By Matthew Henry

LONDON: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) today announced the PlayStation 3 will be launched in Australia and other PAL regions on 23 March for RRP $999.95, allaying speculation of a further delay.

Sony will only release the premium 60GB PS3 model in its initial rollout, with the 20GB version slated for some time later in the year.

The PlayStation 3 was initially scheduled for launch in Australia last November, but stock shortages due to difficulty manufacturing the PS3’s Blu-ray drive forced Sony to postpone the launch to PAL territories until March.

Recent reports suggested that the launch may again be pushed back.

SCEE said today the Australasian launch will coincide with that of other PAL territories including Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Sony has set aside one million units to cater to the PAL markets for the initial launch period – the equivalent of six weeks of sales in the North American market.

“Following the hugely successful launches of PS3 in Japan and North America, we are absolutely delighted to be able to bring significant numbers of PS3 to the SCEE territories,” said SCEE president, David Reeves.

“To be able to launch with over 30 titles across every genre shows that this is our strongest launch line-up in the history of PlayStation.”

Sony has also announced a lineup of 30 game titles to accompany the launch including Resistance: Fall of Man, MotorStorm, Genji: Days of the Blade, Formula One Championship Edition and Ridge Racer 7.

In addition, Sony has made a range of games available via download from the PlayStation Network including Tekken: Dark Resurrection and Gran Turismo HD Concept – a full high definition (1080p) resolution version of the classic Gran Turismo game.