Sony has shipped 4 million PlayStation 3 consoles and is still on target to meet its goal of 6 million shipped by March 31, Sony Computer Entertainment chairman Ken Kutaragi told reporters on Friday.
The good news was offset by complaints flooding in from industry journalists and gamers that the PS3 to be launched in Europe, Australia and the Middle East on March 23 will not be backward compatible with many PS2 and PS1 games, unlike the models sold in Japan and the U.S., which are nearly 98% compatible. The reason: Sony is losing hundreds of dollars on each PS3 console sold in its two biggest territories — and has tried to cut costs by cutting down on backward compatibility in other markets.
Also, the 60GB version of the PS3 to be sold in Europe and Australia will be priced at nearly $800; in the U.S., the same model sells for about $600.
Sony has countered that European and Australian gamers will have access to emulation software, enabling them to play older games. Also, to entice buyers in Australia (and take the edge off their tempers), Sony will throw in free Blu-ray discs of the film “Casino Royale,” together with free downloads of the “Gran Turismo” game. The first 20,000 customers will receive the disc.
Due to production snafus, Sony shipped only 1.84 million PS3s by the end of last year, far under its target of 2 million. This compares with 3.19 million units of the rival Nintendo Wii console shipped in the same period.