday.
A group of about 80 Blu-ray DVD manufacturers, including Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., failed to set specifications for the advanced DVD format by the end of last year. Mass manufacturing is finally set to begin at the end of the month, they said.
The Blu-ray DVD technology is "indispensable" for PlayStation 3 consoles featuring high-definition graphics that match the image quality of large-screen movies, a spokesperson at Sony Computer Entertainment said, admitting the launch could be delayed.
Sony Computer Entertainment has been seen to be behind schedule in taking orders for the new PlayStations from retailers.
"Sony has not begun taking orders early this month, that means that it would be difficult for the company to begin sales in May," said Hirokazu Hamamura, president of computer game-related publisher Enterbrain Inc.
Sony is now likely to shift its focus on product sales from the spring to the year-end sales period, promotion for which begins in October, industry analysts said.
The global market for home-use game consoles is estimated at more than 100 million units and Sony Computer Entertainment is the market leader.
The Sony group, recovering from a setback in fiscal 2003, has raised earnings projections for the 2005 business year through March 31. But this delay could keep it from attaining the group's consolidated sales goal of 8 trillion yen for the 2007 business year, the analysts added.
It´s been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride for Sony, as far as the PS3´s launch date is concerned. At the last E3, they announced a spring 2006 launch date. They reaffirmed that date in December. Only days ago, though, reports of a PS3 delay made Sony Corp. shares lose around 3% of its value.
It has always been my opinion that a spring launch was not a realistic option and this has basically been confirmed now. They might as well come out with the truth. Since their shares already took a tumble, Sony has no more to lose with such an announcement.
EDIT There is an excellent commentary over at GamesIndustry.biz, pointing out that the first day of spring is next Wednesday. From that day, Sony has three months to launch their console if they want to make good on their promise. The author isn´t as sure of a delay as I am. But he seems to believe that all the secrecy on Sony´s part is incompatible with a spring launch.
Source: Kyodo News (through Yahoo Asia)
Thanks to: Engadget