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PS3 cut in half, delay in Europe: Our take

Covering PS3 news is anathema to some of our readers, but we must comment on Sony's surprise announcements today. In case you haven't heard, Sony set us up the bomb today that they will ship a worldwide total of 500,000 PS3s at launch, and only in the US and Japan at that. Given these numbers, Sony also readjusted their end of the year sales estimate to 2 million units (down from 4 million). Even more perplexing, Japan will only see 100,000 of the first shipment. Even more perplexing than that, Europe will see a grand total of zero (zed) PS3 units at launch. Which of course means that the PS3 won't actually be launching at all in Europe, at least, not this year. Our sad crumpet munching friends will have to wait until March of 2007 to snag a PS3. At least you have Dead Rising now. What, if anything, does this mean for the 360? Read on for our take.

The meaning for the 360 is fairly clear. Lots of people will opt for a 360 (or Wii) that they can have right now rather than wait for the PS3 to be restocked. This urgency is even more pronounced during the holidays, when parents are pressured to put something under the tree, menorah, et cetera. Granted, Sony has mentioned nothing about how fast shipments will pick up after launch, but if the 360 was any indication, lots of folks could be waiting a long time to get their sweaty little hands on Kutaragi's wonder box.

So, people will stand in those stores, look at PS3 and 360 displays, and be forced to make a choice.

"Do I want to pick up a 360 and Gears of War, or should I wait for them to restock the PS3 and get a copy of Giant Enemy Crab Battle? Hmmmm ... well, I do love massive damage ..."

And let's not forget Japan. 100,000 PS3s will sell out very fast. And what's left behind? Lots of 360s and Blue Dragon. We know that many of you don't want or even care about Blue Dragon, but its potential importance must be understood -- not to mention Lost Odyssey. Blue Dragon is being made by Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy) and Akira Toriyama (Dragon Quest). These two already have some Japanese street cred under their belts, and the last time these boys got together they produced a little game called Chrono Trigger. That's a huge name in the RPG world and Microsoft undoubtedly knows it. If Blue Dragon is everything that it can be, it could prove to be a powerful incentive for the Japanese to pick up a 360 when there are no PS3s to be had.

In the end, no matter what kind of spin you put on this for Sony, it should be nothing but good for Microsoft.

See also:

North American, Japanese PS3 launch limited to 500,000 units

European launch of Playstation 3 delayed until March 2007

Blue Dragon, could it save Japan?

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