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Europe is "most important continent", says Harrison

Big man attends PS3 launch.

Speaking at the official UK launch of PlayStation 3 last night, Sony Worldwide Studios boss Phil Harrison highlighted the significance of the European market - which he believes is key to the console's success.

"This is the third continent out of three, but it is the most important," he told our sister site GamesIndustry.biz. "It's got most countries, it's the most people, it's the most cultures...

"The fact that we've got the launch here with more consoles shipped on day one that we've ever had in our history is a compliment to the importance of the European market."

PS3 launched in the US and Japan last December, but European gamers have had to wait until now to get their hands on Sony's new console. The official midnight launch took place at the Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street, with most stores across the country waiting to their doors until this morning.

According to Harrison, it's an important day for the games industry and gamers alike: "I've seen PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 launched on Oxford Street but this is the most meaningful for me personally, because I think it's so important not just for our industry but for UK consumers - the fact that they're going to get the best machine with the best software support, the most Network service and the firmware update," he said.

"They had to wait, and I feel really bad about that. But I'm hoping we can make it up to them with the quality of software that we've got coming out."

It was Harrison who showcased two new PS3 exclusives - online service PlayStation Home and new game LittleBigPlanet - at GDC recently. Both were well received by the critics, so does he agree that their unveiling helped to build up a head of steam for the European launch?

"That's coincidence. It wasn't part of the plan," Harrison said. "PlayStation 3 has got a tremendous future ahead of it - this is just the start as far as the UK is concerned. We're in a ten year cycle, and we're four minutes into a ten year cycle, so ask me in however minutes that is from now..."

But for Harrison, last night's launch wasn't just about the future of PS3 - it was about seeing the results of Sony's efforts. "The fact that people are prepared to invest their time, their money and their passion in queueing up to be part of a launch is great - and it kind of makes all the hard work worthwhile," he said.

"It's not just for people in the UK, it's for the guys in Japan who make the hardware, it's for the people who make the software, and the thousands of people who are part of the PlayStation story."

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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