Hirai: 380 PS3 titles by March '08

[UPDATE] SCEI CEO promises 200 new boxed games and 180 network releases for the console worldwide by end of Sony's fiscal year; SCEA confirms at least 145 for NA.

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Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. president and CEO Kaz Hirai will bring 380 games to the platform internationally by March 2008, reports the Japanese news service Nikkei. If accurate, the report marks a big ramp-up in development for the console, which currently sees a dozen or less new releases a month.

Hirai told Nikkei that Sony will release 200 new retail games and 180 download-only titles, although he did not name any titles or developers. According to the GameSpot database, around 150 retail and download titles are currently slated for release before the end Q2 2008 in the US, Europe, and Japan.

[UPDATE] When contacted by GameSpot, Sony Computer Entertainment America senior director of corporate communications Dave Karraker confirmed "105 Blu-ray disc games and about 40 PlayStation Network games and game packs" would arrive in North America by March 31, 2008. However, he added "I don't have visibility on third party games past Christmas and our fiscal runs to the end of March, so there are probably more."

Hirai also reportedly promised that Sony would work with third-party developers to help promote their PS3 efforts by "coordinating such marketing plans as advertisements, events, and in-store promotions."

SCEI's new boss officially started his role earlier this week on June 19, when former chief Ken Kutaragi stepped down to "pass the torch on to the next generation" and pursue his dreams "beyond PlayStation."

According to The Nikkei, Sony shipped 5.5 million PS3s worldwide in the fiscal year ending March 2007--slightly fewer than the six million the company had forecast. The company is expecting to ship 11 million units in this financial year started in April. Nintendo, on the other hand, shipped 5.84 million Wiis during the same period.

Sony CEO Howard Stringer said that he believed the next-gen machine was "making a comeback already," now that production issues had been solved, adding, "We believe PS3, going forward, will be vital to our future and will succeed." He also has publicly hinted that the company is reevaluating the price of the console, which currently costs $599 in the US and £425 (around $847) in the UK.

Hirai also discussed his plans for an Internet video-sharing service for the PS3, noting "We aim to achieve greater popularity than the PlayStation 2."

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