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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 07:26 GMT
Patient gamers buy PlayStation 3
The first PS3 is sold in the US. Angel Paredes with Kaz Hirai (left) and Howard Stringer (right)
Gamers Angel Paredes gets his PS3 from Sony bossses
Patient American gamers are buying Sony's new PlayStation 3 console after queuing in some cases for many days.

Four hundred thousand machines have gone on sale, following its debut in Japan last week.

Many shops opened at midnight to sell the console, which costs $499 (264) to $599 depending on the model.

Kaz Hirai, chief executive of Sony's American games division said: "We're going to try and get as many units into the North American market as possible."

'Lead time'

He added: "Usually most companies would boat the product in, but we're actually chartering airplanes to bring them into the North American market to try to shorten that lead time, so we get as many units into the hands of consumers as possible."


At a midnight launch event at a shop in New York, Sergio Rodriguez was the first to walk away with a new console as people queuing outside cheered. He had been camped outside the shop since Sunday.

"This is the best game ever. It's so worth the wait," the 25-year-old graphics designer said. "Some people may call me crazy, but I really love to play."

About 400,000 consoles have been made available for the North American launch, four times the number on sale in Japan last week where there were reports of homeless people being paid to queue for the console.

European gamers have to wait until March next year before being able to buy the machine.

Saby Madrigal, an 18-year-old college student who worked for a month at a shop to save up for a PS3, stood and queued outside a Circuit City store in New York for 24 hours but failed to buy a PS3.

She vowed to keep looking.

Gamers waited pariently in Los Angeles

"For the work we had to do to get all the money to get the stupid system, I'm going to search every single store in town," she said. "I don't care, I'm going to get it."

Sony, which has suffered problems in the last 12 months with laptop battery recalls and lags behind rivals in key products such as music players and high definition TVs, is counting on the PS3 to maintain and build its market lead in video game consoles.

More than 200m PlayStations 1 and 2s have been sold over the last 12 years, making the firm the dominant company in the $30bn a year videogame industry.

Some customers were buying PS3 machines for themselves or as gifts, but many were hoping to resell them at a profit.

Even before Friday's launch, units were fetching four or five times their retail price on the online auction website eBay.

James Salterio, 27, waiting outside a shop in Houston, said greed was his motivation.

"I'm gonna sell mine," Mr Salterio said, estimating he would make anywhere between $1,500 (794) and $4,000 (2,119).

People queuing in New York for new Playstation

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