Sony pauses PSX production

Waiting while dealers' shelves clear

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Sony has suspended production of its PSX games console-cum-personal video recorder in a bid to flush the channel of unsold stock.

According to Sony officials cited by Japanese magazine Shuukan Gendai, the move is a temporary one, but they could not say when production of the machine would begin again.

Whenever manufacture resumes, the delay doesn't say much for the demand the public has for the machine. Either Japanese consumers are not buying the machine, or Sony wildly overestimated the numbers that would do so. The bottom line is that there are too many PSXs sitting on dealers' shelves.

Sony PlayStation chief Ken Kutaragi claimed that some 100,000 units were sold during the PSX's first week of release, last December, but clearly sales have fallen off over recent months.

The PSX has certainly had a troublesome birth and infancy. Originally touted for its ability to cope with DVD+R and DVD+RW as well as DVD-R and DVD-RW, Sony was forced to drop that feature from the machine at launch. Support for the 'plus' formats only arrived last month with a downloadable system software patch.

Other promised features have had to be added after launch through that patch and a previous one, put out in January.

Meanwhile, chip analysts have criticised Sony's claim that the PSX's processor is a 90nm part when it appears to use 130nm design rules. Sony is sticking to its guns on that one.

And Shuukan Gendai claims Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Electronics, the two divisions behind the PSX, did not see eye-to-eye on the machine's feature list, with the latter believed to have favoured a Blu-ray drive rather than the DVD unit the PSX currently offers.

The PSX is due to ship in Europe by the end of the year. ®

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