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Sony to ship '150-200k' PS3s for US launch

Rather more Wiis than that, analyst forecasts

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Sony will ship rather fewer PlayStation 3 consoles into the US than it previously said it would, a US analyst has claimed. The allegation comes just days after the PS3's Japanese launch and just ahead of Nintendo's pledge to ship 400,000 Wii consoles in Japan early next month.

According to Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian, Sony will ship 150,000-200,000 PS3 in the US when the next-generation console ships Stateside this coming Friday - two days before Nintendo's Wii arrives there. That's around half what Sony in September said would ship.

Last month, Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) co-chairman Jack Tretton admitted the launch allocations were more a "target" than a precise logistical statistic, and as we've noted before, there's an advantage in being able to claim stores sold out on the launch day and consumers were left disappointed - it stresses the apparent popularity of the product.

Taiwanese news wires this week claimed the island will get a mere 500 PS3s at launch.

That's the initial allocations. Sebastian said he expects Sony to sell around 750,000 PS3s in the US by the end of the year, which even with Japanese sales and shipments into other territories, may still leave Sony a long way off the 2m units it once said it would ship by the end of 2006.

Compare that to Wii. Sebastian said he believes Nintendo will ship 1.2m units to ship in the US by then end of the year and 4m consoles worldwide in that timeframe - incidentally, Nintendo's own figure. Today, Nintendo said it was planning to ship 400,000 Wiis into Japan for the machine's 2 December debut - four times the number of PS3s Sony is believed to have shipped into the country for this past weekend's launch.

As Sebastian says, the PS3 launch is "largely symbolic" - it's about making a bold statement that the delayed console has made it to market and proved the naysayers wrong. Sebastian said he thinks neither new console will achieve critical mass until next year, and software sales will remains small until then.

Taking a leaf out of Nintendo's book, Sony today said it would offer a number of older PSOne and PS2 titles for download after the launch. They're included in the 22 PS3 titles Sony said will ship during the US Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday period. ®

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