PARIS: The wait for video game buffs in Australia, Europe and the Middle East will come to an end on 23 March, when Sony extends the launch of PlayStation 3, the most expensive of the new generation consoles, after some unprecedented delays.
The Japanese electronics and entertainment giant plans to sell one million consoles in these regions, as well as in Africa, but will make available only top-of-the-line 60-gigabites model at a cost of $797 (Rs35,865) which is substantially higher than their nearerst rivals - Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo’s Wii.
Sony was forced to delay the first launch of the PS3 by about six months until November last year due to problems with the console’s high-definition DVD player, giving Microsoft’s Xbox 360 a one-year head start and also ceding ground to domestic rival Nintendo.
The PS3 debuted first in US and Japan. More than 90% of the demand has been for the top-of-the-range console, according to Georges Fornay, president of Sony Computer Entertainment France and vice president for Europe.
The US software giant has sold 10.4 million Xbox 360 consoles, while Nintendo has attracted families to buy its Wii, with about 6mn consoles sold since November, a figure Sony hopes to match by the end of this month.
PlayStation 3 comes with a cell chip processor and a blu-ray DVD disc, allowing for more true-to-life graphics and for playing high definition movies. Promoted as a platform for multimedia entertainment, it also offers high speed Internet connection.
According to gizmo experts, the avant-garde PlayStation 3 may pose a short-term challenge for Sony. Despite the late world launch, Sony group raised its net profit forecast for this year by 38% thanks to the popularity of its flat screen televisions, digital cameras and the latest James Bond film.