Sony’s shiny black behemoth launched in Europe five years ago today. It had been out in Japan since November 10th and the US since November 17th but March 23rd was the date that retailers from most EU countries, Australia and New Zealand finally got the chance to throw open their doors to the expectant masses, clutching their savings and dreaming of a brave new world of Sony console gaming.
It launched with a hefty price tag of £425/€566-€659 for the 60GB model, with a 40GB version offering a cheaper alternative in many countries. Europe didn’t get the budget 20GB model at launch so it really was quite a major investment. At the time, it was also the cheapest way to buy a top quality Blu-ray player for those of you lucky enough to be an HDTV early adopter too.
The launch line up was perhaps a little weaker than we’d like to remember, with Resistance: Fall of Man and MotorStorm the most attractive. In Europe, the PS3 counted Call of Duty 3 as a launch title too, and Activision also brought Tony Hawk’s Project 8 to the console. Ridge Racer 7, an updated version of The Godfather and Enchanted Arms offered plenty of variation in starting options for new PS3 owners while A healthy collection of sports titles including Virtua Tennis 3, FIFA 07, NBA 2K7, NHL 2K7, Fight Night Round 3 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 gave the launch line up some energy.
The early advertising was probably some of the weirdest, with the launch campaign in Europe focussed on their “This is Living” slogan, rather than the US’s slightly more coherent “Play B3yond” campaign which had the PS3 facing off against creepy dolls and Rubik’s Cubes.
Here’s the full cut of the North Europe advertising campaign, be warned that there is a NSFW moment at 2:30. And again at around 3:20. And little bits of marginally NSFW from then until the end, really. Did I mention that it’s bonkers?
My earliest memory of the PlayStation 3 is being insanely jealous when my brother-in-law got one just after launch and I couldn’t afford one. This means that I had the odd go on Call of Duty 3 and MotorStorm in those early days but I missed out on a lot of the launch excitement. Of course, my launch day PlayStation 2 was still going strong, beside my CRT TV but the marvel of controllers without wires, Six Axis motion controls and those amazing graphics were beyond my reach.
Of course, since then the PlayStation 3 has literally changed my life. It went from being an object of desire, outside of my budget to something that is now central to my working life. Thanks to the PlayStation 3, I found this website, returned to some of the skills I’d left behind and formed some genuine lifelong friendships that are more valuable than any expensive launch-day price tag could have indicated.
Help us celebrate the occasion by sharing your PS3 launch stories in the comments!