Wish you had more time to save the rather large chunk of dough necessary to buy a PlayStation 3 on its November 17 release date? Be careful what you wish for, as getting your hands on a launch system just got a lot more difficult.
The Associated Press reports that far fewer PS3s than previously expected - about 400,000 - will be allocated to US customers at release. By comparison, the PS2 launched with 500,000 units nearly six years ago.
In addition, while Sony's shipment forecast of six million units globally within the fiscal year ending 2007 [March 2007] has not changed, the company's initial estimate of four million units on shelves worldwide by the end of 2006 will most likely drop to just two million.
In a statement released early this morning, Sony said that the shift in release numbers is "caused by the delay in the mass production schedule of the blue laser diode within the Sony Group, thus affecting the timely procurement of key components to be utilized in PlayStation 3."
This reasoning is consistent with our UK site's report last week that manufacturers are having trouble producing enough blue lasers to support both stand-alone Blu-ray players and PS3 in time for Christmas.
PlayStation boss Ken Kutaragi explained that Sony has "been working hard to try to tackle the problem, but we see the [supply] delay is inevitable." He did assure that other PS3 preparation was going well and that mass production of the machine was scheduled to begin at the end of September.
The news was even worse for Japanese and European gamers. Japan will receive somewhere in the miniscule region of 100,000 units for its November 11 launch, while Europe won't get a single system until March 2007 - a delayed release of four months.
In response to its scratched plans for a simultaneous global release, Kutaragi said: "We decided to focus on the Japanese and US markets... I am so sorry not to be able to answer to all the expectations."
September 6, 2006