Sony All But Confirms PS3 Delay

Sony may have come the closest to an admission that the PlayStation 3 would indeed be delayed in a story about its CEO in a prominent entertainment paper. An article in Variety claims that issues relating to the chips controlling the Blu-ray drive are causing the delay.

While Variety says holiday 2006 is the launch date, CEO Howard Stringer is not quoted as the source of that information. Many analysts believe that the console would likely not be available in the US until early 2007, following a holiday launch in Asia.

The move would mean the Xbox 360 console would be a year ahead of its largest competitor, which could be a problem for Sony. Supplies of the Xbox 360 as well as videogame availability would be much higher than the PS3 during the crucial holiday season, which could lead frustrated gamers to opt for the easier-to-obtain Xbox.

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Analysts had long expected the Blu-ray drive to cause problems for the launch of the next-generation console. In late February, Merrill Lynch analysts speculated that the drive could push the bill of materials to as much as $800 USD or more per console, which could financially strap the company.

"From a hardware standpoint, the largest exposure outside of Sony itself is Microsoft, which could benefit if the company is able to overcome supply problems with Xbox 360," Merrill Lynch wrote in the research note.

But this doesn't seem to have Stringer worried. If the PS3 "delivers what everyone thinks it will, the game is up," he told Variety.

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