PlayStation2 -- Only Half the Fun

Sony Computer Entertainment America, a division of the Japanese electronics giant, says it expects to miss its internal target of shipping 1 million units at launch, a shortfall that is likely to draw the ire of both online and brick-and-mortar retailers, not to mention hundreds of thousands of consumers.

"I don't think everyone who wants one will get one," says Jack Tretton, a senior VP at Sony Computer Entertainment America.

The new plan, according to SCEA executives, is to deliver about 500,000 units on October 26. The company then plans to manufacture and ship about 100,000 units each week, all the way through the holiday shopping season.

By the end of the year, Sony plans to ship about 1.3 million units. Industry watchers originally expected about 2 million units by the end of the year.

Despite the setback, Sony executives say they plan to meet their target to deliver 3 million units by the end of Sony's fiscal year on March 31, 2001. Some 20,000 retailers will receive the much-anticipated game machine, but it remains unclear whether any are online retailers.

"We're still looking at a variety of options in terms of what the product offering would be and what kind of allocations dot-com or e-commerce sites [would receive]," says SCEA President and COO Kazuo Hirai. "We have not made a final determination yet."

When PlayStation2 was launched in Japan last March, Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan sold nearly a third of the 1 million units online, much of it through its own Internet storefront, PlayStation.com.

The ongoing components shortage has hurt Sony's competitors such as Nintendo, as well as other sectors of the technology industry. In an attempt to offset retailers' disappointment about the shortage, Sony executives said they would ship about 26 games along with PlayStation2's US launch, up from more than a dozen.

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