The news is out: the PS3 games console is to be launched simultaneously around the globe in November 2006. But despite the grand global launch plan for the PS3 games console, there are doubts about its impact on the market. Even more, game analysts doubt if this global launch can help Sony regain lost market because of the earlier release of Microsoft’s Xbox 360. There are also many speculations why the new PS3’s launch keeps getting delayed.
Though Sony claims that the delays were due to digital rights management or DRM troubles, many analysts believe otherwise. Analysts pose more pressing issues as reasons for the PS3 games console’s launch delays. Eiichi Katayama, an analyst from Tokyo-based Nomura Securities’ Financial & Economic Research, suggests that the delays are probably caused by the slow progress of graphics chip development. Others offer reasons such as insufficiency of appropriate software titles. However, Sony is quick to dismiss these rumors and again reiterated the problem of DRM for their Blu-ray optical drive.
Blu-ray chips provide the new console with removable PS3 storage capacity that is five times bigger than the storage provided by DVDs of older consoles. Reports that PS3’s Blu-ray and DRM feature are almost finished make them unlikely causes of delays. According to Katayama, ROM mark and BD+ licensing have already started which make copy protection technology an implausible reason. Analysts believe that if DRM technology really cause the delay, the profit from PS3 games console would not suffer too much. However, if the reasons are as they believe — graphics chip development — the sales impact would probably be the worst in Sony’s history.
Sony contradicts the analysts’ measure of the situation and denies that the delays set the PS3 games console and the company at a disadvantage behind Microsoft and Xbox 360. Xbox 360 hit the stores last year and is still the top gaming console according to market trends. Jennie Kong, Sony’s European branch’s PR manager, defends the company’s strategy and claims that the company doesn’t allow itself to be dictated by their competitors’ moves. However, history supports the analysts’ views of the matter. It can be recalled that Microsoft and Sony had once faced the same situation, only this time, Sony has the advantage with the early release of their PS2 over the first Xbox. Current Analysis’ Steve Kovsky reminds that at that time, Microsoft suffered huge losses; clearly, Sony is slated for the same fate with PS3.
If Sony pushes for the November 2006 launch, it gives the Xbox 360 a full year sales advantage. However, the PS3 games franchise’s problem does not end with the launch’s delays. Rumors and news are circulating that even before its game console’s launch, Sony is planning to outlaw its resale. Different sources claim that Sony plans to sell the new consoles with their own individual licenses. This effectively prohibits second-hand sales in person or in online shops like http://Amazon.com and http://eBay.com. In essence, buyers are only purchasing the license to use the consoles; Sony still holds the proprietorship of the product. Game analysts comment that this is a logical move, if proven true. Sony would need all the push it can have to increase the sales of individual PS3 units.
The company refrains from making comments about the allegations no licensing. They maintain that all important announcements have been made during the E3 trade show and all other announcements would be made on the PS3 games console launch. This announcement, instead of putting a stop to the rumor mill only fuel the fire. But as it is, there is nothing gamers can do but just play their PS3 games and wait.