In the most recent interview Sony Corp. denied plans to postpone the release of its next-generation portable (NGP) game console because of the disastrous events in Japan. Unfortunately, instead of clarifying its actual plans and problems, the company insisted that it had not released any actual plans.
"So far we see no impact from the quake on our launch plan. When Sony first unveiled the NGP in late January, it never said it would launch the new machine in all three regions at once," said Satoshi Fukuoka, a spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment, adding that the company will continue monitoring the situation to assess any possible future impact, reports Dow Jones news-agency.
When Sony introduced the successor of the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in late January, it indeed indicated that NGP will "make its debut at the end of the year 2011" and did not say on which markets it will be available. This week Jack Tretton, the head of Sony Computer Entertainment America, said that may be introduced in a single region this year instead of starting sales in Asia, Europe and the U.S. in time for the end-of-year holiday shopping season.
While historically it took Sony about two quarters to release its new consoles on different markets, at present the competition on the market of gaming devices is as fierce as ever. Firstly, Nintendo has just launched its new-generation 3DS console. Secondly, Sony Ericsson is about to release Xperia Play, a smartphone tailored for video games. Thirdly, Sony itself wants to license its own games for the PS platform to various Android devices, which are also gaining support from various parties interested in making high-quality games for it. In fourth, Apple iOS platform and devices on its base (iPad, iPhone, etc) are gaining support from game developers. All-in-all, it s crucially important for Sony to launch its NGP as soon as possible.
While Sony remains committed to release the NGP this year, the company indeed may be unable to start selling it widely and will only release it only in one region to show off the proof-of-concept and demonstrate its technological leadership.