Sony has confirmed that its PlayStation3 console will not be available until November.

The news was announced at a hastily convened news conference, after reports of a delay appeared in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan's main financial daily newspaper.

Just as we reported earlier this morning, Sony games chief Ken Kutaragi said they were still finalising agreements on disc copy protection technology.

"When we initially announced our plans to launch this spring, we had expected the standardisation work on all of the technologies to be completed by last August, but there were improvements that were decided on since then", said Kutaragi.

Sony also confirmed that the console would be shipped world-wide rather than just Japan and that it hoped to ship a further 1 million consoles per month for the following 3 months after the launch.

The console was originally due for release this spring, however it seems the move to include the new high-definition disc drive has meant that the console has been delayed a further 6 months.

"We are absolutely delighted that we will be able to bring PS3 to gamers in Europe before Christmas", commented David Reeves - President of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE). "This is an exciting first for Europe, and is a huge endorsement and vote of confidence in the strength of the European market and its importance globally."

Microsoft's Xbox360 console faced similar problems before its launch, but chose to ditch the competing high definition format HD-DVD drives so it could meet its Christmas 2005 deadline.

The news has already started affecting Sony's share price and will come as a severe blow to Sony who was hoping that a Spring launch would mean plenty of time to roll out the console across the globe and to get over any stock issues before Christmas 2006.

If the company keeps to the now new November launch date, it will mean that the console is launched a year after Microsoft's Xbox360, but just in time to ruin the Xbox360's second Christmas.