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Italian consumers taking PS3s home already

Retailers ignore official launch schedule

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Italian gamers have got their hands on Sony's PlayStation 3 two days before anyone else in Europe as local retailers flipped the finger at the consumer electronics giant's launch target of first thing this coming Friday.

The retailers appear to have been forced into the move by a single competitor. According to Trade Interactive Multimedia by way of a report on GamesIndustry.biz, the Darty chain this week took out national newspaper ads stating it would begin selling the next-generation console at 7pm today, more than 24 hours before the official launch time.

In response, Media World stores began selling PS3s at 9am this morning, and GamesStop appears to have begun doing so too. Others retailers with stock in place - and not all have, the report suggests - are expected to follow suit.

Sony expressed its disappointment with the early Italian launch and said it was still considering what action it may yet take against retailers who put the PS3 on sale ahead of the deadline.

Meanwhile, here in the UK, Game said it wouln't open its Oxford Street, London store's doors at midnight to offer buyers the chance to pick up a PS3, suggesting instead they tip up at 7am in the morning. The official launch will take place at the Virgin Megastore at midnight.

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