PS3 launched to industry but consumers must wait

By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCE Aust.) today revealed details of its long-awaited next-generation PlayStation3 (PS3) gaming console to a crowd of media and business partners at Sydney Theatre in Walsh Bay, Sydney, and disclosed further details of its launch strategy.

Though the console won’t be available at retail until 23 March, Sony Computer Entertainment Australia & New Zealand managing director, Michael Ephraim, who hosted the event, confirmed that 30 software titles will be made available at launch with a base price of $99.95 for all first-party published (SCE Aust.) disc-based PS3 games.

Ephraim also revealed an exclusive launch promotion for the first 20,000 PS3 owners who register with the online gaming portal, the PlayStation Network.

“We are pleased to announce that the most successful Bond movie of all time, Casino Royal, will be distributed as a bonus for the first 20,000 PS3 owners who register their product on the PlayStation Network,” he said.

The PlayStation 3 will retail for RRP $999.95 for the 60GB and RRP $849 for the 20GB, with both models including Firmware version 1.5 as standard, while the SixAxis wireless controller will cost RRP $79.95 and a Blu-ray disc remote will be RRP $49.95. 

With Australian consumers holding their collective breaths the March retail launch, Ephraim declared that SCE Australia will commit over $6 million to its PS3 marketing campaign between now and then. 

“Our PS3 marketing exposure will include an extensive through-the-line campaign, supported by a series of strategic partnerships including Qantas’ longest promotion of the year around next month’s 2007 Australian Grand Prix,” said Ephraim.

On top of the 2007 Grand Prix promotion, PlayStation 3 also revealed future plans for the sponsorship of the MTV Australian Video Music Awards and the Eminence Symphony Orchestra’s A Night in Fantasia 2007 tour.

The impending release of the PS3 signals the beginning of a new era of multimedia ‘lounge-room based’ entertainment, with its Cell Processor chip allowing users to access movies, photos, music, internet and more with almost no load-time and minimal fuss.

“With PlayStation 3, computer entertainment now means so much more than just great games," said Ephraim.

“[Users can] watch DVDs, watch Blu-ray movies, listen to podcasts, transfer digital files, immerse themselves in gameplay, participate in digital chat, surf their favourite web pages and stream their favourite content.”

Those in attendance at the launch were treated to unreleased trailers of exclusive PS3 launch titles including Resistance: Fall Of Man and Motorstorm, as well as the opportunity to get their hands on the console itself and play the unreleased games.

It was also announced that consumers who purchase PS3 will be given a taste of next generation gaming through the free download, via the PlayStation Network, of Gran Turismo HD Concept — a fully-featured sample game which will feature one track, ten cars, full high definition (1080p) visual quality and a new physics engine.

The free download will provide consumers with a taste of the upcoming PlayStation 3 movie, music and TV show download service which was recently announced in Japan and will be introduced locally on launch.

The download service will allow the console to compete with its arch-rivale Xbox 360 console which has allowed similar downloads via its Xbox Live online service.

Ephraim said he anticipates retailers Australia-wide will open their stores at midnight on 22 March to allow eager consumers to purchase the console at the first possible moment.

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