Sony insists it's on schedule for PS3 shipments

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TOKYO -- The Sony division that has been wrestling with the problems associated with the PlayStation 3 game console insists it is on target for 6 million units shipped by the end of the financial year.

The prediction is in spite of the 1 million shipment mark being reached on Tuesday -- more than two weeks behind schedule -- and a report by Nomura Securities that states Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. will send out a mere 4.5 million units by March 31.

"We set a target of 1 million for the end of December but experienced production issues that delayed us," said Satoshi Fukuoka, a spokesman for SCEI. "Those problems -- which involved the laser diodes -- have now been sorted out and we are not changing our original target of 6 million units by the end of the fiscal year."

The third-generation of Sony's console has been dogged by development faults and delays that meant a mere 100,000 machines were available for the Japan launch in November. Four times that many were released in the

United States, but initial sales in Europe were put back to March, meaning the electronics giant missed the Christmas market.

Incorporating the Blu-ray high-definition DVD player and the Cell microchip, the PS3 has impressive graphics that have appealed to dedicated gamers, but development costs have dented the company's bottom line and meant a six-year wait for the succesor to the PS2.

And both Nintendo and Microsoft have taken advantage of those delays at the cash registers.

SCEI is pinning its hopes on the release of new software in the coming months to boost sales of the system. The first will be available in Japan before the end of January and be followed by four further titles in February and another four in March, Fukuoka said.

"We have solved this production issue and are confident this will be the end of our problems," he added.
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