The timing of the release of Sony’s PlayStation 3 console has become a matter of speculation in the $25 billion video game industry and among the studios, hardware makers and other companies looking to handicap the battle over next-generation DVD technology.
Representatives said it was still targeting a spring 2006 launch for the PS3, which is key to maintaining its lead in the game console market against Microsoft, which recently launched its competing Xbox 360 console. Larry Probst, chief executive of the No. 1 video game publisher Electronic Arts, said that he believed Sony’s console would not be available until fall 2006.
The PS3 is central to Sony’s push of Blu-ray, its next-generation DVD technology, against a rival DVD format known as HD DVD, created by a Toshiba-led group and adopted by Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
A spokeswoman for the Blu-ray consortium said the group was still on track for a spring 2006 launch, indicating other manufacturers would be rolling out Blu-ray players at that time. “When Blu-ray launches next spring, there will be both hardware and content,” she said. Rival HD DVD is planning to roll out hardware and software in the spring 2006. Any delay in the launch of PS3 would be seen as a plus for HD DVD.