Violence broke out around the nation as crowds scrambled for the new Sony PlayStation 3 which has been released in limited quantities; a Massachusetts man was shot while waiting in line to buy one:

At 3:15 a.m., two armed robbers shot Michael Penkala, 21, of Webster, Mass., outside a Wal-Mart store in Putnam, Conn., as he waited in line to be one of the first to own the machine, the state police said. The robbers approached Mr. Penkala — along with 15 to 20 other shoppers — and demanded money. Mr. Penkala resisted, and one of the assailants unloaded a shotgun blast into his chest and shoulder, the authorities said

[snip]The robbers in Putnam were apparently taking advantage of a captive group likely to be carrying cash, as lines formed across Connecticut — and the country — outside stores in anticipation of the widely hyped release of the PlayStation. Sony, the market leader in video consoles, is selling the new model for $499 or $599, depending on the size of the hard drive.

The Associated Press reported several other robberies and attempted robberies around the country including in Sullivan, Ind., Allentown, Pa., and Englewood, Ohio.

In McLean, Va., the police fired pepper pellets to subdue a rowdy crowd of about 200 people outside a Circuit City store at Tysons Corner Center mall. One person complained of shortness of breath after the pellets were fired and was taken to the hospital, the authorities said.

Meanwhile, the Nintendo Wii launch has been a time of peace, love and understanding.

In sharp contrast to the PS3 launch yesterday, the Wii launch is going very smoothly so far. Lines started forming today all over the country and reports are coming in of 20-80 people deep. Everyone seems to be in good spirits and no one’s gotten mugged yet that I know of. The Wii seems to be pulling more people in a short amount of time as opposed to the PS3’s short lines and protracted camp outs. About 80-90% of the line waiters interviewed said they would be keeping their Wii’s or were buying them for presents rather than selling them on eBay for a profit.

So which strategy will win? The “Supplies are limited” scam, or the “actually in high demand” plan?


  1. I agree, it’s not a “scam” per say, I’m sure that was just word play from Heidi – no harm, no foul.

    What Sony did was something we see in the direct comic market. They basically solicitied the comic book before it was done. Then the shipping date comes around and sure enough they don’t have it all as promised. Okay, it doesn’t really work as an analogy, but you catch my drift. Sony didn’t want to wait another 4 to 6 months to really have all the units they promised. Folks in Europe are on that backburner schedule now, they won’t see the PS3 until March. But Sony didn’t want to lose two Holiday seasons in a row to XBox.

    This release was like a “zeo” issue, or a convention “ash can”. Not everyone will get a copy…. but they can officially announced they “launched” it. A bit like screening a movie on 20 screens just to qualify for the Academy Awards the next year.

    Nintendo is no threat to Sony’s marketshare. Even if Wii meets their entire install base they’re still long from Sony’s base of some 75 to 80+ million units world wide (and over 100 million PS2s shipped). That’s like Mouse Guard selling out – yet not even breaking the top 100 sales charts, while Marvel/DC’s second string books makes that easily.

    So, it’s not a matter of which scenario will win. Sony, is still on top for this generation in regard to marketshare. However, they may have dented the goodwill of the not-so-rich/lucky gamers. And no, I’m not shillin’ for PS3… I’m just stating the opinion. I’m not getting one.

    Unless I have money to burn. Anyone have a winning lottery ticket I can borrow?

  2. Jimmie: I don’t think the WPinterface allows editing of comments except by an administrator.

    >>>Nintendo is no threat to Sony’s marketshare.

    Hm some people in the video gaming industry would disagree with you on that. I’ve heard several “doomsday” senarios involving the PS3, but to be honest I don’t follow the gaming industry closely enough to know the truth of it.

  3. PS3/360/Wii is a new generation, the install base of the PS2 has no bearing on this generation’s relative market share.

  4. I’m traditionally a Sony brand loyalist, but want no part of the PS3. The Blu-Ray/HD-DVD fight means the PS3 could be a big Betamax machine. It’s insanely expensive and doesn’t really have any notable games at launch.

    I mean, you can get a Wii AND 360 for the cost of a PS3.

  5. I’ve been hearing, via my son who’s been keeping track of these things, that the supposed backwards-compatability of the PS3 only happens when add-on gadgets are purchased for the machine — so in addition to spending $600 for the base unit, you get to shell out even more bucks to play your older PS2 and Playstation games.

    I could be wrong about this and would love to hear a correction.

    At any rate, I think Sony screwed the pooch on this one. XBox 360 already has a long head-start, and Wii seems to be pleasing more customers. The upside is that soon we’ll get to watch some corporate heads rolling.

  6. I got one! I haven’t owned a video game console in probably 10 years. I was lucky enough to have been in the right place at the right time to get a pre-order with EB Games. I tried to get another one for my brother, but it was impossible.

    Scott’s wrong. There was only about 200 of the 3000 games that had some backwards compatibility issues, many of which were fixed by launch day in a software patch. You can download patches for your system for free, and they expect to have most games compatibility fixed (unlike the 360).

    As for the PS3 becoming a betamax player, I disagree. All of the games are on Blu-Ray Discs, which allows the developers the ability to squeeze 25-50GB of data into a game. Also, there are rumors floating around that the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray fight will be over in no time, with studios being able to manufacture discs that can play both formats (one format on each side, I presume). You also can’t buy a Blu-Ray player for anything less than $1000, so this is your cheapest option to buy one.

    You can also surf the net, play music, look at pictures, watch videos, and more. There’s a lot there for that $600, it’s really a lot more than just games.

    No, I’m not selling mine.

    Already opened it and got addicted over the weekend. The graphics are drop dead gorgeous, and I actually like the launch lineup. I know it could be better, but it’s good enough for now. I bought Ridge Racer 7, Resistance: Fall of Man, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and Madden 2007. They’re all great, but so far Resistance and Ridge Racer have me hooked. And it comes with Talladega Nights on Blu-Ray!

  7. Unsurprisingly, the focus seems to be on the availability of a stupid video game machine instead of the poor guy who was shot.

    oh what a wonderful world….

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