Sony’s decision to delay the launch of the Playstation 3 console from spring to November has given Microsoft’s Xbox 360 time to gain a bigger foothold in the gaming market.
Sony announced plans for the PS3 last May with much fanfare, but then they went unheard for months, giving Microsoft the opportunity it was looking for to steal the spotlight with the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 launch was filled with as much laughter, tears, and heartache as any daytime soap opera, and Microsoft has been able to make this noise because they are currently uncontested: there is no competing product for the Xbox 360, and won’t be for most of this year.
Microsoft knows when it rules the roost, and they know how to play for keeps. They have publicly stated that the third installment of their most profitable franchise, Halo, will be strategically released to compete with the Playstation 3. Industry insiders have confirmed that Halo 3 is already completed and ready to ship, but Microsoft was holding off until spring. Now it appears that Halo 3 may as well be vaporware, because in all likelihood Microsoft will delay its release until November.
Sony promised a spring 2006 launch, but as the winter thawed, the $11 billion video game industry started to grow impatient. Key game developers were even being kept in the dark of the PS3’s status… until last Wednesday in Tokyo when Sony’s game unit President Ken Kutaragi announced that Sony’s killer console would be pushed back to November.
This news arrived just before the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California, and will certainly be the hot topic. Sony is expected to deliver an address on this issue at the conference.