All eyes are on Sony this weekend as the format holder launches the long anticipated PlayStation 3 in Europe.
Due to officially go on sale tomorrow following delays, the final next-generation home console to hit the market boasts a number of different features to rival machines — but also a hefty price tag of GBP 425 / EUR 599.
The official UK launch takes place this evening at the Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street, where Sony is promising the first 150 customers a free copy of first-party exclusive title Resistance: Fall of Man.
Virgin marketing exec Stephen Lynn told GamesIndustry.biz that as well as a healthy number of pre-ordered consoles, he expects free stock to sell out by lunchtime on Friday.
After the Metropolitan police voiced its concern over the idea of midnight launches, both GAME and HMV have decided to reschedule their events for early morning on Friday.
HMV is partnering with Sega, giving away 150 copies of Virtua Tennis 3 to the first consumers to shell out for the PS3 at its 7.30am opening.
Specialist retailer GAME has reported "phenomenal" demand for the PlayStation 3 and is opening at 7am to offer breakfast to its first customers, along with their pre-ordered consoles.
It's not just the national retailers putting on special events for the launch of the PlayStation 3 - chains such as Gamestation and Chips, as well the independent retail community, are all expecting a huge launch this Friday.
GamesIndustry.biz will be at the midnight launch of the PlayStation 3 and will offer a full report on Friday morning, along with comments from key Sony executives and retail figures.
Our sister site, Eurogamer.net, already has extensive coverage of all the key PlayStation 3 launch titles and will continue to cover consumer issues over the launch weekend.