It's the news European console-game players have been waiting for: Sony Computer Entertainment (SCEI) announced late last week it plans to launch its PlayStation 2 games console on the continent on November 24.
Announcing its launch plans, SCEI said the machine will carry a recommended retail price of 299 British Pounds, 2,990 French Francs and 869 German Marks.
The prices make the machine slightly more expensive in the United Kingdom, where it will sell for an equivalent of 495 Euros (US$445) against the 445 Euros in both Germany and France. In Japan, the machine launched with a recommended retail price of 39,800 yen, which is equivalent to 405 Euros, and is now selling at a lower price.
For anyone buying the new machine, SCEI said it expects to have 40 software titles available between the launch date and Christmas, which comes a month later -- about twice as many titles as greeted the machine's launch in Japan.
The console, SCEI's second-generation player, was launched in Japan during March and, the company announced last week, has achieved sales of 3 million units since its launch. [See "PlayStation 2 Shipments Hit 3 Million," August 2.]In addition to featuring faster graphics and better sound than the original PlayStation, the new machine can double as a DVD-Video player and comes with several expansion ports not found on the original machine. These include PC Card slots, which SCEI hopes to use to connect broadband network adapters to the machine.
SCEI has yet to announce launch plans for the North American market, although has said it plans to put the machine on sale in time for the holiday shopping season.
SCEI, in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-5413-8000 or online at http://www.scei.co.jp/.