Last year’s Xbox 360 launch debacle reminded us all of an important new console rule of thumb: he who wants a hot commodity day one had better put in a pre-order months in advance. I, and several of my peers, had the hindsight to put our names in the hat for Xbox 360s mere days after the console pricing specifics were announced at E3. Thousands of other unfortunate ManRoom Xbox 360 hopefuls were left with the prospect of playing at retailer kiosk demos while consoles fetched over 2 times retail value on Ebay.
Almost exactly a year later, Sony will debut Playstation 3 (i.e. glorified Blu-ray Disc player) this November with, as some analysts suspect, far fewer units available than Microsoft offered for Xbox 360. Given Sony’s broader mass appeal garnered from the success of Playstation 2 and word of miniscule supplies, one can one deduce the demand for PS3’s will *far* outweigh supply.
Specialty game retailers Electronics Boutique and Game Crazy have apparently taken this shortage news seriously given their stance on PS3 pre-orders. By this time last year, both retailers were taking $50 to be placed on the list for an Xbox 360 console. This year, a call to Electronics Boutique was answered with news of no pre-orders until approximately October – only 30 days or so from launch. Game Crazy told us they only expected 2 units on launch day and they had already put 2 names on their pre-order list – no doubt greasy fanboy employees. The rules have certainly changed.
So where does this leave the rest of us? Big box retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, Target and Toys ‘R’ Us will be hesitant to take pre-orders. Count on neverending lines, bribes and girlfriends in skimpy outfits there. You could always put your name on Amazon.com’s wishlist along with thousands of other ravenous fans and, with the help of a really fast Internet connection, hope to score one of their astronomically priced bundles. Or, you could make the local news as the retard who bid upwards of 2k for a *guaranteed* (yeah, right) launch day console off some faceless entrepreneur on Ebay. Bottom line: the chances of you and I scoring a PS3 at launch are analogous with the worst Vegas odds. And that’s the best case scenario.
I predict Ebay’s PS3 frenzy this November is going to run circles around what Xbox 360’s launch provoked. And the funny thing is the press lambasted Sony at E3 for their lack of originality and killer-app launch title. When does “Gears of War” come out again?
– Dan Bradley