Sony slashes US PlayStation 2 allocation to 500k units

We can't make enough of 'em, admits Japanese giant

Sony has confessed it's not going to be able to supply enough PlayStation 2s to meet demand when the console makes its US debut late next month.

In fact, it is cutting the number of machines it intends to ship by half. Sony had planned to pump one million units into the US market on launch, but that has now been hacked back to a mere 500,000 consoles.

We're not surprised. Sony has already had to delay the console's European launch to ensure it could focus production on the US market. Originally set to arrive over here on the same date as it launches in the US, 26 October, the PlayStation 2's Euro debut won't happen until late November.

Even as far back as last May, Sony's sales and shipment predictions provided a tacit admission that US demand would not be met.

The problem now appears to be one of production. According to a Sony spokeswoman cited by Reuters, PlayStation 2 manufacturing is running about a month behind schedule.

"Our monthly production capacity will reach one million units in October, so there is no change in our production plans for the end of the business year [31 March],'' she said.

In other words, we'll meet production projections, but not until much closer to the final deadline. That might not be much of a problem under normal circumstances, but we're coming rapidly up on the Christmas sales period, and Sony is betting on PlayStation 2 being a big hit over the holiday season.

Sony said yesterday it plans to boost production at the end of the year, allowing it to reach its 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001 global sales target of ten million units. Three million of them will have been sold in the US, according to Sony's scheme. The company has already shipped well over three million units to the Japanese market.

Only this week, Paul Finnegan, head of UK games publisher Rage Software warned that Sony was facing problems meeting demand for its next-generation console. And that, he predicted, would have a pretty negative impact on the games market.

Sony's investors aren't too happy either. Shares fell 6.42 to 10,640 after news of the production problem emerged yesterday. ®

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