Tuesday, March 14, 2006

You Saw This Coming, Right? (Sony)

So, rumors are swirling that Sony will announce tomorrow (well, today in Japan at this time) that the Japanese release of the Playstation 3 will be delayed to November over Blu-Ray copy protection issues. No word of the effect on the North American or European release schedule as of yet.

First off, if Sony does indeed announce at their shindig that this is over Blu-Ray copy protection I have a bridge in New York I'd like to sell you. There could be a myriad of reasons why they are pushing it to the fall and maybe they'll grow some testicles and actually tell us why, but I doubt it.

Chances are if the system is coming out in Japan in November that there won't be a North American release until at least Spring 2007. Yes, Sony could attempt a worldwide release, but they never have in the past and I don't see them sacrificing half the stock to North America and basically thumbing their nose at the Japanese consumer.

Here are Sony's release dates on their other systems:

Japan - December 3, 1994
North America - September 9, 1995
Europe - September 29, 1995

Playstation 2
Japan - March 4, 2000
North America - October 26, 2000
Europe - Not sure

Playstation Portable
Japan - December 12, 2004
North America - March 24, 2005
Europe - September 1, 2005

Given that the PS3 has a lot more parts than the other 3 combined probably, chances are that the releases would be paced more like the PS2 than the PSP between Japan and North America, so we're talking May 2007...right around E3 probably.

Of course, is any of this really a surprise to anyone? Were you really clutching onto the hope that the PS3 would indeed be out this Spring even though little to no games have been shown up to this point? The first clue this week should have come yesterday when it was unveiled that God of War 2 was being worked on for the PS2 (NOT the PS3) with most likely a February 2007 release. Why is this game not leading the charge into the new generation? Think about that for a moment.

Another interesting point in all of this is that some developers may be sitting on done or close to being done games for the PS3. Remember when EA showed off Fight Night Round 3 and pointing out that it was running on PS3 hardware? Chances are good that EA has a pretty much done copy of FN3 ready for the PS3 that they now have to sit on for a year possibly. Same goes for other upcoming EA games like Madden 2007 and probably other developer's games as well.

You may think I'm an anti-Sony person and I'm really not. I just think Sony as a company has been going downhill for a bit now in all aspects of business, not just the gaming division. Who's to say with the delay that Microsoft isn't going to attempt to buy some PS3 exclusives in order to bring them to Xbox 360? Why would developers eat money on games close to being done while waiting for a system to come out?

Microsoft is left with a golden opportunity and I think they've been keeping quiet on games coming out after May. I think they're going to unveil a lot of stuff at E3 this year, stuff we haven't even heard of yet. Chances are there will be lots of 2nd generation games available around the holidays this year and Sony will be left holding its PS2 system for the second holiday in a row. The PS2 has an impressive amount of games in the pipe, but Microsoft and Nintendo could gain a lot of ground if the PS3 doesn't surface until later this year or next year.

We should know more tomorrow about the PS3 and its future, I just hope Sony mans up and tells it like it is instead of hiding behind Blu-Ray copy protection as the reason this delay is happening. They won't of course, but we can always dream, can't we?