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Sony US Launch : The proverbial hits the fan

Outraged PS2 fans today united in criticism of Sony's launch policy for the USA, after news was released that only half a million units will be available for launch.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Sony's fans and naysayers alike joined in criticism of the console giant's latest announcement this week. According to sources inside Sony, the US launch will only see some 500,000 units, not the promised 1 million. So half a million then, for the whole of America, a figure that was sold twice over in one weekend at the Japanese launch. Of most disgust to fans was Sony's smokescreen "confirmation" of launch titles. The company proudly announced some 26 titles that will be available to fans at launch. Of course, this is yet another ill-fated move for the company. After all, who is going to buy 26 titles at launch? Even die-hards would find it hard to justify picking up more than three or four, and third party sales projections indicate most families that pick up a console at launch will buy less than ten titles before Christmas, with the majority buying less than five. Earlier this month it was explained to journalists that although the PS2 will be available from November 24th in this country and the rest of Europe, you'll be hard pressed to buy a unit from a store shelf before next Spring due to shortages. The ratio of supply and demand will be at an all-time high, and it seems that every retailer (in the UK at least) is out of pre-order forms. Although Sony will undoubtedly end up selling all of its US and European consoles and making a big song and dance about it, there will be thousands upon millions of Westerners crying out for a unit, but it seems protestations will fall upon deaf ears. Insatiable demand was always going to be a problem for Sony, but one of the main reasons manufacturing is so set back is that they've been adding bits here and there to try and combat Nintendo and Microsoft press announcements. The latest change - the addition of hardware DVD playback - may have set the process back some weeks. Sony seem to have bodged the Western launch of its console up royally. Oh and as if this were not enough, the hardware DVD playback we just mentioned uses a certain Cirrus chipset, and as previously reported on these pages, dedicated DVD specialist Wharfdale has already been forced to shop elsewhere for its kit due to a shortage.. yes, another shortage that could have adverse effects on Sony's kit in the West. Somebody hand me a slapstick.

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