Everything you need to know about the PS3 launch

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ps3-hardware.jpgNot long now. It’s just under six hours until PlayStation 3 goes on sale in the UK (well, if you’re camped out at Virgin Megastore anyway). Europe is the last place to get Sony’s new console, so we’ll finally be able to see how it shapes up against Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii.

Tech Digest’s feisty new brother blog PSPSPS has already been documenting the run-up to the PS3 launch. It’s been covering everything from the latest sales figures (er, not good) to the ins and outs of what PS2 games will work on your PS3, which launch games you should buy, and what the story is with Sony’s PlayStation Home virtual world. Read on for the full details.

VITAL STATISTICS

Let’s start with those sales figures, which have made pretty scary reading for Sony in recent weeks. Financial site The Street has already lashed the PS3 with a big report on how February sales were “even weaker than the dismal January figures implied”. Ouch. Meanwhile, other analysts are predicting an October price cut for PS3 to win over gamers.

Believe it or not, Sony says the PS3’s delayed launch in Europe has been a good thing, not least because there’ll be a million units available on launch day. Meanwhile, PSPSPS has been compiling the ten areas that’ll define whether PS3 wins the next-gen console war, including price, the games, the performance of Blu-ray and its online features.

GET OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

Want a quick primer on all things PlayStation 3? Start by watching ten of the best PS3-related YouTube videos, which include game trailers, adverts, and abusive songs about Sony’s strategy. As you do.

If you’ve already paid your £425 to preorder a console, you might be wobbling and wondering if it was the right decision. If so, check out this list of ways to rationalise buying a PS3, which should help you convince yourself it was a good idea.

And if you still want to flash the cash, PSPSPS has a handy guide to the first ten things you should buy for your new PS3, in order. Nice. Sadly, the marvellous FragFX first-person-shooter controller was announced too late to make it in, but if you’re planning to play a lot of Resistance: Fall Of Man, you might want to grab one.

Will your old PS2 games run on PS3 though? 73% of them will according to Sony, but you can check specific titles on Sony’s dedicated backwards compatibility website. Be warned Pro Evo fans, this may make you weep hot, salty tears of distress.

LAUNCH DAY BONANZA

The PS3 isn’t having an all-guns blazing launch across the UK, it’s fair to say. Game cancelled its planned midnight launch, which may be not entirely unrelated to comments from the police about the danger of post-launch muggings.

However, Virgin Megastore is letting gamers camp in-store to get their consoles, and Shiny Media’s Kat is there getting on-the-spot reactions (we told her it was a queue full of Virgins). It wasn’t too busy earlier on, but you can bet there’ll be a hubbub later tonight. Currys is having its own launch tomorrow morning, with a Frag Doll, and says pre-orders have doubled in the last fortnight, by the way.

If you want to make sure you secure a PS3, you may wish to check out PSPSPS’ guide to getting your hands on one. Of course, if you’re French you can just swan along to the Eiffel Tower to pick up yours, while Italians got their PS3s early after stores broke Sony’s launch embargo. The swine.

VIRTUALLY YOURS

You won’t be able to jump into Sony’s Home virtual world at launch, but get set for its Second Life-esque charms by reading a guide to what it is and when it’s launching to punters. Even though Sony isn’t too keen on people broadcasting mucky movies within Home, we still think it’s genius. Here’s why.

While waiting for Home to launch, you’ll be wanting to get your PS3 online, and start by updating its firmware, which will also ensure you can help cure cancer through the Folding@home distributed computing program. Or you can just download 10 mobile games based on PS3 launch titles. Your choice (although feel guilty if you opt for the second…)

It’s all very, very exciting.

Stuart Dredge