Can anyone see the PS3?

Further confusion – and concern – was created last week when US analyst Merrill Lynch questioned Sony’s previously announced ‘Spring’ launchdate for the console.

The firm also predicted that the manufacturing costs of PS3 have also spiralled as high as £500 per unit and suggested that a 12-month delay on the console could be on the cards.

SCE responded, unusually, dismissing the rumour, with spokesperson Kei Sakaguchi claiming: “There is no change in our original plan to release the console in Spring 2006.”

However, a further twist emerged earlier this week via BBC Online, which published a statement from an SCE spokesperson offering: “We’re aiming for a Spring release, but the launch could be pushed back if the final specifications are not decided soon.”

The on-going soap opera has the entire industry playing a guessing game, though MCV understands that studios have finally started to receive complete dev kits. A Japanese and US launch could still happen this year, but the smart money’s on a Euro roll-out next March.

“A Spring launch would surprise me,” analyst and former SCEE executive Nick Parker told MCV. “I would guess that it will be Q3 in Japan, Q4 in the US and Q1 ’07 for us in Europe, though it is just that – a guess.

It is conceivable that we could see a launch as early as June in Japan, but why would Sony want to rush to market? I’m surprised that they’re still claiming it will be Spring, but then again, ‘Spring’ is a long period in our industry.”

Other analysts are even more sceptical, with KBC Securities’ analyst Hiroshi Kamide stating: “No-one is seriously thinking that a Spring release is realistic any more.”

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