The announcement by Sony of a dramatic reduction in PS3s from the initial 2 million console mark to a scant 500,000 across both Japan and North America rocked the Internet today. European gamers were perhaps the most affected, as the launch of the most powerful console ever made was pushed back to March of 2007. The reason for the substantial drop in launch units was attributed to difficulties with the manufacturing of the blue laser diode, which is a key component to the console.
While rumors flew on message boards that this was the death knell of Sony, other rumors about the future of Blu-Ray and the potential skyrocket in prices for systems (thanks to the decrease in available systems) on Ebay ran rampant. IGN were lucky to have Dave Karraker, the Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Sony Computer Entertainment America, provide answers to some of the most pressing questions surrounding the reduced number of systems.
IGN: Despite the fact that you're sticking to the "six million units by the end of the fiscal year", there have been reports that only 400,000 units will be available in North America on November 17th and 100,000 units in Japan. Are these reports true?
Dave Karraker: At a media meeting this morning in Japan, Ken Kutaragi confirmed that there would be 400,000 units at launch for North America and 100,000 units in Japan. The North American number is just below what we had available at launch for PS2 and is higher than what Microsoft had for Xbox 360. More importantly, in my mind, is that we will have 1 to 1.2 million units available by December 31 in North America. This is more than double what Xbox 360 sold through during the same period (TRST data) and should assure there aren't significant stock dips at retail.