If you listen to reports on the PlayStation 3 launch in the major media and on other websites you get a grisly picture: people are getting robbed and shot at, are rioting inside Wal-Marts, and of course each store is only getting a few systems. That means many who have camped out for days have gotten some very bad news. Some campers managed to come away with systems. One Best Buy in the Chicago area handed out tickets to the first 125 people in line and sent everyone else home.
In my little corner of the world, the launch went smoothly. I called the store where I had my preorder to see what time they'd be opening this morning, drove there at 7:30am and picked up my system when they opened at 8:00. I was the only one there; I spoke with the manager for a few moments before a scary-looking gentleman walked in, eyeballed my system on the counter, glowered, and then left. It was disconcerting, to say the least. I decided enough was enough, put the system in my trunk, and drove home to set it up for some nice Opposable Thumbs coverage today. I had some fear about getting robbed with the unit in my car, I felt like everyone could somehow know that I had one of the systems everyone was talking about on the radio.
After today the buzz should die down. Getting your hands on a system is going to be a very tricky thing before the holidays, with no real hint as to when PS3 supplies are going to become more plentiful. Right now the lines are dissolving as a few lucky players get their system and most other people are walking away disappointed; others are going from store to store in the futile hope of bumping into a system to buy.
Me? I was one of the lucky ones, first in line when EBGameStop took preorders. I faced no lines this morning and now I’m setting up my console. My experience is far from the normal one though. When demand outstrips supply by this much, you're going to have a lot of upset people, and an ugly situation for retailers for the next few weeks.
Sony isn't serving anyone well with this launch. There aren't nearly enough units to go around—no surprise given recent news. Most gamers are going to have to sit tight until the supply constraints are gone. Right now though? A few lucky gamers like me are setting up accounts and hoping the system is worth all the insanity.
How did the launch go in your neck of the woods? Let us know in the discussion thread.