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Shortage Of Sony PS3 Expected At Launch - Drives Prices To $10,000 On eBay Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 October 2006
Hardcore gamers and eBay speculators lined up at Game Stop and EB Game stores across the country on October 10, 2006. With the size of the lines wrapping around the block you might think they were there get their hands on Sony’s Blu-ray based Playstation 3 video game system, however the system doesn’t hit the streets in the USA until November 17, 2006. So why the lines a month before the launch date? These game fanatics were there in hopes of being lucky enough to plunk down a $100 deposit to reserve one of the only 400,000 Sony Playstation 3 consoles available November 17 in the USA. With a receipt in hand, that is as coveted as a golden Willy Wonka ticket, many of the 6 to 15 lucky gamers at each store headed immediately to their computers to log on to eBay. By the droves, eBay filled up with auctions and “buy it now” postings for PS3 units that were not even in the hands of the people listing the auctions. Auctions with “buy it now” prices as high as $10,000 were hitting eBay, with several listings for $4,000 to $6,000. The $10,000 auction was geared towards rap and sports stars who want to be the first one with the system, and the seller even promised to fly it personally to the winner as soon as it is available.

eBay became aware of this situation and began removing these pre-release auctions through their VERO system for fear that they could possibly be fraudulent. Although ticket owners are guaranteed a system, there is also a chance that the lucky few that have Game Stop or EB Games receipts will not get their system on or around the launch date. eBay, knowing this does not want to subject their users to purchasing items for great sums of money only to find out there will be a huge delay in shipping them to the auction winners.

The general consensus among gamers is that the only way to get a system will be to camp out in advance, be lucky enough to get in on one of the various pre-orders at stores like Toys R’ Us, Wal Mart etc, or pay through the nose on eBay for one. Once the frenzy of the launch morning sales are over and the first batch of PS3s are on the street, expect to see another surge of listings for the systems on eBay. Besides dealing with a shortage of PS3 systems due to a lack of blue laser diodes for the Blu-ray drives, Sony also faces competition from the new Nintendo Wii system. Priced much lower than the $599 deluxe PS3 unit, Nintendo’s next generation system simply called Wii (pronounced like the French word for yes "oui”) is geared more towards young gamers with more cartoon-like graphics, and has a price tag of only $250. Where the PS3 can be a pivotal part of a home theater system with its Blu-ray based drive and HDMI high-definition capable output, the Wii, is a game only system without a DVD player but features a new one of a kind motion sensitive remote control. On a sports game such as tennis, swinging the wireless remote makes the player on screen swing at the ball. Swinging the nun-chuck attachment around makes the character Link on the new Legend of Zelda game swing his sword or cast his fishing pole to fish for food. This revolutionary game controller had people lined up waiting for hours to play the system at the E3 videogame expo in Los Angeles earlier this year.

Sony’s stock took a hit as news hit Wall Street about the small numbers of systems that will be available at launch. Nintendo took that as an opportunity to let the gaming world know that they would be upping production of their much easier to produce Wii to roll out 4 million systems by the end of the year in the US, while experts expect around 600,000 PS3s to be on the streets by the end of this year. Sony is doing the first ever worldwide simu-lanch of a system in the same week and expect to have 2,000,0000 systems worldwide, most of these being in Japan. Some US gamers have said if they can’t get their hands on a US PS 3, they will purchase a Japanese version and a voltage converter.

Reports that the PS3 actually costs Sony around $900 per system makes one wonder why they are pushing this game format at all. However what they are doing with this system is putting a Blu-ray Trojan horse into what will be millions of homes by the end of 2007. Many gamers don’t have HDTV’s at home yet but will someday soon realize that the same Blu-ray discs they covet at retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon.com will play on their video game system too.

Sources: GamesIndustry.biz, PS3land.com, eBay.com, Yahoo News

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