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PS3 delay is a double whammy for troubled Sony

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There are no doubt many gamers all over the world gritting their teeth in frustration at the prospect of being forced to wait yet another six months or more before they can take home their long promised Sony PlayStation 3 console. However, the damage to Sony by this further delay goes way beyond its prospects in the games space.

Sony's lethargy in bringing PS3 to market has not only enabled Microsoft to gain a firm foothold in the games console market with Xbox 360, it's a foothold that will get even firmer over the next six months. It also threatens the Japanese electronics giant's prospects of winning the high definition video format war.

Many consumers were looking to the PS3 as a solution to their desire to get hold of an affordable Blu-ray player. At US$599, PS3 is an expensive games console, despite its superior processing power. However, US$599 for a Blu-ray player is not too bad at all - within the same price bracket as standalone HD DVD players. A combo unit that offers a first class games console plus a Blu-ray player, the PS3 would have been a compelling buy in the December holidays shopping season.

However, as we now know, this is sadly not to be for all but the lucky few consumers in the US and Japan who will be able to get to the stores first in November. This presents a double whammy for Sony.

In the games space, come December, consumers will basically have two choices if they want to get a current generation console - an Xbox 360 or a Nintendo Wii. With Microsoft already selling Xbox 360 consoles hand over fist, no PS3 may give its sales a further boost and there could be 15 million units in the hands of users by the time PS3 hits store shelves in reasonable numbers next March.

15 million Xbox 360 players is a lead that Sony may find difficult to peg back with PS3. On top of this, gamers who are not in the market for an Xbox 360 may decide to give the Wii a try now that they can't get a PS3.

In the high definition video space, one for the huge drawbacks of Sony's Blu-ray technology is the price of players - roughly double compared to the rival HD DVD format players.

Sony was looking to PS3 as a convenient way of getting affordable Blu-ray players into the hands of users this year. Instead, Microsoft will bring to store shelves an HD DVD player that plugs into Xbox 360 consoles, which is tipped to cost as little as US$200.

It is almost certain that Microsoft will not miss the opportunity to push the new HD DVD plug-in player at its ready made market of 10-15 million Xbox 360 users over the holidays. This, plus the widespread availability of standalone HD DVD players, which are much more affordable than standalone Blu-ray players, could give the HD DVD format the boost it needs.

It looks like there may be troubled times ahead for Sony.


Cheers from your intrepid webreporter book.gif

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