Sony Computer Entertainment Europe have just announced that their PlayStation 2 broadband gaming network will launch across the UK during Spring 2003.

The network will be launched in the UK first, during the Spring, with further roll-out into Germany, France, Spain, Australia and other countries during the following months.

Gamers will need to buy a Broadband Gaming Pack, which will retail at 44.99, and will come with the PlayStation 2 Ethernet Network Adaptor, a start-up disc featuring demos, and a complete online title to kickstart the online play.

Several new online titles will be released by Sony, including SOCOM: US Navy Seals, Hardware: Online Arena, Destruction Derby Online, Twisted Metal Online, Frequency 2, My Street, ATV Offroad, This is Football 2004 and World Rally Championship Online, and a totally new version of Everquest will be made specially for the PS2 broadband network.

David Reeves, EVP of Marketing and Sales at SCEE, said, "I have no doubt that the line-up of innovative network enhanced PlayStation games from Sony Computer Entertainment studios and from our publishing partners, when coupled with the simplicity and affordability of our network gaming pack, will accelerate broadband adoption in Europe and provide a catalyst for rapid expansion of the total gaming market"

Connection to the network will be possible through a number of broadband network partners, via both cable and ADSL connections - unfortunately only 66% of the UK can get Broadband currently, leaving a huge number of gamers across the country with no option to take part in any form of broadband based gaming, which could leave quite a few gamers hugely dissapointed if Broadband roll-out doesn't improve by the time both Sony's PS2 network, and Microsoft's Xbox Live launch next spring.

Sony already have their network up and running in North America and Japan, with over 100,000 Japanese gamers already connected to the service since it's launch.