PlayStation 3 sells out...

At 12:01am GMT this morning, PlayStation 3 finally launched in PAL territories around the world - places like France, Africa, New Zealand and England.

While - thankfully - it didn't trigger the sort of apocalypse-like drama of last year'sdomestic launch day madness, there are still more than enough quirky tales to fill your average news ticker. Or, in our creation below, a nice map.

Imagine we're slapping the tip of a lecturer's pointer onto the relevant geographical locations as you read for extra effect...

1 London, UK
About 100 people camped out in the Oxford Street Virgin Megastore for PS3's launch.Each of the happy hundred early queue-sitters walked out with a grand's worth of HDTV, as a present from Sony for their "loyalty." They even got a free taxi ride home. The basta...

2 Swindon, UK
Things weren't quite so cheerful in Swindon, though. Well, less so than usual, at least. An unnamed woman there was attacked as she walked home with her newly purchased PlayStation 3.

Admirably, though, she held on to the console, forcing the muggers to abort the crime and run off. Before being collared by the localcops shortly after. It's not quite the same as"several hit in PS3 launch line drive by" though, is it?

3 Malta
PlayStation 3 sold out in Malta, and was the fasting-selling gaming brand in the country's history, with all 250 of the consoles sent to the small island snapped up almost immediately. Can Xbox 360 make the same boast?

4 Paris, France
Trendy Parisians could get their culture and their gaming in one place last night, as Sony threw a PS3 launch event in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

There was a small irksome interruption though - by a huge riverboat chugging down the Seine with "Xbox 360 (heart) you" plastered across it. Oh, Microsoft, we love you too.

5 Everywhere, Italy
The Italians have the right idea - instead of waiting like obedient puppies for Sony to toss PlayStation 3 across to European gamers, stores in Italy began selling the next-gen consoles on Wednesday.

Small-scale retailer Darty first broke the barrier two days ago, before other stores hastily followed suit so as not to miss out. Sony is "deeply disappointed."

6 Sydney, Australia
Early adopters of PS3 got an early showing of Blu-ray's capabilities at Sydney's launch event, with Sony screening James Bond's latest cinema outing Casino Royale for the gamers standing in line. That's all 70 of them - compared with more than a 1,000 who queued up for Xbox 360's beachhead in Australia last year.

With other locations reporting similarly unimpressive gangs of customers, there can be only one answer. The Aussies are obviously displaying their disappointment with the choice of Daniel Craig for the role of England's greatest spy. Or, hang on...

7 Durban, South Africa
Pity the poor people who queued up outside Durban's branch of CNA. Not only was the Sony-sponsored launch party antics restricted to the cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg, but the retailer's PlayStation 3 order didn't even make it to the store, and the whole midnight launch thing was cancelled.

Still, at least the disappointed gamers could play on the many demo units stationed in shops around the city. Xbox 360 demo units, that is, since the PS3 ones haven't turned up yet.

8 Nowhere, India
Finally, spare a thought for Indian gamers.Other PAL territories might have had to wait two years since PS3 was announced, and four months since Sony launched the console in America and Japan, but India won't see the next generation of PlayStation until April 27.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, it'll then cost a whopping 39,990 Indian Rupees, or $910. Count your blessings, readers...

March 23, 2007

Ben Richardson is a former Staff Writer for Official PlayStation 2 magazine and a former Content Editor of GamesRadar+. In the years since Ben left GR, he has worked as a columnist, communications officer, charity coach, and podcast host – but we still look back to his news stories from time to time, they are a window into a different era of video games.