March 8th, 2006, 18:05 Posted By: wraggster
Namco Bandai president Takeo Takasu has publicly described Sony's current target of a Spring launch for the PlayStation 3 as "impossible", revealing that the top Japanese publisher is still waiting for information on the launch date.
"Without any announcements so far, the spring release is impossible," Takasu told Bloomberg in Tokyo this week. "We are developing titles for PlayStation 3, but the release of the games depends on the timing of the hardware."
Takasu's comments are likely to be seen as a final nail in the coffin for Sony's ambitions of a spring launch, as they come from the man at the head of one of the largest game publishers in Japan.
Namco Bandai has traditionally been a strong supporter of new hardware, as seen at the recent launch of the Xbox 360, for which the firm launched an update to the hugely successful Ridge Racer franchise, Ridge Racer 6.
The company is also a close collaborator with Sony; titles such as Tekken and Ridge Racer helped to establish the PlayStation brand, the most recent Soul Calibur title was a PlayStation 2 exclusive, and the firm also publishes a range of RPG and anime-licensed titles which are particularly successful in the Far East.
In other words, if Namco Bandai doesn't know when PlayStation 3 is going to be released right now, then it's safe to say that nobody does - and it also makes Sony's oft-repeated assertion that the PS3 will launch in spring look even less likely.
Not that that has stopped the hardware firm from repeating its statement. "Nothing has changed with our plans," SCEI spokesperson Nanako Kato told Bloomberg, referring to the spring launch date which was originally floated at E3 last May.
While the Japanese release date remains a complete unknown - with some publishers still aiming for early summer, while others don't expect to see the system until autumn - publishers in the west are mostly working towards a Q3/Q4 launch in North America, followed by a Q1 2007 launch in Europe - despite reassurances from Sony that the system will hit Europe before the end of the year.
As for Takasu, he's not pinning Namco Bandai's colours to any mast regarding the release date of the system, telling Bloomberg that he simply " would like Sony to release the PS3 this year for the Christmas season."
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