Sony PlayStation 3 Delayed Again

Sony says more work is needed on Blu-ray disc


3/16/06-- Sony Corp. will delay the launch of its much-anticipated PlayStation 3 console until November, prolonging the agony not only for itself but also for many other in the video game industry. Ken Kutaragi, the head of Sony's video game division, said Sony is still trying to finalize the copyright protection technology and other standards for the Blue-ray DVD disc, the high-definition video format for Sony PlayStation 3 and other next-generation DVD players.

The Sony PlayStation 3 is critical for Sony's profits and brand image, so the delay from its promised "spring" debut is a major setback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company as it struggles to mount a recovery after several years of poor earnings.

And any potential delay after November - missing the holiday season - would be even more damaging, though financial analysts are mixed on concerns about whether Sony and its component suppliers will be able to deliver as promised.


The delay comes at a time when competition in next-generation game consoles is heating up with U.S. software maker Microsoft Corp. already putting the Xbox 360 on sale last year. The Sony PlayStation series is now the dominant brand for home consoles, helping support Sony's bottom line in recent years, and controlling about 60 percent of global market, according to Kutaragi.

Toshiaki Nishumura, analyst for Yasuda Asset Management Co., said the delay is likely to hurt game revenue for Sony, but the announcement was not a big surprise for the market, which had anticipated a delay.

Analysts believe there are still a number of obstacles before Sony can achieve a simultaneous launce of its Sony PlayStation 3 game console. More time is needed to assess PlayStation 3 and the advanced gadgets that will run on the same computer chip called "cell" that Sony is developing with Toshiba Corp. and IBM.

Sony can expect to sell 20 million PlayStation 3 game consoles around the world in a couple of year says one analyst. Any setback could deal a big blow to Sony.