EA: 500k-800k PS3s in US in '06

Electronic Arts CEO Larry Probst says Sony shipped only 200,000 PS3s for US launch, expects up to 800,000 in stores this year.

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While empty-handed Sony fans scour shops for the hard-to-find PlayStation 3, industry figureheads are trying to explain exactly why they are so scarce. Speaking at the Reuters Media Summit in New York, Electronic Arts CEO Larry Probst gave his thoughts on the supply of Sony's PlayStation 3, noting launch shortages and predicting how many PS3s would be available in the near future.

Probst expects Sony to ship 500,000 to 800,000 PS3s in North America by the end of the year, according to Reuters. That figure is below Sony's projection of 1 million to 1.2 million PS3s in North America in 2006.

Like several industry analysts, Probst also believes Sony missed its North American launch target of 400,000 PS3s shipped. The exec believes as many as 200,000 units were available when the PS3 debuted on November 17. Even with EA expecting less than 400,000 consoles for the launch, Probst said, "Where [Sony] ended up was a bit of a surprise."

Sony has yet to release sales numbers for the PS3. Nintendo, on the other hand, said 600,000 Wiis were sold in the console's first eight days on sale.

"Clearly the Wii has a spectacular holiday," said Probst, adding that sales of the new Nintendo console exceeded his company's forecast.

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