PS3 firmly on Euro horizon

May 27th by Stuart Dinsey

As Ken Kutaragi waved the PlayStation 3 in front of the world at E3 and said “Spring 2006” everyone in Europe and other PAL territories muttered “Yeah, right” not so quietly.

But MCV understands that Sony insiders do not expect the kind of delay on roll-out that has been seen on previous static console systems and, most recently, the PSP handheld.

Kuturagi gave no further detail on which territories would get the PS3 when - trade speculation settling on a landing outside of Japan and the US by Christmas 2006 at the very earliest and, most probably, March 2007.

But Sony Computer Entertainment Europe now serves a huge market which has edged past the US in terms of PS2 business, and it is confident that a change is coming.

MCV also understands that PSP’s late roll-out here was not for the want of trying. Day and date with Japan for PAL PS3 is unlikely, but a target of September 2006 would still be a huge boost to the trade.

Publishers want to believe, but need convincing. “The earlier PlayStation 3 gets to us the better, but even spring next year in Japan was a surprise. Here by next autumn? Wow, that’s hard,” said Electronic Arts’ European boss Gerhard Florin.

In truth, the UK, European and other PAL markets are unlikely to get a straight answer on launchdate for some time. But there is a determination, driven by Kuturagi at the very top, to avoid any repeat of the agonising wait for PSP.

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