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PlayStation 3 In Europe On March 23

The introductory 60-Gbyte model is expected to cost 599 euros.

The Sony PlayStation 3 is scheduled to arrive on store shelves in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia on March 23, a spokesman said Friday.

The top-selling videogame console, which has been available in the United States and Japan since November, is expected to cost 599 euros, or about $774. Prices in the other countries would be the same, based on the value of their currency, said David Karraker, spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment America.

Only the 60-Gbyte model of the PlayStation would be sold in countries outside the U.S. and Japan, where Sony also sells a less expensive 20-Gbyte version. Retailers are asking for the higher-priced model because it has been selling far better than the model with the smaller hard drive. "But this doesn't preclude us from selling the 20-Gbyte model at some point," Karraker said.

The PlayStation 3 competes against Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii, which also shipped in November. Xbox 360 shipped a year earlier than its rivals. Sony says it is on track to sell 6 million PlayStation 3s by March 31, the end of the company's fiscal year.

Sony sold 1 million units by Dec. 31 in the United States, and reached the same mark in Japan two weeks later, which was behind projections. Sony initially couldn't meet demand because of a shortage of the laser diode used in the high-definition Blu-ray disk player that comes with the PlayStation. The problem has been corrected, and shipments are on schedule, according to Karraker.

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