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UK: the poor cousin, part II - PlayStation 3

So Microsoft doesn't think the UK is worth Windowsmarketplace.com,, but that is as nothing compared to Sony's shoddy behaviour over the PlayStation 3 console.

PS3: nice kit, shame about the price

It's interesting to see how PCAdvisor.co.uk forum users have reacted to the much-awaited arrival of Sony's PS3 (PlayStation 3). The games console has been available in Japan and America since November 2006, but launched in Europe and Australia only on 23 March.

Sony has priced the PS3 at around £425, although individual retailers might sell it for a little less.

The PS3's prime target audience is 20-to-30-year-old gamers who previously owned the original PlayStation or PS2, but this is a market sector that's now struggling to get on the housing ladder – and many of these gamers have reacted badly to what they see as an over-priced console.

Comments in the PCAdvisor.co.uk PlayStation 3 forum are less than encouraging; members are angered that a PS3 can be bought in the US for only around £300.

Forum member ‘georgemac ©' summed up the feelings of many when he posted: "Sony has a very good reputation, and a loyal customer base, which includes me, but I feel it is really pushing this to the limit now and alienating its UK customers."

Regular forum contributor Stuartli made the point that: "You can buy a pretty good computer system, including a TFT monitor, for a similar figure or even less. I know what I would spend my money on."

Worldwide sales have hardly rocketed since the PS3 launched in November. Sales up to the end of December were less than expected at 1.64 million and, at that rate, the console is a loss-maker for Sony. In contrast, Nintendo had sold 3.19 million Wii consoles worldwide by the end of 2006. Nevertheless, the outright winner in terms of consoles is still the PS2, with a worldwide installed base of 111 million systems. So what happens next?

As always, consumers will vote with their wallets. And in the fiercely competitive console market the signs aren't great for the PS3. Undoubtedly stunning in a technological sense, Sony's latest offering is simply too expensive. While Sony will have little trouble selling the million consoles it initially allocated to the European market, I wouldn't like to lay odds on what happens after that. Europe is a make-or-break market for the PS3 and it will have to be a good deal cheaper if it's to stand a chance of real success.

This article appears in the June 07 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.

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