Was any diehard gamer surprised to learn that Sony (NYSE:SNE) is delaying the release of its PlayStation 3 system? The company claims that the next-generation consoles will hit North American stores in early November instead of spring.

Of course. All you had to do was walk into your friendly neighborhood GameStop store and inquire about the pre-ordering process or ask to see a software release slate. It was a prelude to a snicker.

It's not as if GameStop wouldn't have loved to see the PS3 units piling up sooner rather than later. After all, many videogamers have held off buying new games for their older systems. It's a downer that has hurt both retailers and software publishers such as Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) and Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI).

A springtime release would have been nice; it worked out well for Sony's 2005 release of its handheld PSP device. However, early November will do just fine -- as long as there is enough hardware supply to meet demand -- because the holidays are where it's at for the video game industry.

Sony claims that it is delaying the release as it finalizes the copy-protection for its Blu-ray disc players. Sony is lucky that Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) new Xbox 360 has been slow in releasing flagship titles. It had better hope that it can have the PS3 in stores, with quality launch titles, before Halo 3 eventually comes out for the Xbox.

Until then, the industry will have to take its lumps. Next week, Electronic Arts is rolling out the highly anticipated Godfather game, but it recently had to slash its retail price from $49.99 to $39.99. Next-generation game pricing on Xbox 360 titles has leaned to a higher $59.99 price point. It's what the industry has been waiting for. Sony, don't be late.

GameStop, Electronic Arts, and Activision have been recommendations in the Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter service. Microsoft is an Inside Value selection.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves playing video games, but he doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. T he Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.