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Sony Gives Free HDTVs At UK PS3 Launch

The launch of the PlayStation in PAL territories has so far provided Sony with relatively little positive PR - with one Australian newspaper describing the PS3 debut as “feeble” - though UK launch event gamers are unlikely to be as blase after receiving f
Sony has rewarded fans at its main London launch event of the PlayStation 3 console with free 46” Bravia HDTVs, despite criticism from some observers at the apparent lack of consumer interest in the launch. Some midnight opening events in the UK had to be canceled, ostensibly because of police concerns, although Sony’s main event at the flagship Virgin Megastore on London’s Oxford Street did go ahead. Only around a hundred fans - far less than for the recent Wii launch on the same street - were in attendance, but each walked away with a free Sony-provided HDTV. The now much-quoted seventeen year old Ritatsu Thomas was the first to receive his PlayStation 3, after having waited with around twenty others for a full thirty-six hours. As well as a free television, Sony also provided free taxi cabs to get each fan home safely. Microsoft PR staff were also in attendance, offering seats with the phrase “Shouldn’t have kept you waiting” emblazoned upon them, and advertising the website www.shkyw.org, to those waiting in the queue. Many British journalists were also sent 168 cans of lager by Microsoft with a value of £146 – the same as the price difference between the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the UK. In France and Australia, there have been similar mixed reports of the PlayStation 3 launch, which regardless of the console’s eventual success does not seem to have generated the normal crowds associated with such events. Consumer website JeuxFrance.com has had extensive coverage of the French launch event, which was also disrupted by Microsoft with a nearby barge sporting large Xbox 360 banners. Australia has seen perhaps the mildest turn out of the any of the launches, with national newspaper The Age being extremely critical of what it describes as a “feeble launch”. The high price of the console is thought to be the cause of the subdued launches in the various PAL territories, with most analysts expecting support for the format to increase once more games are available, and particularly after any potential price cut.

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