Conventional wisdom increasingly indicates that a delay of the PlayStation 3 from its originally intended spring launch date is all but inevitable.
Last month, a Merrill Lynch report predicted a 6-12-month delay for the system, followed shortly thereafter by a reported Sony acknowledgement that a PS3 delay was a possibility if the supply of parts to make the console lagged.
Yet more aspersions have been cast on Sony's purported spring PS3 launch, as Friedman Billings Ramsey analyst Shawn Milne issued an industry update to investors saying Sony's clearly going to miss its spring window. He added that the Japanese release might miss the summer as well, and North American gamers may not be playing the system in 2006 at all.
"More supply chain data suggest the possibility of a launch delay," Milne wrote. "According to our semiconductor research team, there are further indications that the Sony PS3 launch may be late (although there remains significant confusion on the timing of launches by geography)."
Milne also noted that Sony apparently did not give retailers a release date on the PS3 at its recent Destination PlayStation event as further evidence of a slip in the schedule.
According to Milne, a North American PS3 release in the first quarter of 2007 would cause weakness in the industry and a poor fourth quarter for 2006. However, he projects a sell out for the system even if it does launch in early 2007, and a muted long-term impact on the industry from the delay. Unlike other analysts, Milne didn't offer a prediction on the console's price, which has been targeted anywhere from US$399 to US$799.
When the system launches, Milne says Electronic Arts will likely get the biggest boost of the publishers, as it has "8-12 titles planned for the PS3 launch". Previously announced PS3 titles from the publisher include Fight Night Round 3, Medal of Honor: Airborne, Def Jam 3, and a next-gen Madden game.
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