Is the PS3 a sales dud?

Written by Wil Harris

February 21, 2007 | 11:33

Tags: #3 #jack #pre-orders #ps3 #tretton

Companies: #sony

There's lots of rumours and speculation about whether or not the PS3 is a complete sales flop over here in the UK, following increasing worries about stock levels in the US.

Last week, American Sony bod Jack Tretton responded to queries about the lack of PS3 sales by suggesting that he'd pay a 3x premium on the price of any console that could be found sitting on a shelf. In a fit of hilarity, Penny-Arcade went out and found multiple consoles just in their street, declaring themselves thousands of dollars richer. So it seems that the PS3 isn't exactly selling like hotcakes in the US, now that the pre-order honeymoon is over.

And it seems like even the pre-orders may not be taking off over here, with multiple reports of stock, well, not selling. Last week, Play.com put up pre-orders for the PS3 and said that it would take the item off sale once all its pre-order allocation was gone. That was a week ago, and there are still consoles for sale. Ditto Amazon, where you can still buy the console this morning, despite a week's worth of pre-orders. The full amusingness of the tale has been told over at UK Resistance, where they have a list of gaming items hilariously outselling the PS3.

In a bid to contradict these reports, Eurogamer went and talked to a couple of retailers, who claimed that the PS3 was selling well. Of course, the quotes they had weren't exactly convincing. Woolworths said that it was the best selling console it had seen on its website (because, obviously, gamers all buy from Woolworths, and its awesome website) and Argos said it was the most successful pre-order campaign it had run so far (since, clearly, gamers all pre-order from Argos).

Tellingly, neither said that they'd sold out of consoles, and you can still buy bundles from Woolworths for not-so-bargainous prices. So either Sony has fixed all its manufacturing issues overnight and the PS3 is now incredibly easy to produce, as opposed to two months ago when it was a nightmare, or the tiny little numbers Sony is producing are not even managing to sell. Take your pick.

As a contrast, stocks of the Nintendo Wii are still difficult to get, despite the console's release before Christmas, and the fact that millions of consoles have already been sold. Nintendo's problem is supply, not demand. Sony's problem, it seems, is demand. Of course, lots of people would be happy to have a PS3, we're sure. But at five hundred pounds? It doesn't look like a great deal, especially when other territories - such as Japan - are paying as little as 60% of that in their own currency.

Let us know your thoughts on the issue over in the forums.
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