PS3 launches in North America

Celebs and armed guards.

The PlayStation 3 has launched across the US, with Sony's CEO Howard Stringer and president Kaz Hirai handing out consoles at the SonyStyle store in Manhattan, New York.

The first three consumers in line were given their PS3s for free, as was another person lucky enough to find a special ticket in a gift bag.

Sony had also rolled out a few celebrities for the launch - rapper Ludacris, DJ D-Nice and Karime Adibebe, the latest Lara Croft model, the most notable.

Over in San Francisco, Sony staged a suitably over-the-top deliver of consoles, with SCEA vice president Jack Tretton arriving by mock armed guard to deliver the first batch of units. The boxes were actually empty, but Sony clearly enjoyed playing to the hype.

Inside the flagship PlayStation Store, over 700 PS3's were piled high, waiting to be picked up by an eager crowd sporting wristbands that guaranteed them a unit.

There was real drama elsewhere, with The Sacramento Bee reporting that at least four PS3s were stolen from a store in California by armed men on Thursday morning, while three eager consumers queuing for consoles on Thursday were mugged when they left their camping spot.

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