It may not have been a surprise to industry observers – SCE UK managing director Ray Maguire actually announced it at last year's E3 – but the PlayStation 3's £425 UK price-tag has caused howls of outrage among consumers.
Ever the gamers' champion, SPOnG sent Steve Boxer to catch up with Maguire to find out exactly why that should be so – given that it costs the equivalent of £300 in the US and £250 in Japan.
Maguire gave us a surprisingly full and frank description of what exactly goes into deciding the PS3's local price, citing VAT, exchange-rate fluctuations and the general cost of living as contributory factors. But his answers left a suspicion that Sony has erred on the side of conservatism (in its, rather than consumers', favour) when setting the price.
Of course, ready availability of the 20Gb version would have helped matters and, while Maguire protests that retail and consumer feedback heavily favours the 60Gb version, his arguments are slightly tainted by the fact that it is possible to get all your media onto a 20Gb PS3 via USB, and the hard disk will be user-upgradeable. And he admits that the logistics of the PS3 launch are considerably eased by the presence of a single version of the console.
At least there should be plenty of PS3s around at launch in the UK – at least 220,000, according to Maguire. Here's what he told Spong.