During E3 this past May, FiringSquad posted an editorial on Sony’s next-gen console called “Is the Playstation 3 Dead In The Water?” The editorial was written in response to Sony’s decision to release their next-gen console at the steep price points of $499 and $599 along with the not-so-impressive game launch line-up. At the time we chatted with our industry sources who said that Sony had basically shot itself in the foot with its PS3 launch plans with one anonymously telling us that in their opinion, “there will not be a PS4.”
Since the E3 announcements on the launch price and the launch date of the PS3 for Nov. 17 in the US and Europe and Nov. 11 in Japan Sony reps have made some … interesting claims about the PS3. Sony Computer Entertainment head Ken Kutaragi made the claim during E3 that the $599 price tag was “probably too cheap “. Later, Sony Playstation studio head Phil Harrison said in an interview that the PS3 was “clearly a computer”, rather than just being a video game console. This past summer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe CEO David Reeves was quoted as saying that the PS3 would be successful “…even if it didn’t have games.” Meanwhile rumors were rampant that the PS3 was suffering from production problems in its hardware, notably because of its Blu-Ray disk drive. which only started launching its stand alone disk players this summer only a few months before the PS3’s launch. As of this writing, Sony hasn’t even admitted that the PS3 has started manufacturing yet.
All the quotes and all the rumors finally came to a head Wednesday morning as Sony’s European division finally admitted that the simultaneous global launch for the PS3 wasn’t going to happen after all. Thanks to a shortage of the laser needed for the Blu-Ray disk drive, the console is now being delayed until March of 2007 in that part of the world. Furthermore, Kutaragi also admitted Wednesday that unit amounts for the US and Japanese launches would be very small; just 400,000 units will be available for sale on launch day in the US and a tiny 100,000 units will show up in Japan. Sony is still claiming that it will ship a total of six million PS3 units by the end of its fiscal 2007 year (which ends on March 31, 2007), but you have to take those numbers with a huge grain of salt at this point. So far Sony hasn’t made good on any of its previous numbers yet - remember when the PS3 was supposed to launch in spring 2006?
FiringSquad contacted Sony for more info about their announcements and their brand new PR head David Karraker sent over a brief response to our inquires. Karraker repeated that Sony would only have 400,000 units of the PS3 available for launch day in the US but added, “….what consumers should focus on in my opinion is the fact that we will have 1 to 1.2 million units available by the end of the year, which is a significant amount that will ensure we don't see any dip in supply levels through the holidays.” Further questions sent to Karraker by FiringSquad were not answered by the time this feature was posted. Only the next few months will determine if his claims pan out.