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PS3 to launch first outside Japan?

In what would represent a massive break with tradition for the company, Sony Computer Entertainment America boss Kaz Hirai has suggested that the PlayStation 3 may not launch in Japan first.

Hirai dismissed rumours that Sony has already decided to follow the console's Japanese launch with a US release in the autumn, telling the CNBC network: "We haven't determined which territory we will go with first this time around just yet.

"We will have to look at development and how things are coming along in terms of manufacture and all the other logistical things to determine which territory or multiple territories go first."

Which could of course mean a simultaneous worldwide launch, as Microsoft has planned for Xbox 360 this November.

Hirai isn't worried that MS will steal Sony's market share by getting in there first, however. "It is not being first in marketing, it is being able to provide a content palette that is going to grow the business," he said.

"We have had a leadership position in the past 10 years and come up against a different variety of companies. With the content support that we are getting from all of our third-party publishing partners, and the technology we pack into PlayStation 3, I'm confident we will keep that position another 10 years."

All of Sony's previous consoles have debuted in Japan before hitting US and European shores, the most recent example being the PSP - which has had its European launch delayed until September due to manufacturing shortages.

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Ellie Gibson: Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.