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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
Sony's PlayStation 3 goes on sale
PlayStation 3
The release of the PlayStation 3 has been delayed until November

Sony's PlayStation 3 (PS3) has gone on sale on the web despite not being launched until November this year.

The next generation consoles are on offer as "pre-orders" to Europeans for 550 ($1,020) at online shop, play.com.

The website says that because of an expected European shortage, it cannot guarantee delivery before Christmas.

The PS3 is the successor to the best-selling PlayStation 2 and will compete with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii.

The Xbox 360 is already available, while the Wii is due out later this year.

All three consoles promise cutting edge processing and graphical power.

Higher price

Sony currently dominates the console market with more than 100 million PlayStation 2s in homes around the world.

The electronics giant had originally planned to launch the new console in the spring, but was forced to delay because of technical problems with its high-definition Blu-ray DVD drive.

The PS3 comes in two different models. The basic model has a 20GB hard drive, while the more expensive model comes with a 60GB one.

The lower end model also lacks wi-fi, a slot for memory cards and a HDMI port for high-definition programmes.

The model for sale on play.com is the 60Gb model.

When Sony announced prices earlier this year it said that gamers would pay about 425 ($785) in the UK for the top end version of the machine.

play.com is also offering three games in its package. Driving simulator Formula One 06, flying game Warhawk and the karaoke-themed Singstar.

The website says the games shipped with the console may change due to availability.

Gamers will have to wait until later in the year to buy a console in the shops.

Japanese gamers will be the first to get their hands on the PS3 on 11 November while the console will arrive in the US and Europe on 17 November.

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