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PlayStation 2 ship date slides three months

Japanese shipments will begin in March 2000 not December 1999 after all

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Sony today confirmed that it has put back the release date for the upcoming PlayStation 2 by three months. The games console/information appliance was originally to have shipped in Japan at the end of the year -- at least that's what Sony said when it announced the machine back in April. However, in a release focusing on the upcoming console's support from the world's leading games developers, the company admitted that the Japanese release date is now 4 March 2000. The US and European launches have also been delayed, from Q2 2000 to the following Autumn. Such a delay was predicted last week by various Japanese analysts. However, since their statements were made in the immediate run up to Sony rival Sega's launch of the Dreamcast games console, the estimations of Sony's ability to ship the PlayStation 2 on time were treated with some scepticism -- even by The Register, ahem. The delays centred on Sony's capacity to produce the Emotion Engine processor at the heart of the PlayStation 2. We still feel the analysts' have underestimated the ability of Sony -- and especially that of its partner on the chip, Toshiba, which has plenty of semiconductor experience -- to develop the CPU. We suspect the delay centres on a rethink of the time it will take to ramp up volume production of the chip. Sega's Japanese Dreamcast roll-out was hit hard last year by problems chip supplier NEC had pumping out sufficient quantities of the console's PowerVR 2 graphics chip. NEC's problems didn't prevent the Dreamcast launch, but they did stop Sega shipping anywhere near as many units as it had boasted it would -- it originally hoped to shift one million consoles by December 1998, but in the end didn't make that figure until the second quarter of 1999. Sony clearly wants to avoid such embarrassing mistakes. That said, Sony bosses did predict sales of one million units in the machine's first week of release. The PlayStation 2 is expected to retail for Y39,800 ($334). ® Related Stories Sony puts PlayStation 2 at heart of Net strategy

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