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Crave Talk: Is this the worst tech Christmas ever?

Could this Christmas be more disappointing for gadget lovers? There's no PlayStation 3, there's no Zune, there's no Final Fantasy XII and there's certainly no Vista. Get ready to cry into your stocking

It's enough to make you slit your wrists with the shards of a smashed Christmas tree bauble. European gadget-lovers are set to have their consumerist hearts broken come 25 December, when Santa fails to deliver on almost all of his Yuletide promises. Most of the major technologies that were supposed to be ready for purchase have been delayed until next year.

From the massively tardy PlayStation 3, to Microsoft's elusive Zune player, there's a whole bunch of reasons for us to feel disgruntled with the industry's failure to get its act together for the most important buying extravaganza of the year.

Although it's shaping up to be a Christmas that even Dickens' Tiny Tim would find hard to stomach, there's always the unique pleasure of sitting around a crackling fire and grumbling like Scrooge. So here's your guide to what you'll be missing out on this Christmas, and how best to complain about it over the turkey:

PlayStation 3
The PlayStation 3 (read our full preview and see our video) is top of most people's Christmas lists, but you'll have to scratch it off right away. The PS3 is delayed in Europe because of a shortage of Blu-ray laser diodes. It's remarkable to think that such a tiny component will be responsible for so many tears on so many childrens' faces.

What to say: "Sony is going downhill anyway. First it was the rootkit fiasco, then the exploding batteries. Besides, little Timmy will be much happier with a Nintendo Wii anyway."
What not to say: "Motor Storm looks amazing! I can't believe you're not going to be able to play it until next March, little Timmy. You must be really sad. Are you?"

Microsoft Zune
Microsoft has recently announced that it has no plans at the moment to launch the Zune outside the US. Quite how it plans to take on the iPod with such conservative tactics is a mystery. A million iPod haters out there will have to keep using the world's best-selling MP3 player for a while longer -- perhaps indefinitely.

What to say: "Imagine the stability and usability of Windows migrated to an MP3 player. In short, imagine a small portable version of Hell."
What not to say: "I wish I didn't own the same MP3 player as every other zombie out there."

Final Fantasy XII
Converting the US version of Final Fantasy XII for PS2 into a UK version is clearly a task of unimaginable proportions. After all, British English is so radically different from American English. For the moment then, Final Fantasy fans must wait patiently until next year before the game is released in Europe.

What to say: "Real magic spells are much better than virtual ones, so I've bought you this book on Wicca."
What not to say: "Final Fantasy -- the clue's in the title. Don't you think they've outstayed their welcome with this one already?"

Windows Vista
Microsoft has established Vista delays as a more reliable tradition than Christmas itself. While business users with a kamikaze bent can install Vista at the end of this month, home users will not be treated to the joy until sometime next year (Microsoft has set some arbitrary date for this, but we won't patronise you by printing it).

What to say: "Enough of this, I'm switching to Mac OSX/Ubuntu Linux"
What not to say: "Oooh! Aero!"

-Chris Stevens