Microsoft might not have a huge head start with its Xbox 360 console in the next-generation game-console war, according to comments by Sony Chairman and CEO Howard Stringer. The recently appointed CEO confirmed that the company will launch the PlayStation 3 in the spring of 2006. His comments weren't a huge surprise, but the PlayStation 3's launch date has been rumored to be anywhere from early 2006 to 2007. Stringer's comments prompted an official confirmation from the company of a spring launch, but Sony won't announce detailed launch dates for various regions for some time. Using Microsoft's Xbox 360 launch date announcement as an example, Sony said the company will wait until it's much closer to the PlayStation 3 release date to provide more details. Unlike Microsoft, Sony isn't expected to release the PlayStation 3 in multiple regions in close succession. According to online reports, the PlayStation 3 will go on sale in Japan in April or May; a launch in the United States and Europe won't happen until later in the year or possibly even in early 2007. Sony's release of the PlayStation Portable (PSP) game system was staged over the course of 9 months, starting with Japan, followed by the United States 4 months later, and finally in Europe earlier this month.