PlayStation 2 Kick Starts Japan's DVD Video Market

TOKYO (06/05/2000) - The launch of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s (SCEI) PlayStation 2 is proving to be a big boost to the DVD Video market in Japan, which has seen lackluster sales ever since the format was launched here three years ago.

While statistics show impressive three-digit percentage gains in DVD (digital versatile disc) 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.

SCEI reported sales of the machine in March, its first month on sale, totaled 1.4 million units. In comparison, sales of DVD Video players in April totaled 42,000 units, an increase of 112.3 percent 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 percent against the first four months of 1999.

"The impact of PlayStation 2 is very strong and very good for Japanese customers,", said Michito Kimura, a semiconductor analyst at IDC Japan in Tokyo. "Maybe the shipment pace will go up to more than one million units per month and the amount of software will be much bigger. So far, DVD has not been a very strong name in Japan but the PlayStation 2 will promote the name to consumers."

To illustrate how much of a difference the new games system is making, Kimura said he estimated 500,000 DVD video players were shipped in Japan in the whole of 1999 -- less than half that of shipments of the PlayStation 2 in its first month on sale.

The EIAJ, in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.eiaj.or.jp/.

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