07
Sep
06

Massive PS3 Shortages – 400K in U.S. and 100K in Japan

Somewhere in an office in Japan, Ken Kutaragi is holding his head as his mp3 playlist rocks to only one song from Creedence Clearwater Revival….on repeat:

“Still the rain kept pourin’, fallin’ on my ears…And I wonder, still I wonder…who’ll stop the rain?”

This information was released yesterday (conveniently slipped in at the same time as the announcement of the European delay. Well, actually the two stories do go hand in hand.)

Not only is the PS3 delayed in Europe, but they aren’t going to have a million systems available in the U.S. anymore as they originally forecasted. They’re not even going to have half of that. In the same news story regarding European delays from, 1up News reported that there will be 400,000 systems available for the PS3 at launch. And 100,000 available in Japan.

This clearly represents a production issue and, as I stated yesterday, this may be one console launch that many will want to avoid. For several reasons.

First, Microsoft’s press releases are correct — Blu-Ray drives and Cell Processors are indeed currently “unproven technology”. (Those are also potentially cutting-edge technologies, but I digress.) The important point to consumers is the fact that you’ll be buying from the first batch of machines produced in a production run of only 500,000 units. I consider the first folks as a beta test group of sorts. Mark my words — and I know I’m being “Captain Obvious” here, — but with a production run this small, there are bound to be some sort of problems discovered. There seem to be too many balls in the air. Considering the fact that developers just received final development units, I’m sure not a lot of testing went on. There simply wasn’t enough time. Bottom line, if you’re not among the 400,000 to get a system in the U.S., you might consider yourself lucky and simply wait to see what happens. $600 is a lot of money.

On another note, I spoke a few months ago about PS3 shortages possibly leading to theft, robberies and other fun stuff happening at launch sites. This fact is multiplied by a factor of ten now. Somehow I see the scene of years ago where (for the kids that are old enough to respond) Cabbage Patch Kids were thrown from behind store counters into crowds of people. And while we probably won’t have something quite that bad (and God forbid it), but there’s a huge possibility that we’ll need high level security at Best Buy and Frey’s Electronics locations all around the country.

This may be the first console launch in over ten years where I don’t have a system within the first month (and usually on the first day). With Gears of War launching around the same time for the Xbox 360, I’ll probably find myself content with that. Probably. Launch time brings out a special spirit in the air. We’ll see what happens. But if you, like myself, are probably not among the first to get a system, consider yourself somewhat lucky.

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