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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 January 2007, 00:09 GMT
PS3 European launch date revealed
Japanese line up to buy PlayStation 3
The PlayStation 3 is already on sale in Japan and the US
The long-awaited PlayStation 3 will finally go on sale across Europe on 23 March, and will cost 599 Euros.

The electronics giant has said that only the 60GB version of the console will be available at launch, with the 20GB model to follow later.

The next-generation console is already available in Japan and the US, where it went on sale in November last year.

The European launch was postponed after problems mass producing parts for the console's Blu-ray disc drive.

Sony has said that one million of the consoles will be made available at launch in Europe, with around a quarter of the stock landing in the UK.

Each machine will cost 425 (in the UK) or 599 Euros.

When it is released, the successor to the best-selling PlayStation 2 will compete with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii, both of which are already on sale.

Logistics problem

The Xbox 360, launched in November 2005, was the first next-generation console on the market and has already sold over 10 million units.

PlayStation 3, Sony

The Nintendo Wii went on sale in November 2006 but immediately made an impact, selling over 700,000 units across Europe in December alone.

The PlayStation 3 was originally due to be released in spring 2006 but a problem with copy protection on Blu-ray discs pushed back the launch.

A further problem manufacturing blue diodes, used in high-definition Blu-ray disc drives, forced the Japanese firm to announce another delay but only for European customers.

Sony said the decision was made because Europe was logistically the most complex market for distribution.

"Sony felt it was better to delay in one market rather than risk failure in three markets and ending up disappointing everybody," Phil Harrison, head of worldwide studios at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, told the BBC News website at the time.

Since then, Sony has successfully launched the console in Japan and America, shipping more than one million units in each country to date.

In both areas fans queued through the night to get their hands on one of the two configurations of the console.

The more expensive version has a 60GB hard drive and wi-fi, whilst the cheaper version has a 20GB hard drive and lacks a wireless connection.

Both versions include a wireless controller, a Blu-ray high-quality video disc and a port so they can work with a high-definition display.

Buying a PS3 also gives owners free access to the online PlayStation Network where they can meet and take on other gamers.

For the European launch, Sony has said that more than 30 titles will be available including The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Motorstorm and Resistance: Fall of Man. Other titles such as Lemmings will be available over the PlayStation Network.

PlayStation3 launches in the United States

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