The Sony PlayStation 3 will cost £425 when it launches here in the UK in March.

This figure had been previously given by Sony UK boss Ray Maguire, and was described as "a bargain" for consumers.

An official announcement from Sony is expected next week but it is not without controversy. Complaints about "rip-off Britain" have surfaced as Sony has confirmed that the cost of the console in most of the Euro Zone will be EUR 599.

The price for Ireland, however, has been given at EUR 629.99, apparently due to a higher, 21%, VAT.

It has been alleged by one retail source that the higher UK price hasn’t been suggested by Sony but the British retailers themselves who often go for bigger profit margins than their Continental counterparts.

The price announcement is also expected to contain a confirmation of a 23rd March launch date, even though Sony CEO Howard Stringer was quoted on a CNET owned site saying that it’ll not be until April. A spokesperson for Sony has since refuted this.

It's thought that the 20GB PS3 will not be made available in the UK during the initial launch period.