Sony has finally reacted to the reports by various analysts, including the prestigious Merrill Lynch, suggesting that the company would delay its planned spring launch for the Playstation 3 console.
Sony Computer Entertainment spokesperson Kei Sakaguchi has gone on record to say that the console will make its spring launch and will not be delayed until fall in Japan and 2007 in the U.S. as Merrill Lynch's Joe Osha had claimed. Mr. Sakaguchi's statement however, made it clear that Sony only has the spring launch target for Japan and not other territories. The comments, made during a Tokyo event, would have been enough to quell the current barrage of rumors regarding the PS3 delay had the BBC and Reuters not mentioned comments by an unnamed Sony spokeswoman which seem to contradict Sakaguchi-san.
The two news organizations claim that the Sony spokeswoman agreed that a spring launch was the plan but also stated that some technical issues and specifications such as those for Blu-Ray could push the launch back. We're waiting for them until the last possible minute, but the launch could be pushed back if they're not decided soon... claims the source.
Whether the BBC and Reuters have their story right or not, the spring launch mentioned by Sakaguchi-san does seem unlikely in the light of the total absence of any marketing campaign and pricing announcements. The lack of a playable PS3 console at the Taipei show last week also suggests that if a launch is indeed planned for spring in Japan it will most likely be a very exclusive one with few units and a basic launch lineup. Such a move might alienate Sony's fans and is unlikely to make any form of dent on Microsoft's sales lead, over its rival, in the next-generation console market.
We can make few assumptions until we hear further comments from Sony however, as the need to have some definite PS3 details by the GDC in March is now becoming urgent.