PLAYSTATION fans, stand by to be milked: Sony expects you to hand over $1000 for its new console, more than 50 per cent more than Japanese gamers are paying.
If it is any consolation, you'll get 5c change when, from March23, Sony Computer Entertainment's long-awaited 60-gigabyte PlayStation 3 goes on sale in Australia, Europe and New Zealand.
Anyone hoping to save a few dollars on Sony's lower-spec 20Gb model had better hunker down for an even longer wait, because a Sony Computer Entertainment spokesman would only say yesterday that it would start arriving "later this year, depending on demand".
In Japan and the US, where the gaming console went on sale in November, the 60Gb model's recommended price is $US599 or Y59,980. At yesterday's exchange rate, Australians will be paying Y94,095.
Sony's Australian retailers, nervously watching Nintendo Wii consoles marching out the door at $399 since December and the older Microsoft Xbox 360 still selling solidly, will be wondering how families, in particular, respond to a $999.95 console.
Sony spokesman Adrian Christie said that while the PS3 was dearer than its competition, it offered features beyond its ability to play games, including a high-definition Blu-ray DVD.
"For the product offering, assessed by features, I don't think it's a high price," he said.