Sony is on track for launching 1.2 million PlayStation 3 units in the US and Japan by year's end, but the launch breakdown will heavily favor the more expensive 60G byte models.

Expect roughly an 80/20 split between the premium and core PS3s at launch. After a recent meeting at Sony's US headquarters, analysts at Lazard Capital Markets have confirmed that there will be an approximate 80/20 percent split between the number of premium (60GB) and core (20GB) PS3 units available at retail outlets through the end of the year. Roughly 80 per cent of the initial shipment of 500,000 PS3s will be of the 60GB variety; the remaining 20 per cent will be the cheaper US$499 models.

After the initial launch of 400,000 PlayStation 3 units in the US, Sony plans to ship another 800,000 by the end of 2006, making a total of 1.2 million units available by the end of 2006.

And by January, Sony predicts that improvements in Blu-ray production and easing of component shortages will allow the company to ship roughly 1.2 million units per month. Lazard suggests that 14 million PS3s will be shipped through 2007.