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European PS3 Launch Delayed Until March

7 Sep, 2006 By: John Gaudiosi

Sony had originally planned on matching last year's Microsoft global launch of Xbox 360 this November.

But while PlayStation 3 will still launch Nov. 11 in Japan and Nov. 17 in North America, the European launch has been pushed back until March 2007.

The European launch delay resulted from the lag in the mass production schedule of the blue-laser diode within the Sony Group, thus affecting the timely procurement of key components to be utilized in the PS3, Sony reported.

In related news, tech Web site www.digitaltimes.com reported that some manufacturers other than Sony will find themselves short of the Blu-ray diodes integral to the manufacture of Blu-ray machines. Sony has reportedly stopped shipping the diodes to other manufacturers, according to the site.

Sony executives appear determined to hit the scheduled PS3 launch in the United States.

“The change in the release date for PlayStation 3 in the Sony Computer Entertainment Europe territories will not impact our launch for the system here in North America,” said Kaz Hirai, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America. “Our plans remain unchanged, and we are on track to meet our goals with this important launch. It is also important to note that the previously announced global PS3 shipment forecast of 6 million units within the fiscal year ending 2007 has not changed.”

While the overall number of units shipped by the end of March 2007 may remain the same, Michael Pachter, video game analyst for Wedbush Morgan Securities, has downgraded his U.S. forecast of PS3 hardware for this year from 2.3 million units to 1.5 million units as a result of this news. That means PS3 hardware will likely be even harder to come by this November and December, which could give competitors an edge.

In other PS3 news, according to Sony's own Web site, PlayStation.com, the $600 premium package that includes the PS3, a 60GB hard drive, built-in wireless network capabilities and an HDMI port will not come with any cables for HDMI or any other high-definition signal. The $400 Xbox 360 premium package does come with an HD component cable, while the $300 core Xbox 360 comes with standard AV cables.

The Sony Web site reads: “Video output in HD requires cables and an HD-compatible display, both sold separately. Copy-protected Blu-ray video discs can only output at 1080p using an HDMI cable connected to a device that is compatible with the HDCP standard. HDMI cable not included. Additional equipment may be required to use the HDMI connector.”

The Web site explains that HDMI is a video/audio interface that allows high-def content to be displayed in uncompressed form over a single cable. PS3 also supports High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), an antipiracy measure expected to be encoded into Blu-ray discs. Blu-ray discs also will utilize Image Constraint Token (ICT) technology, which would artificially reduce the output resolution of any signal not sent over a secured connection like HDMI.

Additional reporting by Jessica Wolf

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