Despite Sony’s best efforts at blocking so-called grey imports, or products sold online and shipped from abroad, a number of sellers on eBay are offering PlayStation 3 consoles from Japan as well as pre-orders from shops in the US in anticipation of the console’s release this weekend.
The price for the 60GB model has reached over £915 at the time of press, and one seller is offering a Buy-it-now price of £999.
A number of listings are for units to be shipped from Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan, with some sellers promising to refund any VAT that may be slapped on when it enters UK shores.
A listing for a pre-order for a 20GB unit from the US has reached over £500, while a 60GB unit has been sold for £1220.
However, some listings are rather misleading, with sellers promising that the units are region free. There is some confusion over the region encoding of games and Blu-ray discs.
A Sony spokesperson has confirmed that Blu-ray discs are indeed region encoded, as are both PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games, so that if you buy one of the units from Japan, you won’t be able to play older European games on it. PS3 games are indeed region-free, but there are only about five available at the moment.
So if you buy an imported console, you’ll have to continue to buy imported Blu-ray movies as well.
Keep an eye out on Pocket-lint for a full review of the PS3 sometime this week.