Analysts Predict PlayStation 3 Launch Delay, Unit Shortage
Following a weak showing at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, analysts have predicted a delay in the launch of Sony's PlayStation 3 console this year, with one going as far as to predict launch numbers lower than even those of the Xbox 360, according to a Marketwatch article.
Evan Wilson, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities, stated that a summer Japanese launch of 1 million units, followed by a November launch in the United States of similar numbers and a March 2007 European launch, is "the most likely scenario" for the PlayStation 3's premiere."
Additionally, Wilson predicts that the PlayStation 3's American launch line-up will be "clearly weaker then [sic] the Xbox 360 holiday 2006 line-up. The analyst suggested: "All we've seen are [demos] running on a box supposed to be the equivalent of the PS3. We really have no idea."
The largest factor in a potential delay would most likely be due to a manufacturing challenge, with Sony carefully maximizing the chip's yield on the unit's advanced "Cell Processor." There is also the possibility of a lack of software support, though Sony Computer Entertainment of America's Kaz Hirai stated at Sony's Consumer Electronics Show keynote speech that over four thousand development units have been shipped.
Another possibility may be the cost of Blu-Ray technology, the media format Sony will be using for the console. Sony Chairman Howard Stringer maintains that the PS3 will contain a Blu-Ray player, and analysts predict a launch price of about $400. By comparison, both Samsung and Pioneer have recently announced consumer standalone Blu-Ray movie players in the four-digit range.