Sony forced to delay PlayStation 3 release

The gaming system will hit store shelves in time for Christmas.
TOKYO (AP) -- Sony will put off the release of its much awaited PlayStation 3 console until November from its planned spring debut because of delays in finalizing its next-generation optical disc technology, the company said Wednesday.
Ken Kutaragi, the head of Sony's video games division, made the announcement at a hastily called news conference after reports of the delay surfaced in the business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun and other papers.
The PlayStation 3 is critical for Sony Corp.'s profits and brand image, so the delay is a major setback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company as it struggles to mount a recovery after several years of poor earnings.
The new timeline means that the PlayStation 3 will still hit store shelves simultaneously in Japan, North America and Europe, just in time for Christmas.
Kutaragi said Sony is still trying to finalize the copyright protection technology and other standards for the Blu-ray DVD disc, the format for PlayStation 3, and next-generation video for the company's electronics gadgets in the works.
"I'd like to apologize for the delay," Kutaragi said at a Tokyo hotel. "I have been cautious because many people in various areas are banking on the potential of the next-generation DVD."
Blu-ray preparations were initially to have been completed by last September, but now won't be finalized until next month, he said.
The delay comes at a time when competition in next-generation game consoles is heating up with U.S. software maker Microsoft Corp. already putting the Xbox 360 on sale last year. Nintendo Co., the Japanese manufacture of Game Boy machines and Pokemon and Super Mario game software, is also planning its version called Revolution later this year.
The PlayStation series is now the dominant brand for home consoles, helping support Sony's bottom line in recent years, and controlling about 60 percent of the global market, according to Kutaragi. Sony has shipped nearly 204 million machines worldwide when combining shipments for the original PlayStation and its upgrade PlayStation 2.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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