Playstation 3 Release Party


Waiting in line

Some die-hard Sony fanboys started camping outside of Best Buy and other stores on Tuesday, an entire three days before launch, but they have been waiting for years for this day. November 17, 2006 marks the launch of the Sony Playstation 3 in the U.S., one week after the PS3 was launched in its home of Japan.

Sony has been dealt several financial blows the past few years, and is banking on the next-generation console for its economic future, and the timing is critical. Sony has made several promises about the PS3 that it hasn’t been able to meet, which has made Sony’s shareholders nervous. A laptop battery disaster earlier this year put additional strain on the company trying to focus its survival efforts on the new console. The U.S. launch is timed right before the Thanksgiving weekend: when many players are on vacation, the buying spirit is in the air, and (most importantly) when buyers have just received their paychecks.

The determination of Seattle Sony fans was tested on Wednesday. Seattle is known for its rainfall (although it receives less yearly precipitation than most of the U.S.), and massive storms poured down on campers outside local Best Buys and other electronics stores. Some campers retreated to their cars, hoping to keep their place in line. More experienced squatters, knowing their wait would be hard, just zipped up their tents, dreaming of their Friday prize.

In Short Supply
Most people assume that the PS3 will be in short supply for the rest of the year. Sony has been unable to meet expected production demands, and pushed back a worldwide launch of Spring 2006, to a smaller fall launch (U.S. and Japan). Industry insiders have confirmed that because of these production problems, there will be no more PS3 shipments until early 2007, which makes Sony’s console even more valuable and lucratively profitable that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 last year. One PS3 is one sale at eBay for nearly $12,000 (which includes twelve games).

In contrast, Nintendo’s Wii has no such production problems. Although stores have only received a handful of consoles for the Sunday launch, additional shipments are confirmed before the end of the week (so Nintendo fanboys should be able to get their game on, turkey in hand). Gamestop and EB games employees (who have asked not to be named) have confirmed that each store has initially received less than 12 Wii consoles, and they are expecting more shortly after launch.