PS2 kickstarts Jap DVD market

The launch of Sony PlayStation 2 is proving to be a big boost to the digital versatile disc (DVD) Video market in Japan, which has seen lacklustre sales ever since the format was launched in Japan three years ago.

While statistics show impressive three-digit percentage gains in DVD Video player sales on a year-on-year basis, the numbers pale in comparison to shipments of the new PlayStation 2 games console, which is based on the DVD format and has the ability to play DVD Video discs.

Sony reported sales of the machine in March, its first month on sale, totalled 1.4 million units. In comparison, sales of DVD Video players in April totalled 42,000 units, an increase of 112.3 per cent on the same period in 1999, according to figures released last week by the Electronic Industries Association of Japan (EIAJ). To date, this year has seen domestic shipments of 164,000 units, an increase of 90.4 per cent against the first four months of 1999.

"So far, DVD has not been a very strong name in Japan but PlayStation 2 will promote the name to consumers," said IDC semiconductor analyst Michito Kimura.

PlayStation 2 is due to be launched in Australia on 26 October.

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