The major Japanese newspaper Nihon Kezai Shimbun has reported that Sony's next-generation PlayStation 3 console has been pushed back to November in Japan, citing production difficulties in manufacturing the Blu-ray drives necessary for the system.
If true, this would be the first confirmed report contradicting Sony's insistence that the PS3 is scheduled to launch in "Spring 2006", the only official date given by company representatives in recent months.
The difficulties with the Blu-ray drive are apparently in the specification design rather than the physical manufacturing process, according to the Nihon Kezai Shimbun; the copy-protection mechanisms have not yet been finalized, holding up production of the drives. No problems were mentioned with the system's Cell processor, a brand-new technology that has the potential to be equally finicky in production.
Officially, Sony has not confirmed the report itself, though the company's Tokyo developer conference, now officially opened to both the press and analysts, should provide an official statement from Sony's Ken Kutaragi in the next 24 hours. Should the report be verified, there is still the question of when the U.S. and European launches would be scheduled.
Sony has never stated any explicit intention for a worldwide simultaneous launch, meaning that the European and possibly U.S. versions could be moved back into 2007. The Xbox 360 is currently already released in all territories, and Nintendo is on track to launch its new console "before Thanksgiving" in the U.S., according to recent remarks by executives.