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PS3 Lands, Flies Off The Shelf

Playstation 3 finally arrived here over the weekend (Nov. 11), one week ahead of the U.S. market. About 100,000 units shipped Saturday (Nov. 11) and immediately flew off store shelves.

Hundreds lined up around major retailers here before dawn and stories were sold out by 7 a.m. Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. shipped 100,000 units for sale here the first day and will ship 400,000 units for the U.S. launch on Nov. 17.

Sony still plans to ship 1 million units in Japan and another 1 million units in the U.S. by the end of this year. A "laser diode production glitch was solved, but we are still having tough time catching up," a Sony spokeswoman said. Sony has not disclosed when and how many additional Playstation 3 units will be shipped after the launch.

Nintendo will launch its Wii game console in the U.S. on Nov. 19. It will be launched here on Dec. 2. About 400,000 units will be shipped here and a larger number to the U.S. market, a Nintendo spokesman said.

Microsoft Corp. will also introduce the Core system, a cheaper version of Xbox 360 on Nov. 22 in the U.S. and Dec. 10 in Japan.

Facing stiff competition, "Playstation 3 will make a slow start," said Hirokazu Hamamura, president of Enterbrain Inc., a Tokyo-based game market researcher.

Enterbrain estimates that PS3 shipments will reach 4.13 million units by March 2007, lower than Sony's planned 6 million units. "PS3 will have a difficult time at the beginning," Hamamura said. PS3 game titles at launch are limited, he added.

By contrast, Wii will make a fast start. Nintendo plans to ship 4 million units worldwide by the end of the year. Meanwhile, about 8.85 million Xbox 360 units will be shipped by the end of the year, Enterbrain said.

PS3 sales, however, are expected to accelerate and eventually surpass Wii by the end of 2007. It will nearly catch up with Xbox 360 shipments by the end of 2008, Enterbrain projects.

"Sales of PS3 will grow rapidly in its second to third year when [Sony] lowers the prices of PS3. The potential demand is quite high because of its performance," Hamamura said.

Source: EETimes

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