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UK cops clamp down on midnight PS3 launch

Sony's big day faces disruption

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London's Oxford Street Virgin Megastore will be the only shop in the centre of the capital to offer Sony PlayStation 3s at midnight tomorrow - thanks to the actions of Westminster Council and the Metropolitan Police. The reason? Local government and law enforcement officials fear they won't be able to cope with the crowds.

This means that anyone who pre-ordered a PS3 anywhere other than the Virgin Megastore, and was hoping to collect it tonight, is in for a big disappointment.

Retail chain Game has advised its customers to call their local branch to see if it's opening at midnight. But it warned you will have to have registered for your PS3 at the branch you visit. You can't collect from a different store.

Not one HMV store in London is opening its doors. However, beyond the capital approximately 50 shops around the UK will be opening as planned – but even this number is changing from hour to hour, a direct result from the reactions of police forces around the country as they act on the notion that lots of people will be roaming the streets late at night carrying brand new PS3s worth around £425 - all of them potential robbery targets.

So, come Thursday evening, it could be considerably less than 50 HMV stores that stay open for the launch. Again, HMV said customers should contact their nearest store to find out... what the heck is actually going on.

Whether the approach being adopted by the boys in blue will prove a sensible one in the long run remains to be seen. Either way, there are going to be a lot of disappointed PlayStation fans out tonight, all of them wondering why they didn't just buy an Xbox 360 or a Wii.

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