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Sony to double PlayStation 2 output

But can it catch up?

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Sony will increase PlayStation 2 production 100 per cent over the next three months in a desperate bid to catch up with the extravagant predictions it made at the console's debut.

At least, that's what the company told Bloomberg today. A year ago, the consumer electronics giant bullishly claimed it would have shipped ten million consoles by 31 March 2001, coincidentally (ahem...) the day on which its fiscal year ends. That's a target the company is very keen to meet, given just how much it has hyped the console's success.

So far, Sony claims to have has shipped five million PlayStation 2s around the world. This despite the massive reductions the company made in shipments to various territories. The US, for example, was due to receive one million units, only to find that figure cut to 500,000 a month before the console's 26 October debut. By then, Europe had not only had its allocation cut, but its launch date had also been put back a month. In the event, Europe's allocation was cut further.

Only Australia seems to have sufficient consoles, with pre-Christmas reports from a variety of sources claiming stores had plenty for everyone.

Assuming Sony's shipment figures, if accurate - Sony's pre-Christmas shipment predictions have already been questioned by analysts - still leave the company having to churn out five million consoles by fiscal year end.

Not bloomin' likely, reckon Japanese analysts. "It's difficult for Sony to double output right now," Takashi Oka, an analyst at Tsubasa Research Institute, told Bloomberg. "Sony's making just one million units a month right now and needs time to tool up for the extra production."

That's rather less than the 1.4 million units a month run rate Sony's prediction of ten million PlayStation 2s shipped was based upon. ®

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