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Suspicious PS3 Preorder Program In UK

This may sound a mite strange, but those nutty Europeans have a little plan up their sleeve for the holiday PS3s...that don't really exist until March.

They've got advertisements in England now with the statement, "PlayStation 3 - Order now for Christmas" with a bolded phone number underneath beginning with 0906, the 1-900 U.S. equivalent (the calls cost 1.50/minute). Now, this should confuse the gamers over there who already know Sony's next-gen console is delayed until March, but retailers really, really want to take advantage of the PS3 for this holiday season.

When you call the number, a recorded message tells callers that the order line is owned by a proprietor company called Mastercash. The company may appear somewhat suspicious to Americans, but things apparently work a little differently over there. The voice continues with the suprising news that there is a way for consumers to secure a PS3 for Christmas 2006:

"The official release date for the PS3 is November 17, 2006," the recording says. "But the official release date in the UK has for some reason been pushed back to March 2007. With the PS3 being so popular, the supplies the shops do get are expected to have been pre-ordered and sold out on the same day."

After we've cleared that up, we find out that the PS3 Mastercash delivers will either be a Japanese or American system. And while that would normally present a problem in the PAL regions, the console should also come with a UK power supply and other required cables. But don't we all remember that bit about Sony cracking down on grey importing? Doesn't this qualify? Or is this some kind of loophole?

Following the information, the caller must leave his/her information, and that includes a phone number and a mailing address, so as to "make you aware of the package content and options of additional games and accessories, along with all pricing info." Not surprisingly, the message adds the disclaimer that Mastercash reserves the right to cancel "any and or all orders at any time it sees fit to do so." Of course, all orders depend on the ultimate availability of the PS3.

The whole things sounds awfully shady to us, but if enough Brits buy into it, there could be a whole lot of disappointed consumers in Europe come Christmas...then again, it all could be perfectly legitimate and there might be a lot of happy consumers. Who knows?

11/7/2006 Ben Dutka

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