Analyst: 1m PS3s to hit US in November

Pacific Crest Securities expects Sony's next-gen console to arrive in force by Thanksgiving, pegs Euro-launch for 2007.

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At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, Sony executives delivered a keynote address about its vision for the "digital future." But although Sony touted the PlayStation group as one of the cornerstones of its plan, it gave few new details about the forthcoming PlayStation 3. The only concrete information came in the form of a brief aside from Sony Computer Entertainment America president and CEO Kaz Hirai saying that the PS3 is "a key pillar of Sony growth in 2006."

The death of official information from Sony has forced Wall Street analysts to once again put on their prognostication hats. The latest industry-expert augury comes from Pacific Crest Securities' Evan Wilson, who believes the PlayStation 3 won't launch until November, versus the "spring 2006" window announced at E3 2005. Speaking to the Investor's Business Daily, Wilson also said the "the most likely scenario" is for Sony to ship around 1 million PS3s in North America by the end of the year. That's nearly three times as many Xbox 360s Microsoft sent to US and Canadian stores in 2005.

One reason for the delay--and the greater number of units--is that Sony is almost certain to wait until they gain a greater "chip yield" of its vaunted new Cell processor. In layman's terms, that means the company is waiting until it fine-tunes the manufacturing process to get a maximum number of usable processors possible per batch of silicon. Though such a move would delay the PS3 launch, it might not be such a bad idea. The Xbox 360's launch was marred by massive console shortages--shortages Microsoft executives have attributed to manufacturing issues.

As for other territories, Wilson predicts that the PS3 will follow the model of the PSP, debuting in Japan first, most likely in the summer, followed by the console's North American launch. He believes the PS3 will arrive in Europe last, sometime in early 2007.

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