Sony shenanigans

Written by Wil Harris

February 20, 2006 | 11:26

Tags: #3 #bmg #cell #cost #merrill-lynch #rootkit

Companies: #blu-ray #ibm #sony

There's all kinds of Sony fun going on today, so here's a quick roundup of the stories.

PlayStation 3 will be late: Sony has now admitted that the PS3 will probably not ship in Spring, as it hoped. The reason for the delay? The content protection protocols on Blu-Ray, the next-gen optical drive being used in the PS3, still aren't finalised, after a delay last week. A Sony spokeswoman said that "We're waiting for them until the last possible minute, but the launch could be pushed back if they're not decided soon."

Sony also all but admitted that any launch that was going to happen wasn't going to happen in multiple territories, like the Xbox 360. "We're aiming for spring, but we haven't announced specific regions," the spokeswoman said, rather suggesting that the only region to be announced will be Japan, initially.

It's not like we hadn't already expected that the PS3 would be delayed, but this is the first real inkling of a confirmation. It wasn't live at CES, it wasn't on show at the Taipei games show - we're 4-5 months from a date of a Spring launch, and Sony still hasn't demoed the console. Bit of a problem.

PlayStation 3 will be expensive: A report by analysts Merrill Lynch has suggested that the PS3 could cost as much as $800 for Sony to manufacture. If Sony were to sell at a $399 pricepoint to compete directly with the Xbox 360, that would mean they'd lose $400 on every console sold. That is one heck of a loss to chew up, especially considering Microsoft only loses around $130 at present on the Xbox 360, with costs coming down as it works its way through the manufacturing process. The cost is primarily taken up with the Blu-Ray drive and the Cell processor, both of which are new and expensive to make. The cost of manufacture makes it likely that the machine will cost at least $499 to buy. Ouch.

Sony demotes CEO: Sony BMG has demoted its current CEO, Andrew Lack, to a position as Chairman of the Board. The current chairman, Rolf Schmidt-Holtz has been promoted up to CEO. Speculation suggests that Lack has been penalised for his poor handling of major PR issues over the last few months, such as the rootkit debacle. Can we suggest that it's great to see a head rolling for that one?

Is Sony losing its grip a little? Let us know your thoughts over in the forums.
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