Those who do little more than eat, sleep and game may be disappointed to find out that few, if any, of Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3) video game consoles will be available in the central Kenai Peninsula area today.
“It’s in high demand, but there’s just not enough systems for the market,” said Pat Hawkins, co-owner of Hawk’s Games in Soldotna.
The PS3 is Sony’s seventh-generation video game unit, and this newest in the series has a 30 or 60 gigabyte upgradeable hard drive, blu-ray drive, bluetooth controller and has built-in Wi-Fi, just to name a few features that result in more visual effects and longer story lines for games.
The first PS3s were released in Japan on Nov. 11, but game consoles were not available in the United States or Canada until today.
According to Hawkins, compared to their initial estimates, Sony has dramatically cut back on the number of systems available for launch day.
“They cut back from 500,000 to 350,000,” he said.
Hawkins said this means PS3s will be few and far between in retail locations.
“They’ll only be available from a few major stores and even they will only have three to six. That’s not just shafting the little guy, that’s shafting everyone,” he said.
According to Melinda Merrill, an Oregon-based spokesperson for Fred Meyer, the Soldotna store had a limited number of PS3s available at a retail price of roughly $500 to $600, depending on the gigabytes of the hard drive, but they are not available on a first come, first served basis.
“It will work like a lottery,” she said Thursday.
Starting at 6:45 a.m. today, those interested in purchasing a PS3 are given a number, and a drawing at 7 a.m. determines who gets a game console.
Hawkins said this supply not meeting the demand has driven the price of the console way past the average retail price.
“I had a person call and offer me $900 if I could get one, and on eBay they’re going for $1,600 to $2,100. It’s an item people want, but now it’s also become an item people are trying to buy to make money,” he said.
Hawkins said that, while a few diehard PlayStation fans may be willing to pay these high prices to obtain a PS3, he said it would be better to wait.
“After the launch in Japan, they found there were glitches with the PS3’s compatibility to PlayStation and PS2 games. If people wait, it gives them time to work the bugs out of the system, make the software more compatible and have an adequate supply of consoles available for more reasonable prices,” he said.
Hawkins said the PS3 is also not the only video game console gamers can invest in.
“Nintendo’s Wii (pronounced “we”) goes on sale Sunday for $249 a system and we’ll have five for the launch, and they’ll be shipping three to six units every week after that,” he said.
Hawkins said the Wii is designed to be more of a family-friendly system that features a wireless controller which can be used as a hand-held pointing device and can detect motion and rotation in three dimensions.
Hawkins said Microsoft’s Xbox 360s, available for $399 a system, also are a highly sought-after alternative to the PS3.
“The Xbox has one of the best online services for downloading games and playing games against other people.
“Also, the games they’ve got are some of the best. I’ve sold over 100 copies of one of their killer titles called ‘Gears of War,’ which is fantastic for tiny town like this,” he said.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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