This week Sony has made yet more attempts to keep people from buying their upcoming video game console, the PlayStation 3 (PS3). In addition to tripling the wait time for most of the world (from November to March), they have cut in four the number of PlayStations that will be available at launch.
Pickings to be slim
When Sony announced months ago that there would only be 2,000,000 PS3s available at launch, people were expecting Sony to have serious shortages, but to still put PlayStations in the hands of the most serious Christmas buyers. Concerned at the potential sales, they’ve cut their numbers down to 400,000 for US/Canada and a mere 100,000 for Japan. “Considering that they’re still selling more than a million of the years-old PS2s each season,” was one analyst’s analysis. “We estimate that this initial shipment of PS3s will sell out in approximately seven seconds - accurate to plus or minus two seconds.”
After the initial shipment is gone, there is little telling what will occur. “There will likely be riots - mass chaos will ensue,” predicted one prognosticator. “While some thieves were assaulting people for their Xbox 360s last year, it is likely Sony fans will be found assaulting random people just out of sheer frustration.”
Sony not being a PAL
It seems Sony didn’t think restricting supply was enough to keep PS3s out of people’s hands. Those that use the PAL format for video have had their shipments further downsized, in response to pent up demand for the console. These minor continents (Europe, Asia, South America, Africa) will have exactly zero PS3s available for purchase this year. “While these aren’t traditional console strongholds, it’s possible that zero consoles is not enough to fulfill demand in these continents,” observed one observer.
Sticker shock may cause paralysis or death
While there will be a “Basic” PS3 available for the low price of $549 CAD ($499 USD), almost everybody will be getting the $659 CAD ($599 USD) “Premium” edition. This is partly because the Basic edition omits a lot of vital features, and partly because the vast majority of units available will be the $659 ones. “The PS3 is no more expensive than the 3DO was,” said one fan in Sony’s defense. “People bought 3DOs?” rebutted one Nintendo fan. A 3DO fan could not be found for comment.
Digital Rights Mismanagement
The PS3’s high-def Blu-Ray player is supposedly a major reason it’s worth $500+. To please the movie studios, a technology called HDMI is required in order to play high-definition videos on it. However, to actually use this technology you need to pay the additional $100 for the Premium edition, and need to pay $100 extra for a special cable to do HDMI. And even THEN, your TV almost certainly doesn’t have an HDMI port, making the whole thing useless. “If nobody can afford to play the media, then nobody can pirate it!” exclaimed one exclaimer. “Of course, if one person cracks it and puts it online, we all paid $200 extra for nothing, but I’m sure that’ll never happen.”
Wii will rock them?
While Sony hasn’t officially recommended what system you should buy instead of a PS3, they seem to be hinting towards the Nintendo Wii. Since the PS3 Basic doesn’t come with Wi-Fi or a flash card reader (both included with the Wii), it is reasonable to compare the $599 PS3 Premium to the $199 (estimated) Wii. Given that Wii games will be significantly cheaper than PS3 games, you’ll be able to buy a Wii and 10 games for the cost (and size) of a PS3 and… no games. Whee!