It’s official: Sony has confirmed will delay the launch of its PlayStation 3 game console by several months to November because of concerns that technology to prevent copying on new-technology DVD discs will not be ready. The delay had been widely predicted last month.

The launch had originally been promised for the northern spring.Sony decided to delay it because the copy protection technology for the new Blu-ray disc format – a replacement for DVDs used in the PS3 – has not been finalised.

Meanwhile Sony will appeal a US court ruling that found the Japanese entertainment company infringed on a small US company’s patent over its current, hot-selling PlayStation.A US District Court last week threw out Sony’s appeal against a costly 2005 ruling that said it illegally used technology of game machine developer Immersion.Sony still believed it had not infringed on Immersion’s patents, said a Sony spokeswoman.

Immersion has accused Sony of stealing the technology for the PlayStation “Dual Shock” controller, which produces vibrations to simulate action in games.The timing of the case is worrying for Sony because PS3 is also equipped with the Dual Shock technology. Rival Microsoft has already gained a major break by getting its Xbox 360 to market: it’s already on sale in Japan and the US and will hit the Australian market next week.

Sony will have to play serious catch up to garner market share in the high-tech gaming arena. Further, with the arrival of the backwards compatible Nintendo Revolution sometime this year, the stakes will be even higher.

Still, one research house believes PS3 will claim the majority of the next-generation console market. While 2006 sales are expected to fall short of previous expectations, Strategy Analytics Connected Home Devices service maintains its previous forecast of PS3 sales of 121.8 million units through 2012. That compares to expected sales of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 of 58.8 million units over the same period and results in an 65 percent share of the next-generation console market.

“The PS3 delay will give Microsoft more time to win early adopters, but this was generally anticipated,” said David Mercer, principal analyst at Strategy Analytics. “Any further delays could seriously damage Sony’s position as a consumer technology leader. Assuming the November launch takes place as planned, we still believe that the PS3 will prove to be the dominant next-generation console which will ultimately win a 65 percent share of the market.”

With a monthly production capacity of 1 million units, SCEI will push forward a product launch to spread the platform rapidly throughout the world, together with a comprehensive lineup of PS3 game titles, the company said.
The long-awaited gaming system based on the Cell processor — jointly developed by Sony, Toshiba and IBM — will feature a graphics processor co-developed by Nvidia  and SCEI, and XDR memory developed by Rambus.

Plans for PS3 call for it to incorporate the final specifications of Blu-ray next-generation DVD technology. That, along with the computing power of PS3, will allow playback of Blu-ray software at a high bit rate and a high quality display in resolution of 1080p (progressive scan method) as standard, which SCEI claims is far superior to 720p/1080i (interlace method).

The gaming console has a maximum storage capacity of 50GBytes and robust security. Users of the PS3 will be also able to connect to high-speed broadband network through gigabit Ethernet to tap into content and services over the networ


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