Mob scenes and gun violence mark pre-Christmas launch of Sony's PS3

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Sony's PlayStation 3 went on sale in the US yesterday amid mob scenes and gun violence worthy of the shoot-'em-up games available for the much hyped new console.

Robbers held up a line of gamers waiting outside a superstore in Connecticut at 3am yesterday morning, demanding they hand over the $500 they had saved to buy the PS3, and one man was shot when he resisted.

The midnight launch generated queues of people, many of whom had camped outside superstores for days. In West Bend, Wisconsin, a 19-year-old was injured when he ran into a pole while racing with 50 others for one of 10 spots outside a Wal-Mart. In Fresno, California, police were forced to close a Wal-Mart after shoppers fought to get ahead of the queue. And there was a drive-by shooting in Lexington, Kentucky, when a local television reporter was hit with pellets from a toy gun while interviewing waiting gamers.

Many of those who camped out have already pre-sold their consoles, which have been changing hands on eBay at prices above $2,000 ($1,000) - four times their retail cost.

The console is months late and there were still just 400,000 consoles available yesterday. Sony says that it will be able to ship only a million consoles to the United States before Christmas. The launch in Europe has now been pushed back to the spring.