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Last Updated: Monday, 20 February 2006, 06:26 GMT
Sony fears on PlayStation launch
Sony PlayStation 3
The launch of the new PlayStation is eagerly awaited
Sony's next-generation PlayStation 3 console could miss its spring launch if industry specifications for some of its technology are not finalised soon.

The PS3 will offer games as well as the ability to play music and watch films, as it seeks to take on rivals Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Revolution.

The new console is expected to feature cutting-edge processors and graphics.

Sony said if industry specifications on some of the PS3 were not decided soon "the launch could be pushed back".

'Last possible minute'

"We're aiming for spring, but we haven't announced specific regions," a spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment said.

They said Sony was waiting for final specifications - which are decided by industry consortiums - on some of the technology in the PS3, including that connected to the Blu-ray disc drive and to input and output video and sound.

"We're waiting for them until the last possible minute, but the launch could be pushed back if they're not decided soon," the spokesman said.

Yuta Sakurai, a senior analyst at Nomura Securities, said he expected Sony to try to launch the PS3 in Japan in early summer, in time for the school holidays in July.

Shares hit

Other analysts believe the US launch will not be until before November's Thanksgiving holiday, while a European launch is expected in early 2007.

"No one is seriously thinking a spring release is realistic any more," said Hiroshi Kamide, an analyst at KBC Securities.

Sony shares closed 3.64% down on the Tokyo market.

"If the launch is delayed, it will be beneficial in the short term, but will be negative from the standpoint of share price," said Merrill Lynch analyst Hitoshi Kuriyama in a research note.

"If it is on time, the PS3 will weigh on the company's profitability."

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