The launch of Sony’s PlayStation 3 game console in Europe, several months late after its release in the US and Japan, has set off the latest round in the video games war between it and rivals Microsoft and Nintendo.
Sony needs the PS 3 to be a success in Europe after its games division suffered operating losses of three hundred and forty five million euros in the final three months of last year.
Gamers in London queued through the night to be the first to finally get their hands on the 599 euro consoles.
One of the first buyers explained: “I just think it’s new technology, it is nice to have it first, it’s a possibility that it is going to sell out as well, so it is just to guarantee that I get one for launch so I can have a good time over the weekend to be honest.”
The marketing firm Screen Digest is upbeat about the potential for the PS 3’s success. It predicted that “Sony will sell around four million units in Europe this year.” By 2010 it sees Sony dominating the worldwide market with 47% to Microsoft’s 30% for the Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii with 23%.
Because of the delays to the PS 3’s launch in Europe, Microsoft has had a free run for its gaming console launched in March last year. So far it has sold 5.1 million worldwide.
Nintendo released its much cheaper Wii console just before last Christmas and almost two million have been bought, but in the US it is outselling the PS 3 by more than two to one.