Retailers to open at midnight tonight for PS3 launch

By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: The anticipation for the long-awaited launch of the PlayStation 3 gaming console will reach its peak at 12.01am tonight when over 500 retail stores nationwide open their doors to sell stock of Sony’s latest Blu-ray Disc device.

With the PlayStation 3 console already launched in the USA and Japan, it is now Australia and Europe’s turn to get their hands on the hottest piece of gaming and multimedia hardware since Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console launched 12 months ago in Australia. 

“On 23 March, the PlayStation 3 will revolutionise the Australian living room, delivering the ultimate high definition entertainment experience,” said Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) Australia and New Zealand managing director, Michael Ephraim.

“The PS3 will provide consumers with a truly integrated and flexible home entertainment computer system that will remain relevant and current for the next decade.”

Similar to the recent Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 console launches, the PS3 launch will deliver much fanfare to retailers when the clock strikes midnight on Friday night.

“Many stores have arranged for celebrity visits and other forms of entertainment,” said SCE Australia public relations manager, Adrian Christie.

“I am aware that Electronics Boutique Bondi Junction will be offering entertainment. Kotsya Tszyu will man the register for the sale of the first console at Harvey Norman Moore Park and [at the official launch] at Myer’s City Store in Sydney, patient consumers will be entertained with a free outdoor screening of the latest and most successful Bond Film – Casino Royale.”

The film will screen at 9:30pm prior to the midnight launch and will be played from the PS3 console itself. Also lined-up for the official launch is the give-away of the movie, Talladega Nights, on Blu-ray Disc for the first 100 consumers who purchase the PS3 on the night.

In addition, the first 20,000 Australian PS3 owners to register on the online gaming portal, the PlayStation Network, will be rewarded with the latest Bond film, Casino Royale, on Blu-ray Disc.

“[The PS3] is a highly competitive offering; consumers not only get a first rate gaming system, but also the combination of a Blu-ray Disc movie player, offering full high definition pictures, the option of 7.1 surround sound, a 60GB hard drive to store music, movies, downloads, games and pictures, plus instant connectivity to the Internet,” Ephraim said.

“There are now 2.2 million units of PlayStation 2 in Australian homes and we believe that the penetration of the PS3 into homes, as high definition TVs become more mainstream, could eclipse these figures, due to the unparalleled all round entertainment experience it offers consumers.”

The PlayStation 3 will launch at RRP $999 and will include the aforementioned 60GB hard drive, Blu-ray Disc player, Cell chip processor as well as an expected 30 software titles priced from RRP $99.95 each.

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