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Sony said it would delay the release of its new PlayStation 3 until early November because of problems in the development of Blu-ray DVD technology used in the next generation video game console.
Ken Kutaragi, Sony Computer Entertainment president and father of the PlayStation, said on Wednesday the delay was partly due to Sony’s desire to incorporate “the best available technology”.
But he blamed the delay on the failure of the Blu-ray Disc Association, made up of manufacturers and content companies, to agree on the technical specifications for Blu-ray DVD discs.
The delay is a blow to Sony, which dominates the games console market, and puts the launch of the PS3 one year behind the rival XBox 360, Microsoft’s next-generation console.
Sony has been betting on the PS3 to be a big hit to revive its fortunes, particularly its struggling electronics business.
“The XBox 360 will now have had a year’s head start. The danger is that they could target big-hitting titles at the launch of the PS3 just to sabotage it,” said Hiroshi Kamide, analyst at KBC Securities in Tokyo. “If they release Microsoft’s biggest selling game, Halo 3, timed to PS3 that will be quite damaging for Sony.”
Sony said it aimed to reach manufacturing capacity of 1m a month by the time of the launch, and 6m a month by next March.
Video game publishers in North America were already planning for a delayed November launch for the PS3.
“I don’t think this is a surprise to anyone, we were anticipating this and there shouldn’t be a financial impact,” said an executive at one leading publisher.
Additional reporting by Chris Nuttall in San Francisco