Sony has finally completed the worldwide launch of its PlayStation 3 next-generation video game console, finally offering the systems for sale in Europe, theMiddle East, and Australasia some four months after the systems were launched in the Japanese and North American markets. Although the delay might have thrown a damper on some enthusiasm for thesystem, Sony and its partners nonetheless staged media events and promoted the launch, and, indeed, some hardcore gamers actually camped out in front of retailers to be among the first to set handson a PlayStation 3.
In France, a boat was scheduled to bring 1,000 PS3 systems to waiting customers the foot of the Eiffel Tower; Sony staged a rock concert for gaming fans at its Sony Center in Berlin to note the launch. In London, safety seemed to be the topmost concern, with the Virgin Megastore offering PS3 buyers free taxis to get them home safely (and keep brand new PS3 systems out of the hands of muggers).
Sony is currently only offering the 60-gigabyte top-of-the-line version of the PlayStation 3 in Europe, the Middle East, and Australasia; Sony has been criticized by some members of the gaming community for failing to offer the somewhat less-expensive 20 GB version of the PS3 at launch. The edition of the PlayStation 3 released in these markets also differs from the units introduced in North America and Japan: instead of having chips dedicated to running older games from the PlayStation 2 and PSOne, the new PS3s use software emulation, with the result that the systems offer less backward compatibility with lder games than Sony’s initial PS3 design. Sony is listing the compatibility of older game titles with the new PS3, and while the company says firmware updates will improve backward compatibility, Sony says it is primarily focused on leveraging the new capabilities offered by the PS3 platform.
One thing Europe and other markets may have gained from the delayed launch of the PlayStation 3: so far, there have been no reported shootings.