Sony still primed for Spring 2006 PS3 debut

Launch to co-incide with Blu-ray roll-out?

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Sony has re-iterated its plan to ship the PlayStation 3 by Spring 2006. The announcement follows Electronic Arts CEO Larry Probst's prediction that the console won't debut until next Autumn.

Sony yesterday told the Reuters news agency that the company is gearing up for a Spring launch, but that doesn't necessarily refute Probst's belief. All previous PlayStation launches have kicked off in Japan, with US and European roll-outs not taking place until many months later.

Sony may well be planning to offer PS3 in Japan in Q1/Q2 2006, with the US roll-out - which is what Probst may have in mind - not taking place until Q3 2006, just ahead of the Holiday spending spree.

The Sony-backed Blu-ray Disc next-generation optical format is also due to be formally launched next Spring, and the PS3 is widely seen as the system that will drive the adoption of Blu-ray. With so much riding on Blu-ray's success - all the supporting companies' reputations, not the least of it - the format's backers will be urging Sony to get PS3 into consumers' hands as quickly as possible.

Equally, an Autumn 2006 launch will leave the PS3 an entire year behind Microsoft's Xbox 360, a situation Sony's Computer Entertainment division may not be keen on either. ®

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