Sony Corp. has announced that it would delay the release of the highly-anticipated PlayStation 3 console by nearly half a year due to delay with the standardisation of the Blu-ray technology. The setback is likely to give Microsoft Corp. a huge advantage and may mean some difficulties for Nintendo, which is launching its code-named revolution game console at the same timeframe.
“When we initially announced our plans to launch [PlayStation 3] this spring, we had expected the standardisation work on all of the technologies to be completed by last August, but there were improvements that were decided on since then. We wanted to be sure to include all future technologies that are available now,” said Ken Kutaragi, president of Sony’s game division, Reuters news-agency reported.
Mr. Kutaragi blamed the delay on the belated finalisation of the copy protection technology standard for the Blu-ray disc drive, a next-generation DVD player that will be included in the PS3. The standardisation of digital audio and video technology to connect electronics devices was also late, he said.
Earlier analysts expected Sony to delay the PlayStation 3. Merrill Lynch analyst from Japan Hitoshi Kuriyama said that the company may not only delay the launch of the PlayStation 3 to cut down its losses, as it will not be able to sell its console for more than $400 - $500, but also limit the number of manufactured units. According to Mr. Kuriyama, there would be 2 – 3 million PlayStation 3 consoles available in 2006.
According to Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.’s president, the company planned to produce 1 million PlayStation 3 units a month initially, for a total of 6 million units in the business year ending March 2007.
According to the research company, the most expensive component of the PlayStation 3 will be its Blu-ray disk drive, which will initially cost $350. The second most expensive part of the gaming machine will be the Cell processor which will cost Sony “at least” $230 per unit to make. Nvidia’s RSX graphics processor will cost $70, while for 256MB of XDR memory as well as 256MB of GDDR3 memory Sony will have to pay $50, believes Merrily Lynch. In total, the price may reach $900 just to manufacture one PlayStation 3 console.
In three years time after launch the cost of manufacturing the PS3 can reach $320, believes the research firm. Merrill Lynch notes that the price of two most expensive components – the Cell processor and the Blu-ray optical drive – can tumble significantly already in 2007 when the microprocessor is shifted to 65nm production technology, while the Blu-ray drives reaches high-volume manufacturing.