Gamers hoping to get their hands on Sony's highly anticipated PS3 (PlayStation 3) before the official UK launch are likely to be disappointed after the console maker upped efforts to block grey imports.

The product is due to go on sale in Japan and the US next month, but European games fans will have to wait until next March before the product hits the shops. With previous console releases, eager gamers have been able to import consoles once they'd gone on sale in overseas markets, but Sony said it would pull out all the stops to close the loophole this time around.

The company claims a legal ruling preventing import and export firm Lik-Sang from selling Japanese versions of the PSP (PlayStation Portable) in the UK sets a precedent for grey-import sales of the PS3.

"We will utilise the full scope of the law to put a stop to any retailers who choose to do this," the company said in a statement. Sony said it hoped to prevent UK users from being sold goods that don't comply with EU (European Union) and UK safety standards.

Those who couldn't wait for the UK launch date of high-profile consoles have previously been willing to pay a hefty price premium to get their hands on the goods before official release dates.