Hardcore computer game fans queued Thursday to be among the first owners of a Sony Playstation 3 games console ahead of its midnight launch in Europe, the Middle East and Australasia.
Sony and major retailers have talked up the long-delayed launch, organising special late-night events for those who can't wait, but there has been speculation that the PS3's hefty price tag might deter consumers.
The PS3 has been outsold by rival Nintendo's Wii machine and Microsoft's XBox 360 in the United States.
Outside the Virgin Megastore's flagship outlet in London, diehard gamers had camped for 36 hours for the chance to grab the first machines off the shelves at the stroke of midnight, AFP reports.
A Sony spokesman said 10,000 consoles -- Sony's answer to the challenge thrown down by the Wii and the XBox 360 -- had been pre-ordered in Australia.
The PS3 does not come cheap, costing 599 euros (800 dollars) in Europe and 425 pounds (836 dollars/626 euros) in Britain.