Sony aims for spring launch of PS3 but could delay

Posted by: KillHour

Sony aims for spring launch of PS3 but could delay - 02/20/06 01:30 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp. said on Monday it still aims to launch its next-generation PlayStation 3 video game console this spring, but it could be delayed if industry specifications for some of its technology are not finalised soon.

The launch of Playstation 3 (PS3) has been the subject of heavy speculation in the industry as expectations are high for the powerful machine, which will feature cutting-edge technology in its DVD, processors and graphics.

PS3 will be competing with Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360, which went on sale last November, and Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s Revolution, which is expected later this year.

"We're aiming for spring, but we haven't announced specific regions," a spokeswoman for Sony Computer Entertainment said, adding that it was waiting for the final specifications on some of the technology it is using in the PS3, such as that related to the Blu-ray drive and to input and output video and sound.

The specifications are decided by industry consortiums.

"We're waiting for them until the last possible minute, but the launch could be pushed back if they're not decided soon," the spokeswoman said. If the PS3 is not ready in time, the company will choose the next best timing for the launch, she said.

The company's shares fell as much as 4.4 percent on Monday after Merrill Lynch said in a research note last week that the PS3's launch might be delayed by six to 12 months and the cost of materials could initially approach $900 per unit.

The shares were down 2.9 percent at 5,340 yen in afternoon trade, underperforming the Tokyo stock market's electrical machinery index IELEC, which fell 1.21 percent.

Merrill Lynch also downgraded its rating on Sony to "sell" from "neutral", saying in its note that Sony could see its earnings decline in the business year from April.

"If the launch is delayed, it will be beneficial in the short term, but will be negative from the standpoint of share price," said analyst Hitoshi Kuriyama in the note. "If it is on time, the PS3 will weigh on the company's profitability."


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