Sony’s PlayStation 3 production delays have forced the company to announce that the launch of the console in Europe will be delayed four months, although the U.S. and Japan launches remain on schedule for the time being. The PS3 was supposed to launch worldwide (well, to be honest, it was originally supposed to launch months ago, but on a Microsoft blog we don’t knock companies for shipping months or Longhorn years late), but Sony has been forced to admit that the first wave of units will be half as large as intended, due to problems with the blue diodes used in the console’s Blu-ray drive.
The European launch will be in March, significantly later than the old November date, which cedes the entire holiday season in Europe to Microsoft. With only half as many units, even though all of them will now be going to the United States and Japan, Sony is guaranteed to have similar shortages to those that plagued the Xbox 360 launch. If the PS3 shortage ends quickly, it will likely have more to do with consumers being unable to afford the console than Sony fixes their production problems any time soon.
UPDATE: Joystiq reports that Sony has finally confirmed a massive reduction in shipments to the U.S. and Japan, one that had been rumored for weeks. Sony will ship half as many PS3s as promised, 2 million instead of 4 million, by the end of the year, and will launch with just 400,000 units in the United States and 100,000 units in Japan. Blechhh!