Sony sticking to PS 3 sales target

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TOKYO -- Sony is staying with its target of shipping 6 million PlayStation 3 consoles by the end of the fiscal year that runs through March, president Ryoji Chubachi said Thursday, addressing concerns the company might not meet demand.

The electronics giant is also sticking to its target of shipping 2 million PlayStation 3 consoles by the end of the calendar year, he said. Tokyo-based Sony Corp. also wants to launch its next generation system in Europe as soon as possible, he said.

"Today, the rate (of sales) meets our expectations," Chubachi said. "Two million by the end of the year is within our range."

Sony's PlayStation 3 made its highly anticipated world debut in Japan in November to long lines, with local stores selling out their supplies of the video game console in a pattern that was followed days later at the U.S. opening.

But plagued with production problems, Sony had managed to ready only 100,000 PlayStation 3 machines in time for its Japan debut.

Powered by the new "Cell" computer chip and supported by the next-generation Blu-ray video disc format, the console delivers nearly movie-like graphics.

Sony will be losing money for some time on each PS3 sold because of the high costs for research and production that went into the highly sophisticated machine.

Its success is seen as critical to helping a company stung by other setbacks, including the massive global recall of 9.6 million faulty lithium-ion batteries used in notebook computers. Sony said earlier that the recall would cost the company 51.2 billion yen ($437 million).

Chubachi said Thursday the company was sticking with that forecast.

In recent years, Sony has fallen behind in key products like flat-panel TVs and digital music players. But it has been making progress with a two-year revival by getting back to basics in its consumer electronics operations.
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