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Sony's rough ride through 2006

When the first PlayStation 3s went on sale in Japan there were not enough for everyone who wanted one, and within hours the shops were empty.

The same thing happened with the PlayStation 2, but there are only about half as many units available this time round as last.

It is not that Sony has not learnt its lesson, it is just that things have not quite gone to plan.

It was a very ambitious project from the start. The new Cell processor at the heart of the machine was to be 40 times more powerful than its predecessor, simultaneously working out the physics and lighting of in-game movement and huge amounts of detailed real-time rendering.

That slowed production, but there was also another problem.

"Blu Ray is the other massive challenge. In order to get so much data on a disc you have to make the pits that the laser reads immensely small," said Nick Gillett, video games journalist from The Guardian.

"You also need a very fine laser to pick up those pits and they've been having enormous trouble with the blue laser diode which make the laser..."

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