If you had whimsical dreams of skipping to your local Best Buy on November 17th, grasping a new Playstation 3 console from the shelf and lovingly stroking it as you scamper out of the store, you may want to rethink your strategy.
After dropping the bombshell this morning that Sony would delay its European launch of the Playstation 3 until March 2007, the company has now come forward and stated that the number of consoles available in the United states and Japan would drop from 2,000,000 units to just 400,000 in the US and a mere 100,000 in Japan.
Several weeks ago, Sony Computer Entertainment America President Kaz Hirai spoke with the good folks over at Gamespot and stated that the company was planning to ship two million units worldwide by the end of the calendar year. He was later corrected by Sony’s PR team, who insisted the company was planning to launch two million units at first, with an additional two million by the end of the calendar year.
Clearly that isn’t going to happen.
What does this 75% cutback mean to you? A couple of things.
First and foremost, Microsoft encountered serious problems meeting the demand for its Xbox 360 console last year and, barring a miracle, Sony stands to fall into the exact same pitfalls.
“According to the NDP Group, North American sales totaled 326,000 units in November. In Canada, all 32,100 units available for launch were sold. By the end of 2005, Microsoft stated it sold roughly 900,000 units.”
As of now, Sony’s expected numbers for the Playstation 3 aren’t much higher than that. So this probably means the outrageously long lines at retail stores, exorbitant prices on auction sites like Ebay and, of course, hundreds of thousands of disappointed customers associated with the Xbox 360’s launch will haunt PS3’s as well.
According to UBS analyst Michael Wallace, this cutback may also spell disaster for some of the upcoming titles promised to consumers.
“We also think this delay could cause some of our companies to push some of their PS3 games out until March 2007 to take advantage of a larger installed base,” he said in a statement. “We note that Activision (three launch titles), Electronic Arts (four to five launch titles), and Take-Two (three titles by January 2007) currently have the greatest exposure to the PS3 at launch, so they could be impacted the most by this delay.”
With this turn of events, Sony may have delivered its own knockout punch more than two months before the fight even begins. If Nintendo even remotely has its act together come November and if Microsoft pulls through with some of the Xbox’s more popular titles come Christmas, the Playstation is in for some serious trouble.
Report: US, Japan PS3 launch numbers slashed [Gamespot]
Hirai: PS3 Will Keep — or Surpass — PS2’s Market Share [Gamespot]
XBox 360 Launch [Wikipedia]