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by Mike Zazaian October 4, 2006 - 6:19pm, 2 Comments

PS3 in silver

A series of repeated crashes in Playstation 3 consoles at the Tokyo Game Show have ignited doubts about the quality of the console, and its manufacturer.

Sony has officially won the award for worst month ever after reports that its upcoming Playstation 3 console was seen repeatedly crashing at the Tokyo Game Show. According to Macquarie Equities analyst David Gibson, who was in attendance at the event, PS3 consoles that were being demoed operated erratically and had to be repeatedly reset. Gibson elaborated:

While the reason for this is unknown, we suspect it may be due to overheating as a result of enclosing the units and the high temperatures at the venue. We are concerned that such a problem has occurred so close to full production and is clearly negative news for the company.

The negative news sucker-punched Sony yesterday, with Sony shares falling from ¥4,730 to ¥4,600, a loss of 2.75 percent. Sony spokesperson Nanako Kato followed up on the incident by saying that the issues aren’t derived from the consoles, but rather the over-heated environment in which they were being used. Said Kato:

It’s not a problem with the PlayStation 3 unit itself. For a normal player at home, there shouldn’t be any problem.

Regardless whether the problem is due to the hardware or its environment, the PS3 crashes proved an inauspicious start for a company whose image of technical excellence has been hobbled by a slew of exploding lithium-ion batteries. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 encountered similar issues during its initial US run, in which the power supply would overheat, causing consoles to shut down at random. The matter definitely made headlines, but wasn’t a deal-breaker for the Xbox 360, then the only next-gen console on the market.

But with strong market buzz surrounding Nintendo’s Wii, this thorn in Sony’s foot could prove fatal to its launch efforts on November 11th. Sony has to be careful not only in US markets, but in Japan where the Wii and the Playstation 3 will be the main contenders. With only 100,000 consoles selling in Japan at launch and an additional 400,000 in the US, every PS3 will clear off shelves before Christmas. But with Nintendo shipping nearly 10 times as many units at launch, at less than half the price, without a slew of reliability issues clouding consumer’s minds, maintaining adequate sales of the PS3 throughout 2007 may prove problematic for Sony.

Then again, what hasn’t been problematic for Sony over the past month?

[via The Toronto Star]