It should come as no surprise to anyone, but Sony’s PlayStation 3 will be in tight supply after its launch on November 17th. Why? Because Sony has yet to manufacture a single unit for consumer purchase. According to an article posted at the Register:
Speaking to US website Gamespot, Sony Computer Entertainment America president Kaz Hirai said: “We haven’t started manufacturing yet.” The company is currently “preparing… to get manufacturing going”, he added.
Hirai said Sony had yet to decide how many units will be allocated to the three territories the PS3 will launch in next November, but he stressed the company’s plan to ship 2m consoles worldwide by the end of the calendar year, which means “you’re talking about less than 700,000 units per territory… between launch and the end of the year”. The result: “You’re going to end up with some shortages.”
Can Sony build two million units in the next three months? Do pigs fly?
Let’s look at Sony’s history. For the PlayStation 2 launch in October 2000 Sony promised they would have two million units available at launch for the North American market. Then they cut the number to one million, and the final tally at launch was 700,000. And at the time of the North American launch they had been building PS2 units for nine months as the system had already launched in the Asian market.
Sony says two million PS3 units will be available worldwide in mid-November. Going by history, if they have 800,000–40 percent of their projections, based on past history–we should count ourselves lucky. Assume a three way split of that 800,000, and North America will see perhaps 300,000 units at launch through Christmas.
Add to that Sony’s quality assurance, and is the PlayStation 3 something anyone really wants this Christmas? The defective rate on the first PlayStation 2s approached 30 percent. Would I be willing to spend six hundred dollars on a piece of hardware that has a 30 percent chance, if not more given the PS3s complexity as compared to the PS2, of being defective?
For people putting the PlayStation 3 on their Christmas lists, expect shortages and expect defects besides the expected hit to the wallet.