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Sony Delays Release of ‘Gran Turismo 5’ Racing Game

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Sony Delays Release of 'Gran Turismo 5'
Sony Computer Entertainment America President Jack Tretton looks at the display of the new "Gran Turismo 5" video game during Sony's Electronics and Entertainment Expo media briefing in Los Angeles. Photographer: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp. delayed the global release of the “Gran Turismo 5” car-racing title for its PlayStation 3 video-game console a second time because of production problems.

The company will sell the title “this holiday season,” Satoshi Fukuoka, a spokesman at the game unit in Tokyo, said by telephone today. Tokyo-based Sony had planned to sell the game on Nov. 2 in the U.S. and Europe and the following day in Japan.

“Gran Turismo 5” is the biggest exclusive game this holiday season for Sony, which uses such titles to lure buyers to its hardware. Console makers typically record losses for the machines in the first few years of development and sales because the cost of materials takes time to drop, forcing them to rely on software to boost earnings.

“‘Gran Turismo’ is one of the most important products coming from Sony this year for its gaming business,” said Jay Defibaugh, a games analyst at MF Global FXA Securities Ltd. in Tokyo. “The product highlights the graphic strength of the PS3” and is a genre with global appeal, he said by telephone.

Sony rose 2.1 percent to 2,642 yen at the 11 a.m. break on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The stock has fallen 1.1 percent this year while Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average has dropped 9.2 percent.

Fukuoka declined to comment on whether “Gran Turismo 5,” which can be played in 3-D, will go on sale in time for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and usually the busiest shopping day of the year in the U.S.

About 56 million copies of the “Gran Turismo” game series has been sold since its debut in 1997, Fukuoka said.

The March release of “God of War III,” another title exclusive to the PS3, helped raise U.S. sales of the console by 44 percent that month from a year earlier, according to researcher NPD Group Inc.

Sony aims to make its game unit profitable in the year ending March 2011, the company said in November last year. The console maker stopped losing money on PS3 hardware in the quarter ended March 31.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at palpeyev@bloomberg.net; Mariko Yasu in Tokyo at myasu@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net.

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