Sony Delays Playstation 3 (PS3) Launch Until November
One of Japan 's major newspapers, Nihon Kezai Shimbun broke the story yesterday afternoon that Sony's PlayStation 3 would be delayed until November. This was followed up by an official announcement from Ken Kuturagi, chief executive of Sony's Computer Entertainment division. Kuturagi's statement says Sony is looking at a worldwide release in November. Sony says it will ship 6 million PS3s before the end of 2006. That's almost twice the number of Xbox 360s that Microsoft managed to release so far.
November amounts to a considerable delay from Sony's original plans for a spring release. The delay was blamed on difficulties related to copy protection specifications on system's Blu-ray drive. Apparently the AACS wasn't finalized in time for Sony to organize a spring release. The paper reported that the content protection hadn't been finalized but that must be a misunderstanding. AACS copy protection standards had been finalized last month prompting official release dates of both HD DVD and Blu-ray devices, including Sony's own Viao and films by Sony Home Entertainment.
Kuturagi's took the time to disclose some exciting hardware details . PlayStation 3 will include a 60GB hard drive on which will be included a version of Linux, no waiting for hacks. The PS3 will include some as yet unspecified home media abilities similar to Xbox360's media extender. PlayStation gamers will finally get an online gaming community, although not yet given an official name it will be similar to Xbox Live. The name is already rumored to be " PlayStation HUB " based on some recent domain purchases by Sony. Edit: Kotaku just reported that the name of the online game service will be " Playstation Network Platform ".
Edit: Deleted incorrect pricing information
Initial reports that came out of Japan last night carried speculation that the "Japan release" meant "Japan only" meaning a lot of blogs you may read today on the topic will lead you to believe a North American Christmas 2006 release is out of the question. But Ken Kuturagi put a swift end to that rumor. So, you Sony fanboys might just get your PS3 in time for Christmas after all.
The initial delay from a spring release should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the current generation of game consoles. Since the initial specifications for the upcoming PS3 were released we knew Sony faced an ambitious undertaking. The new "cell processor's" transistors will have a gate only five atomic layers thick! At the time it was announced Sony didn't even have the ability to mass produce such a processor. Add to that Blu-ray, HDMI and support of 1080 at 60 fps a specification not yet outlined by the ATSC nor had AACS even defined the content protection specification. Spring 2006 was an optimistic outlook for Sony.
But is all that technology going into the PS3 even necessary? Of course you can never get enough tech in your tech-toys. But consider the lifespan of a console game system (Xbox1 was replaced in four years) vs the time it takes for software developers to get around to using new APIs and features. Consider time it'll take to have a significant library of Blu-ray discs available. From a cost / benefit perspective Sony's high aim seems rooted in company bravado. Despite its own problems with production Microsoft produced a game console that has just the technology it needed to push forward the current crop of games. Both new game consoles will be capable of multi-threaded processes (as are the newest dual core CPUs in PCs) but it'll likely be about the end of the life cycle of the current consoles before this new feature is used regularly in games. Are you likely to see any games using 1080p/60? A few will probably add 1080p cinematics just to show it can be done. /Editorial rantWayde Robson