Speaking to British trade paper MCV, UK Xbox boss Neil Thompson has boasted that Microsoft expects to have a even more significant lead on the PlayStation 3 than previously supposed, suggesting that, in his opinion, the PlayStation 3 might launch in Europe as late as spring 2007 – compared to an Xbox 360 launch in Europe of December 2nd this year.
"I’ll be happy to compete whenever they turn up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s not until spring ’07,” he remarked. "If they hit Xmas ’06, then maybe it’ll be a very thin launch; a launch in name only." MCV also quoted an unnamed “senior European publisher boss” who claimed he also wouldn’t be surprised if the PlayStation 3 didn’t launch in Europe until 2007 and with a price tag of up to £499 ($876).
To date Sony has been relatively circumspect regarding when the PlayStation 3 will be launched, talking only of a Spring 2006 date – which most have assumed will apply only to Japan. Indeed, a Spring 2006 launch will mirror exactly the launch of the PlayStation 2, which subsequently launched in North America in October and then in Europe in November. But considering the recent nine-month delay in the launch of the PSP in Europe, a launch for the PlayStation 3 in spring 2007 is therefore not a particularly extraordinary prediction.
Other Microsoft executives such as J Allard have also not been slow to talk up the Xbox 360’s time advantage, with the latter recently quoted as saying: "There’s a big gap between what Sony claims and what they’ve shown. You might have thought our X05 presentation was a bit on long side, but they’ll need an eight-hour press conference pretty soon just to give people confidence in that spring ’06 date they’ve mentioned."