PS3 coming to Europe, Oz March 23

Sony sets date, price for console's European, Australasian debut; console will retail for 599 euros, AUD999.95, and have 30 games for "launch period."

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Sony's PlayStation 3 finally has a release date for Europe and PAL territories. Originally meant to have a worldwide launch in November 2006, the PS3 saw its European launch delayed because of production issues with blue-laser diodes. Now, according to Sony, the PS3 will debut in Europe and Australasia on March 23.

The other PS3 detail up in the air was the console's final price in some of the regions. Sony is forgoing the dual-SKU approach it took in the US and Japan and only releasing the 60GB model--initially. As previously revealed at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2006, the console will retail for 599 euros (approximately $777) in Europe, but it will fetch GBP425 ($836) in the UK, AUD999.95 ($781) in Australia, and NZ1199.95 ($840) in New Zealand. To compare, the same model of the console retails for $599 in the US.

The 20GB model will be available later according to Sony but hasn't yet been priced. "Responding to retail and consumer demand, SCEE confirmed that initially only the 60GB model would be available, with the 20GB model to follow later in the year, depending on demand."

There will be 28 retail games available for the console's "launch period," as well as eight games for download on the PlayStation Network. Among the games are familiar titles from other regional launches (Resistance: Fall of Man, Ridge Racer 7, Call of Duty 3), as well as anticipated games yet to be released in the US (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Virtua Fighter 5, Def Jam: Icon). This doesn't necessarily mean that all games will be available on March 23--Sony does not define how long its "launch period" lasts. A full list of the launch lineup is below.

This announcement comes after uncertainty and speculation that the March date would be pushed back again, fueled by Sony CEO Howard Stringer himself, who told CNET that the "European launch in April...is very important to us." Both Sony Europe and America later issued statements reaffirming that the March date was still on, and that Stringer had simply made a mistake when he mentioned the April date. However, toward the end of January, there was still no firm date or pricing details.

The PlayStation 3 launched last year in Japan on November 11 and in the US on November 17. High demand and low supply left many who had camped out for the systems empty-handed in the US. As a result, the US launch was plagued by a series of crimes, including muggings, robberies, and shootings.

However, that may not be the case in Europe and Australasia because Sony promises 1 million units will be available for the launches in those regions. Sony only recently announced it had shipped 1 million units to both North America and Japan.

PlayStation launch lineup for Europe and Australasia
Resistance: Fall of Man
MotorStorm
Ridge Racer 7
Genji: Days of the Blade
Formula One Championship Edition
Call of Duty 3
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Tony Hawk's Project 8
Gundam--Target in Sight
Full Auto 2: Battle Lines
Sonic the Hedgehog
Virtua Fighter 5
Virtua Tennis 3
World Snooker Championship 2007
NBA 2K7
NHL 2K7
Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII
Enchanted Arms
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Def Jam: Icon
Fight Night Round 3
NBA Street 4 Homecourt 2007
Need for Speed Carbon
The Godfather: The Don's Edition
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007
Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom
F.E.A.R.

Launch lineup for games on the PlayStation Network
Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection
Lemmings
Go! Sudoku
Go! Puzzle
Blast Factor
flOw
Super Rub'a'Dub
Gripshift

PlayStation 3 accessories available at launch
Sixaxis Wireless Controller--49.99 euros
Blu-ray Disc Remote Control--24.99 euros
HDMI Cable--24.99 euros
AV Cable--16.99 euros
Component AV Cable--24.99 euros
S Video Cable--16.99 euros

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