HMV has told GamesIndustry.biz that it will be teaming up with SEGA for the launch of PS3 in its Oxford Street store, which is set to take place at 7.30am on Friday March 23.
As part of the agreement with SEGA, the first 150 customers to purchase a PlayStation 3 at HMV on Friday morning will receive a free copy of Virtua Tennis. The store will host demos of the game and other promotional activities throughout the day.
Originally, the retailer had intended to open the store at midnight, along with some regional branches - but, a spokesperson explained, plans have changed.
"We will be opening 50 key stores around the country at midnight. However, we have decided to open the doors of our Oxford Street store at 7.30am on the Friday," he confirmed.
"We believe this is the most practical response to various sets of circumstances."
According to the spokesperson, factors which have led to the change in plans include concerns expressed by police over the safety of shoppers at midnight launch events.
However, HMV is also hoping that by opening at 7.30am it will be able to take advantage of passing commuter traffic and attract more impulse buyers into the store.
The spokesperson also added, "Previously, we've held very successful midnight events for the Wii and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. We felt that unless we could do a midnight launch as spectacular as those, we'd rather not do it at all."