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Complex technology leaves PlayStation 3 hanging


Justin McCurry in Tokyo

Tuesday February 21, 2006

The Guardian



Sony's quest to reaffirm its domination of the game console market could be hampered by delays in finalising the specifications for technology in its eagerly awaited PlayStation 3 console. The firm insisted yesterday it was on course to release the PS3 in Japan in spring, but speculation is mounting that perfecting the console could take six to 12 months, giving rivals such as Microsoft the chance to make inroads into Sony's 70% market share.


"We're aiming for spring, but we haven't announced specific regions," a spokeswoman for Sony Computer Entertainment told Reuters. The company is reportedly waiting for the final specifications, decided by industry consortiums, for the PS3's Blu-Ray DVD drive and input and output technology for video and sound. "We're waiting for them until the last possible minute, but the launch could be pushed back if they're not decided soon," the spokeswoman said, adding that the firm was not thinking about an alternative launch date.


The PS3 promises crystal-clear graphics, a high-speed internet connection and a state-of-the-art DVD drive. It will be about the same size as a laptop and will be powered by a "Cell" chip developed with IBM and Toshiba that is several times faster than the Intel Pentium 4 processor used in PCs and game consoles.


Merrill Lynch said in a research note last week that the cost of each PS3 unit was approaching $900 (?500), falling to $320 three years from launch. The inclusion of so much new and complex technology made it "prohibitively expensive to make". The Microsoft Xbox 360 sells for $400 and Nintendo's Revolution is expected to cost under $300.


Yesterday Tokyo stock exchange reacted badly to speculation about the launch. Sony shares fell 3.6% at 5,300 yen (?25.82).

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Must admit I'm looking forward to it, but if they think I'll pay 900 bones they're stuffed. My guess is they'll sell it at a loss to begin with, averaging down as production brings the costs down later, as all the remaining big 3 platform comps have done in the past.

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300 pounds? It?s still a crapload of money. What?s it gonna be able to do? Play Blu-Ray? Who cares? That?s about all it can do besides playing the latest PSX games. DVDs? Streaming media? Online games? My crappy XBox does that for a lot less money. It?ll take a lot to convince me to buy one of these beasties before consigning my modded/HD capable PS2 to the scrapheap.


<Bah... Humbug mode off>

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