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Kutaragi leaves position as PlayStation boss

Only Japanese customers have been able to get their hands on a PS3 so far

Observers of the game-console market might not be terribly surprised to read the news today that the 'Father of the PlayStation', Ken Kutaragi, has just been moved sideways from his job as president of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) and will cede daily control to the head of SCEI's US division.

According to a press release issued late afternoon in Tokyo from SCEI, Kutaragi moves upstairs to become chairman and group CEO, while his replacement, Kaz Hirai, moves in from SCEI US.

Recent delays in the launch of the PlayStation 3 and disappointing PlayStation Portable sales are likely to be blamed for Kutaragi being replaced.

The PS3 should have been in the shops early this year but parts shortages and disputes over Blu-ray movie copy-protection pushed the launch to November in Japan and the US and March in Europe.

The PSP is set to be about 3 millions units short of its global sales target of 12 million in the current fiscal year. J Mark Lytle