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PS3 shortages inevitable - Sony

Kaz Hirai talks production.

Less than three months before the scheduled tri-continent launch of Sony's PlayStation 3 console, SCEA president Kaz Hirai has stated that retail shortages in each territory are inevitable.

Speaking to Gamespot, Hirai discussed the company's preparations for the November launch, admitting that production lines have yet to begin full operation.

"We haven't started manufacturing yet. Some of our ops guys were actually just in China, and also in Japan just reviewing the lines and everything else. But they are, again, preparing as we speak to get the manufacturing going," Hirai stated.

"We've not announced and we haven't set really a specific date to say, 'As of this day we're going to start manufacturing'."

Given the relatively short timescale for mass production prior to launch and the shortages which plagued Microsoft's Xbox 360 launch almost a year ago, Hirai was questioned on retail allocation for the console - leading to an admission that some consumers are likely to be disappointed in November.

"Even if you do the simple math you're talking about less than 700,000 units per territory, per major territory, between launch and the end of the year. So even if there was some fluctuation - you give Japan more, you give the US more, what have you - you're going to end up with some shortages," Hirai continued

"I think it's going to be very much of a challenge to be able to meet every single unit demand that's out there in the market. That's just a logistical impossibility."

However, Hirai remains confident in the company's ability to deliver on its target of 2 million units for launch, shipping a further million units a month to reach its previously stated goal of 6 million units on the market by March 2007.

"Everything's pretty much on track," Hirai said. "We're internally really getting geared up to go to market with this beautiful console in three months' time, and at this point in time all signs are good to go."

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