Sony Admits PlayStation 3 Could Be Delayed

Reaction to the Merrill Lynch reports

Sony said yesterday that its aim remains to ship PlayStation 3 this spring, but added that the release could be delayed if copy-protection technology Advanced Access Content System (AACS) adopted by Blu-ray Disc won't be completed in time.

This announcement is a reaction to the claim made by investment house Merrill Lynch, who said the console's launch on the markets outside Japan could be late by up to a year. And indeed, Sony now said that it cannot estimate as to which regions of the world will be the first to get the PS3.

At the end of last week, ML told its clients that the PS3 could be delayed by 6 to12 months, the launch in Japan being pushed back to this year's autumn, and the US one to late 2006 or early 2007.

The company's report was issued in the week it was said that delays to the finalization of the AACS specification could also delay the launch of the Blu-ray Disc (BD), as well as HD DVD next-generation optical disc formats. The fact that PS3 is based on Bdas is its strongest weapon in the battle with HD DVD - so one format's step back means the other's step back as well.

ML analysts also added last week that each PS3 should cost Sony $900 to make. Also, Sony has stated the next-generation console will cost more than the PS2, thus bringing also the problem of finding a price that consumers would pay. This type of problem is common to all games consoles - software sales should cover the shortfall on hardware sales - but the higher the build cost, the more successful the console will have to be to provide sufficient software shipments.

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