By Craig Zammit
LONDON: Sony Computer Entertainment today announced that it has once again delayed the launch of the PlayStation 3 gaming console in Australia and New Zealand.
The new release date for Australasia, Europe, Russia, Middle East and Africa now stands at March 2007, meaning that Sony’s PS3 will miss the vital Christmas selling period across most of the world.
This latest set-back means that it will be the second time Sony has been forced to delay the release of the product it will hinge so much of its future hopes on.
In February this year, Sony denied reports which suggested its orginal PS3 release date of the second quarter 2006 would be missed, later conceding a fourth quarter 2006 release date.
The reason behind the delay this time round centres on production problems of key components from the Blu-ray element of the PS3.
“The revision of the launch date is caused by the delay in the mass production schedule of the blue laser diode within the Sony Group, thus affecting the timely procurement of key components to be utilised in PlayStation 3,” said Sony in a statement today.
“The previously announced PlayStation 3 shipment forecast of six million units globally within the fiscal year ending 2007 has not changed,” the statement said.
While the PS3 launch dates for Japan and North America remain unchanged – 11 November and 17 November respectively, the new launch date revision does threaten to put Sony further behind its rival, Microsoft’s who will have another six months to cement its position with its Xbox 360.
Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 gaming console on 23 March this year, and since that time has racked up over 87,000 unit sales in Australia at an average price of $630 and sold over 315,000 games or over 3.6 games per unit.
The announcement from Sony comes on the back of a spate of bad press surrounding the world’s second largest consumer electronics maker, climaxing recently with the recall of almost six million notebook PC batteries provided to Apple and Dell.