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Sony delays PlayStation 3

Global roll-out in November

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Update It's official: Sony has delayed the roll-out of the PlayStation 3 to early November from the late March timeframe the consumer electronics giant had originally pegged for the product's release. However, it confirmed the console will launch in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan simultaneously.

The exact reason for the delay isn't clear at this stage. Reports coming out of Japan, where Sony made its announcement this morning, point the finger at problems with the console's Blu-ray Disc drive.

Sony hinted before that troubled getting the next-generation optical disc technology ready might hinder the PS3's release, but with a so-called 'interim' version of the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) copy-protection mechanism in place, the broader BD roll-out is going ahead in May. AACS is essentially complete - the interim version just lacks the Managed Copy feature, which allows users to duplicate disc content on a variety of devices, the Blu-Ray Disc Association said last week.

AACS' lack of a Managed Copy facility also affects HD DVD, BD's rival as the successor to today's DVD format. Sony said it expects AACS to be finalised in April.

But it's not just AACS - Sony is waiting for the second generation of the HDMI interface to become available, something it doesn't expect to take place until June after the HDMI 2.0 details are finalised in May. These are target dates - the spec could be delayed, leaving Sony in a tricky spot if it says PS3 will debut in, say, July. Better to leave it until later in the year.

The timing sets the PS3 up for the year's big Thanksgiving and Christmas sales period - provided, of course, it's not forced to delay the release again. It also gives the company time to build product - the better to avoid the shortages that have hit the rival Xbox 360 over the past four months. ®

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