The PlayStation 3 is set to launch in North America, Asia and Europe in early November this year, Sony Computer Entertainment boss Ken Kutaragi has announced, with the firm committed to shipping six million units by the end of March 2007.
Kutaragi was speaking at the PlayStation business briefing in Tokyo, where the firm is outlining its plans for the videogames business over the coming year to an audience of media, analysts and third-party publishing partners.
He told the briefing that the PS3 will be launched in early November in all three major global territories, confounding industry and analyst expectations of a staggered release schedule which would see the European launch delayed to 2007.
From launch onwards, Sony plans to ship a million units a month of the PlayStation 3 - with six million units to be on the market by the end of its financial year in March 2007, indicating that the company plans to have up to two million units ready for day one.
It's an ambitious plan, but the firm certainly has time on its side - having moved its launch target from "spring 2006" to November, and with reports indicating that manufacturing of the console could begin as soon as June, Sony has plenty of time to ramp up the manufacture process and build up stock of the system pre-launch.
Sony also today confirmed that the final development hardware for PlayStation 3 will roll out in June, which tends to support the claim that manufacturing will also start then, as final development hardware requires almost all of the components of the final consumer hardware to be completed.
However, the November target is likely to be the subject of some speculation for months to come - especially given Sony's track record with such ambitious worldwide launch targets in the form of the PlayStation Portable, which was originally due to launch globally at the end of 2004, but ended up not arriving in America until the second quarter of 2005, and didn't launch in Europe until nine months later, at the beginning of September 2005.
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