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PlayStation 3's Europe Debut Delayed

September 07, 2006|From the Associated Press

TOKYO — The release of Sony's PlayStation 3 will be delayed in Europe until March because of problems with producing a key component, the executive in charge of the project said Wednesday. The much-awaited next generation of the popular game console will go on sale in November in the U.S. and Japan as planned, but fewer units will be available for the launch dates.

The company is sticking to its initial global target of shipping 6 million PlayStation 3 machines by March.

The sales delay is caused by a problem in mass-producing a key component in the Blu-ray disc laser in the machine, the successor to Sony Corp.'s hit PlayStation 2, Sony Computer Entertainment Chief Ken Kutaragi said.

"We decided to focus on the Japanese and U.S. markets," he said at the gaming unit's Tokyo headquarters. "I am so sorry not to be able to answer to all the expectations."

In the U.S., about 400,000 PlayStation 3 machines will be available when they go on sale Nov. 17. About 100,000 will be available on the Nov. 11 Japanese launch date.

The production problem is causing about a one-month delay that will reduce the company's supply capacity by about a million machines from the original plan, he said.

James Hong, head of equity derivatives trading at Dresdner Kleinwort in Tokyo, said the news might put another dent in Sony's stock. The company's U.S. shares fell $1.03 to $42.84 on Wednesday.

This is the latest setback for Sony, which has been overhauling its electronics operations to catch up in key electronics products such as MP3 digital music players. Last month, its shares tumbled after Dell Inc. and Apple Computer Inc. issued huge recalls of defective laptop batteries made by one of Sony's subsidiaries, Sony Energy Devices Corp.

Although Sony had initially counted on shipping 4 million PlayStation 3 machines worldwide by the end of the year, that will probably fall to 2 million, Kutaragi said.

The exact European sales date will be announced later, but it will probably be in early March, he said.

Blu-ray disc is the next-generation video format for the latest DVD recorders and players and is an essential part of the PlayStation 3.

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