Sony’s latest financial report projects the company will ship a total of 3 million of their upcoming Playstation Portable (PSP) systems by March of next year. That sounds like a lot of units, but it actually suggests that fans looking to pick one of these new toys up can expect the same kind of shortages that plagued the launch of the PS2. According to the folks at Games Industry.biz that may not be an entirely bad thing for Sony:
Three million units may seem like a lot, but spread around three global launches the figure is less impressive. Allowing for a larger allocation to the United States, you’re probably looking at less than a million units each for Europe and Japan – not a bad figure, but low enough to ensure that the demand for the device described famously by SCE boss Ken Kutaragi as the “Walkman for the 21st century” will outstrip supply at launch.
While the three million figure is probably based entirely in the company’s manufacturing capacity for the portable console – if they could make more, they would – there’s also a question mark over whether launch shortages would actually be a disadvantage anyway. Although many consumers were annoyed by the shortages of the PS2 at launch, stories of huge queues outside electronics retailers and consoles selling for massively inflated prices on eBay won Sony the sort of mainstream media publicity that money can’t buy – and cemented the PlayStation 2 in the minds of consumers as one of the most desirable items of the holiday season.
Given that the PSP looks like it’ll set a new standard for what to expect from a portable gaming system it’s likely that demand for it will be high and shortages could end up being some of the best advertising for how good the system is that Sony could hope for.