Sony Stands Up Gamers . Again

It looks like Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) is disappointing gamers -- and investors -- yet again. Earlier this year, Sony delayed the launch of its long-awaited PlayStation 3, which should have debuted this past spring. Now it seems that the PS3's arrival will be further delayed in Europe, and weaker than expected in the U.S. and Japan.

Sony's PlayStation 3 won't hit the shelves in Europe until March, long after the holiday season is over. Here in the U.S., there won't be too many PlayStation 3 consoles to go around. Sony now expects to ship only 2 million consoles in time for the essential holiday season, half as many as previously expected.

This is just the latest snafu to hit Sony, with news that its lithium-ion batteries are being recalled in both Dell (NYSE: DELL  ) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) laptops still fresh in many investors' minds.

Gamers are already upset that the PlayStation 3 consoles will cost a pretty penny, which may dampen their enthusiasm for the upgrade. Given its multiple launch delays, it's not impossible that even PlayStation loyalists might simply look elsewhere for their next console purchase. Sony's shortage could bode well for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , which has had a formidable head start with its Xbox gaming console, and Nintendo, which plans to launch its Wii console in the fourth quarter of this year.

My Foolish colleague Nate Parmelee recently wrote a well-reasoned examination of Sony's current challenges, noting that Sony has struggled with quality issues for many of its recent electronics products. He noted that Sony "is experiencing growing pains as it changes its culture and structure from the inside out."

These are among the reasons why I think Sony's a good stock for investors to avoid. It's not just the quality of its products, but also its frequent public relations debacles, not to mention the growing sense that its left hand doesn't know what its right hand is doing. True, corporations are made up of people, and to err is human. But in Sony's case, the mistakes seem to be coming far too frequently. Before buying in, Foolish investors should wait for signs that the electronics congolmerate is righting its ship.

For more on Sony, see the following Foolish articles:

Microsoft and Dell are Motley Fool Inside Valuerecommendations. Dell is also aMotley Fool Stock Advisorpick. Whatever your investing style, the Fool has a newsletter for you.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.


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