The Playstation 2 launches with a bang.
Sony's entry in the 128-bit system, the Playstation 2, launched yesterday with robust sales numbers and few significant setbacks. The console carries an MSRP of U.S.$299. Because of the much-publicized shortage of units nationwide (only 500,000 consoles were available in the United States), most retailers were sold out soon after the black box was made available. Some of the larger retail stores reported a turnout of more than 300 people to try to stake out their piece of of the most hyped videogame console launch of all time. The sight of diehard gamers camping out at electronics retailers since early Wednesday morning was commonplace, and to try to quench gamers' thirst for the system, many shops opened doors at midnight to make the console available to players as quickly as possible. Sony counted down to the launch of its latest system, and when the countdown finally notched straight zeroes, the feeding frenzy began.
"Just as the PlayStation game console appealed to a mass-market audience, driving the growth of the interactive entertainment category to unprecedented levels, the PlayStation 2 will create a new market for the next level of entertainment experience in the home," stated president and COO for SCEA, Kaz Hirai. Kiraz went on to say, "The incredible success of the PlayStation 2 launch will firmly establish Sony Computer Entertainment America as the driving force behind computer entertainment."
Also a huge success story was the PlayStation 2 software released for the console at launch. Several titles for Sony's new system were released up to a week early, spiking sales for third parties as demand for their games was elevated by the PlayStation 2 firestorm. According to PC Data's list of the top ten selling videogames, Madden NFL 2001 was fifth, and Namco's Tekken Tag Tournament found itself eighth. During the week, Playstation 2's software has comprised an eleven percent market share.
"Retail outlets reported today that they were sold out of PS2 consoles by 9am this morning," commented Matt Gravett, game analyst for PC Data. He added, "It's a definite measure of the hysteria around the PS2 that people are willing to buy software with no guarantee that they'll have hardware to play it. They're all revved up with no place to go."
Playstation 2 fever runs rampant across the country, as Amazon.com sold out all three Playstation 2 bundles in their stock in minutes. Sony has predicted that 100,000 units will ship a week through Christmas, totaling 1.3 million total through the holidays. Despite the optimistic shipping projections from Sony, their PlayStation 2 is still a scarcity. The system is expected to be difficult to find for the next several weeks, as the demand for the system has raced past supply.
10/27/2000 Bryan Keers