welcome to the party...
Sony has settled on a date. PlayStation 3 will (finally) launch across Europe on Friday, March 23, confirmed the console maker in a statement to-be-released at midnight (GMT), and posted (a bit early) on semi-official Sony blog Three Speech. As expected, only the 60GB HDD model will be available during the initial launch window. The 20GB model will eventually arrive "later in the year."

Sony plans to ship 1 million units during the European launch. Three Speech speculates that 300,000 units will go to the UK alone, where PS3 will retail for £425 (except in Ireland). Although not explicitly detailed in the official statement, it was confirmed last week that PS3 would retail for 599 Euros throughout the rest of Europe. Resistance: Fall of Man, MotorStorm, and flOw (downloadable) headline a list of 36 expected launch titles (including downloadable games).

Sony also confirmed that a worldwide firmware update would coincide with the launch in Europe. The official press release follows...

SCEE press release:

London, 24 January 2007 – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe today announced that PLAYSTATION®3 will be launched in the PAL territories including the United Kingdom on 23rd March 2007 at a price of £425.

Responding to retail and consumer demand, SCEE confirmed that initially only the 60GB model would be available, with the 20GB model to follow later in the year dependent on demand.

An expected one million PS3 units will be made available during the initial launch period to all SCEE territories.

SCEE also announced a stellar launch line-up of over 30 game titles for PS3, including eagerly awaited titles published by SCEE such as Resistance: Fall of Man™, MotorStorm™, Genji™: Days of the Blade, FORMULA ONE CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION and Ridge Racer™ 7. An exceptional range of titles in every genre will also be available at launch from the world's leading third party publishers, including Electronic Arts, Activision, Namco Bandai, Sega, Take 2, Ubisoft, Vivendi Universal, and Sony Online Entertainment.

In addition to games on disc, an exciting range of fully-featured downloadable games will debut on the PLAYSTATION®Network. These will include gaming icons such as Tekken®: Dark Resurrection and Gran Turismo® HD Concept; the fully-featured PS3 debut of the best-selling franchise Gran Turismo, realised with full HD (1080p) visual quality. Created by Polyphony Digital Inc and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, Gran Turismo® HD Concept has been downloaded by more than 350,000 users since it was released in December 2006 in North America and Japan.

Also available on the PLAYSTATION®Network will be brainteasers such as Go! Sudoku and Go! Puzzle, and innovative games such as Blast Factor™ and flOw™, designed exclusively for PLAYSTATION 3 and delivering on the promise to provide original content created by non-traditional developers and publishers.

Concurrent with the European launch, a new System Update to further enhance the entertainment potential of PS3 will be issued.

Announcing the launch details, Ray Maguire, SVP and MD of SCEUK said, "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 UK. To be able to launch with over 30 titles including retail versions and great downloadable gaming experiences across every genre shows that this is our strongest launch line-up in the history of PlayStation, and is what PlayStation fans in the UK have been crying out for."

PLAYSTATION 3 LAUNCH TITLE LINE-UP

Resistance: Fall of Man™ - SCEE - Disc
MotorStorm™ - SCEE - Disc
Genji™: Days of the Blade - SCEE - Disc
FORMULA ONE CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION - SCEE - Disc
Ridge Racer™ 7 - SCEE - Disc
Tekken®: Dark Resurrection - SCEE - Network
Lemmings™ - SCEE - Network
Go! Sudoku - SCEE - Network
Go! Puzzle - SCEE - Network
Blast Factor™ - SCEE - Network
flOw™ - SCEE - Network
Super Rub'a'Dub - SCEE - Network
Call of Duty 3 - Activision UK Ltd - Disc
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance - Activision UK Ltd - Disc
Tony Hawk's Project 8 - Activision UK Ltd - Disc
Gundam – Target in Sight - Namco Bandai Games - Disc
Full Auto™ 2: Battle Lines - Sega®Europe Ltd - Disc
Sonic the Hedgehog™ - Sega®Europe Ltd - Disc
Virtua Fighter™ 5 - Sega®Europe Ltd - Disc
Virtua Tennis™ 3 - Sega®Europe Ltd - Disc
World Snooker Championship 2007 - Sega®Europe Ltd - Disc
NBA 2K7 - Take 2 International SA - Disc
NHL 2K7 - Take 2 International SA - Disc
Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWll - Ubisoft Entertainment SA - Disc
Enchanted Arms - Ubisoft Entertainment SA - Disc
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent - Ubisoft Entertainment SA - Disc
The Elder Scrolls lV: Oblivion - Ubisoft Entertainment SA - Disc
Def Jam: Icon - Electronic Arts Ltd - Disc
Fight Night Round 3 - Electronic Arts Ltd - Disc
NBA Street 4 Homecourt 2007 - Electronic Arts Ltd - Disc
Need for Speed Carbon - Electronic Arts Ltd - Disc
The Godfather: The Don's Edition - Electronic Arts Ltd - Disc
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007 - Electronic Arts Ltd - Disc
Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom - Electronic Arts Ltd - Disc
F.E.A.R. Vivendi - Universal Games Intl SA - Disc
Gripshift - Sony Online Entertainment - Network

PLAYSTATION 3 Peripherals Available at Launch

Peripheral - RRP in £ Sterling

SIXAXIS™ Wireless Controller - £34.99
Blu-ray Disc Remote Control - £17.99
HDMI Cable - £17.99
AV cable - £17.99
Component AV cable - £17.99
S Video cable - £12.99

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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