Sony slashes launch PS3 shipments, big shortages likely

Sony has drastically revised down the number of PlayStation 3 consoles it expects to ship this year as it wrestles with shortages of key components.

In what could result in a Christmas disappointment for hundreds of thousands of children, Sony Computer Entertainment has drastically decreased the number of PlayStation 3 consoles it expects to ship this year as it wrestles with shortages of key components.

The company had been planning to have 2 million consoles ready for the system's almost simultaneous launch in Japan, North America, Europe and Australasia in November and a further 2 million available by year-end. But revised figures that were announced on Wednesday now call for only 2 million consoles being available in all of this year.

The 2006 launch of the console has been scrubbed in a number of territories including Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa and Australasia and isn't expected to happen until March 2007 at the earliest.

In Japan, where the Nov. 11 launch remains unchanged, Sony now expects to have just 100,000 consoles available on launch day. In North America, where the console is scheduled to go on sale on Nov. 17, the company said it forecasts just 400,000 units will be available for sale on that day.

The figures mean that big shortages are likely.

Six and a half years ago when Sony launched the PlayStation 2 it shipped 720,000 consoles in Japan over its first weekend on sale. This time the hype surrounding the PlayStation 3 is even greater but it appears Sony will be fortunate to satisfy similar demand over at least the first seven weeks on sale.

Sony is blaming the problems on a delay in mass production of blue laser diodes. The laser diodes are used in the optical disc drive inside the machine. Current consoles use red laser diodes, of which supply is plentiful, but the PlayStation 3 will have a Blu-ray Disc drive that requires the use of the new component.

Inclusion of Blu-ray Disc in the PlayStation 3 was seen by some analysts as a gamble from the start. Sony is keen to make the format the de facto choice for high-definition video and its use in the new console would ensure Blu-ray Disc a place in millions of homes. But its use comes with other problems. Commercial Blu-ray Disc players are only just coming onto the market so prices are still high and, as Sony said Wednesday, some components are still in short supply.

Using Blu-ray Disc already tripped up Sony once. Until March this year the company had been promising the PlayStation 3 in the "spring" of 2006 but as it became evident that a launch wasn't to take place the company revised the launch date to November. A key factor was the incomplete Blu-ray Disc format because consumer-electronics makers failed to agree on the disc's copy protection.

It's not the first time Sony has misstepped on a console's launch.

The company planned to have 1 million consoles in U.S. stores in November 2000 when it launched the PlayStation 2 but component shortages hit those plans and Sony ended up shipping 500,000 units.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?