Little Big Planet free with PS3 purchase down under

Sony announces updated local sales figures and new PS3 and PSP hardware bundles for Australia.

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Consumers who have been holding off on purchasing a PlayStation 3 console while they wait for bundle deals are in for a pleasant surprise next week. Sony Computer Entertainment Australia today announced that from October 23 onwards all customers who buy a PS3 will receive a copy of Little Big Planet at no cost. The promotion start date also coincides with the game's Australian retail release.

The announcement was made today during a Sony media event, and though no firm ending date has been confirmed by the company, it's expected to last well into the Christmas period. A Sony spokesperson told GameSpot AU that gamers will receive their copy of LBP in-store at the same time as they receive their console.

The PS3 isn't the only console to receive a Christmas bonus with the upcoming PSP-3000 handheld coming bundled with a copy of Lego Batman for A$339.95 ($325.25). The PSP-3000 hardware will also be available on its own for A$319.95 ($221.45).

Official console sales figures from data trackers GfK Australia are few and far between, but Sony used today's event to announce its latest hardware install base figures for the Aussie market. Sony claims that there are currently 385,000 PlayStation 3 consoles in Australian homes--75,000 of which were given away during recent Bravia television promotions and are not included in industry sales figures. Sony Computer Entertainment Australia managing director Michael Ephraim also predicted that by January 2009, the PlayStation 3's s total install base would exceed 500,000 units in Australia.

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