The PlayStation 3 officially went on sale in Australia overnight, with hundreds of gamers lining up outside more than 500 retail stores across the nation to purchase Sony's latest console at midnight launch events.
The largest event was held at Sydney's Pitt St mall, where retail store Myer and Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCEA) teamed up to present launch night activities which included prize giveaways, live demonstrations and a screening of Casino Royale on the big screen. Approximately 70 people lined up to grab their consoles at the Myer Pitt St store, with a hundred-strong crowd looking on. The PS3's arrival comes exactly one year after Microsoft's Xbox 360 launched in Australia. Microsoft's launch event for the 360 -- which was also held in Sydney's Pitt St mall -- drew a crowd of close to 1000 people.
Danny Zarka, from Pyrmont in Sydney, was the first to purchase a PS3 at the Myer launch event.
Other retailers across Sydney also held launch events, most of which drew modest crowds. The Harvey Norman store at the Moore Park SupaCenta had close to 40 people attend its midnight launch activities, which included an appearance from Australian boxing great Kostya Tszyu. Tszyu was on hand to demo Fight Night Round 3, as well as sign the first PS3 sold at the store.
Over at EB Games at Bondi Junction in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, the launch crowd was even smaller, with approximately 20 people lined up outside the store to purchase their PS3s. Five major retailers opened late in the large shopping district of Chatswood, on Sydney's North Shore. The EB Games at Chatswood had about 30 in their line, while the near-by Toys'R'Us store scored 20.
Approximately 70 people lined up at the Myer launch event.
Despite the low turn-out, retailers were generally positive about the launch of Sony's next-generation product. Myer chief executive officer Bernie Brooks said his chain of stores experienced an extremely high number of PS3 pre-sales, citing the figure at more than AU$2 million. Harvey Norman general manager for computers and communications Rutland Smith said his company is estimating that the PS3 will generate close to A$10 million in sales by Monday, with 50 percent coming from pre-orders.
SCEA is also bullish, reporting that more than AU$20 million worth of PS3s had been pre-ordered prior to launch.
Business issues didn't concern gamers waiting in line for their console, though. Danny Zarka, the first person in line at Myer's Pitt St store, said he had been anxiously awaiting the PS3 for more than a year.