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US PS3 shipments halved?

If analysts say so it must be true!

Ahead of the launch of the PlayStation 3 in the US, Lazard Capital Markets believes Sony will only be able to ship between 150,000 and 200,000 units to retail shelves.

The figure is half that promised by Ken Kuturagi back in September after the announcement of a delay to the consoles launch in PAL regions.

"We expect Sony to deliver 150-200k units to stores in the United States for the launch; consumers without pre-orders may find it difficult to locate an available system," said Lazard's Colin Sebastian.

"We expect sales of approximately 750k PS3s domestically by year end," added Sebastian. "We expect a more robust launch from Nintendo, with at least 1.2 million units sold in the US and up to four million units shipped worldwide by year end."

However, Sebastian noted that launch numbers are mainly a marketing tool, stating: "The significance for the software publishers is largely symbolic, as the new consoles will not likely be meaningful drivers of software sales until later next year when we expect the installed bases of the PS3 and Wii to reach critical mass."

Sebastian also believes that sales of software for the newly launched consoles will not have a significant impact over the coming Christmas period.

"We expect less than 15 per cent of software sales to come from the PS3 and Wii this holiday. The more numerous Xbox 360, PS2 and handheld platforms remain key drivers of growth," he concluded.

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