Friday, November 24, 2006

Why Is There A Playstation 3 Shortage?

by Gary Ruplinger

Sony has again cut their estimate for the number of Playstation 3 units they'll be shipping to the U.S. by the end of 2006. New estimates are saying only 750,000-1,000,000 systems will be available this holiday season.

Several stores have announced they won't even have enough units to cover the preorders they received. Gamestop has reported they'll only be receiving enough PS3s to cover 60% of their preorders. Amazon recently announced they won't be accepting any preorders for the PS3 and can't guarantee they'll have any before 2007.

So why is there a shortage of the Playstation 3 items anyway?

It all goes back to Sony's decision to include their new high definition video format - Blu-ray. The drive will allow for high definition gaming as well as allow PS3 owners to watch Blu-ray movies. The PS3 will be the cheapest Blu-ray player on the market by far as well due to the fact that Sony is absorbing a few hundred dollar loss on each system sold.

The problem with the Blu-ray drive is that making the blue laser diode needed for manufacturing the drive is proving notoriously difficult to manufacture. The two plants producing the diode, one owned by Sony, are both reporting lower than expected yields on their diodes. The low yields have forced Sony to cut estimates of having 4 million units ready this year in the U.S. to just 1 million. Sony has also postponed the release of its own standalone Blu-ray player and is using all the blue laser diodes that it does produce in its Playstation 3.

Although blue laser diode yield rates will certainly be improved over time, in the short term the problem isn't going to go away. Don't expect to see the PS3 sitting on shelves in a store just waiting for you to buy it until well into 2007.

That's not to say it will be impossible to get. For those willing to pay a premium price on aftermarket sites like eBay, there will be plenty of Playstation 3's available.

About the Author

Gary Ruplinger is the editor of To learn where to buy a PS3, visit his site. He'll explain where you can go to find the item in stock for some of the lowest prices you can find short of being one of the lucky ones that get their preorder.