Officials from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) have officially confirmed that the launch of the PlayStation 3 has been delayed in the PAL territories of Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa and Australasia from November 17th 2006 to March 2007.
Problems with the mass production of the blue laser diode used in the console’s Blu-ray disc drive have been blamed for the delay. The problems appear to confirm repeated rumors of component shortages, voiced again
just yesterday by analysts at Wedbush Morgan Securities.
The launch dates for Japan and North America will remain the same, at November 11th and November 17th respectively. The company is also refusing to change its shipment forecast of six million units globally within the fiscal year ending March 2007.
The idea of a global launch for the PlayStation 3 was greeted with considerable surprise when first announced by Sony, especially given the troubled global launch of the Xbox 360 and the complex manufacturing process of the PlayStation 3.
Before the delay from Spring to November, a Spring 2006 launch in Europe was assumed by many, but the shift to November
and today's news has meant the console's release dates have seen significant and continued flux for PAL regions. Gamasutra will have more publisher and analyst reaction on this major announcement in the near future.