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An analyst with Lazard Capital Markets said in a note to clients that the vast majority of the PlayStation 3 (PS3) game consoles at launch will be the premium versions of the game machines that will come rich with features at a higher price-point.

“The split between premium (60GB) and core (20GB) units at U.S. retail stores, should be roughly 80/20%,” said Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian, citing the management of Sony Computer Entertainment America.

Just like in case of Xbox 360, there will be two versions of the PlayStation console available: one is equipped with 20GB hard disk drive – it will have recommended price of $499, another features 60GB hard drive, card reader and HDMI output – it will be offered for $599, which makes the PlayStation 3 the world’s most expensive game console.

Given that larger hard disk drive, HDMI output and card reader hardly cost Sony additional $100, it is highly likely that the company wants to give priority to the premium console version in order to cut down high building costs of the game machine and losses on the “core” version of the console.

As reported, the initial PS3 shipments to the U.S. will be 400 thousand units, however, Gamasutra web-site quotes the analyst as saying that Sony executives promised to import another 800 thousand by air into the U.S. by the end of the calendar year. It is reported that Sony expects to ship 1.2 million PlayStation 3 consoles to the USA and the same number to Japan by the end of 2006.

Recently the maker of the PlayStation 3 game console said that it would delay the release of its highly-anticipated PlayStation 3 game console to March, 2007 in Europe, Russia, Middle East, Africa and Australasia, as a result of insufficient supply of Blu-ray disc drive components. Still, the firm stressed that it would succeed in shipping 6 million game consoles till March 31, 2007.

“The revision of the launch date in the SCEE territories 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,” an official statement by the company reads.

Sony PlayStation 3 console is based on the Cell processor developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, the RSX graphics chip by Nvidia Corp. and will be equipped with Blu-ray optical disk drive.

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