Folks in Europe who were quivering with anticipation about the prospect of getting hold of a PS3 in time to play with it on Xmas day are going to be very disappointed.... Sony has just announced that it is to delay the European launch of its next generation game machine until March from November. Seemingly, inadequate supply of a key component will make a 2006 launch in Europe impossible. Sony will now be forced to put back the main TV-led advertising campaign for the product until next year.

This news follows repeated denials from Sony in recent months that it was having problems with its ambitious plans for a simultaneous global launch of the PS3. The news will doubtless come as a huge disappointment for many who were awaiting the console, and the Hollywood studios who were expecting millions of PS3 owners to start buying Blu-ray movies are probably not going to be too chuffed about it either. Indeed, the influence all of this is going to have on the Blu-ray camp in the next generation DVD format war remains to be fully calculated, but I don't suppose it will affect that format positively.

"I feel sorry. I think there are so many people out there who hold such high expectations for PS3," said Ken Kutaragi, the head of Sony's game unit and known as the "father of the PlayStation"
Quite happy about this development, though, will be folks in Nintendo and Microsoft, who will see the PS3 fall substantially behind its rivals. Microsoft launched its Xbox 360 late last year and Nintendo plans to offer the Wii in the final quarter of 2006, just in time for the Xmas launch Sony would have so wanted to take place in Europe.

Sony still plans to uphold its Japanese launch on November 11 and North American launch on November 17.