When the first reports of PlayStation3 units sitting on store shelves surfaced, I ignored them. They originated on forums and blogs with little or no credibility and it was impossible to substantiate them. Now, however, at least some reports appear to be true.
There are still plenty of fake stories out there, as we shall see below, but consider the following reports by reputable media.
PS3 available on BestBuy.com ... still
One of our sources says, "It would appear that nobody is really buying them. As of today, my store only had somewhere around 12 units left, but other stores were in the 30s."
PlayStation 3 -- a Bust or a Boon for Sony?
Blogs, recently filled with stories of gamers on the hunt for PS3s, are now littered with accounts of stockpiles of the machines uncovered at major retailers. Even scalpers have returned machines they picked up before the holidays to sell on Web sites like eBay but failed to unload.
One slightly frustrated wife of a wannabe PS3 scalper who didn't want to be identified said her basement was cluttered with several units they hoped to return after the demand for the machines took a post-holiday nose dive on eBay.
Plenty O PS3s But No Takers
I can tell you is that the Best Buy near my house had 31 Playstation 3s sitting in a lovely wall o' consoles this morning when I swung by the store. Many, if not all of them, were the 60GB model. (...)
I can't help but wonder if this seeming lack of interest in the PS3 at Best Buys is because of a general post-holiday buying drought or something more about the system itself. It certainly doesn't look good, especially when coupled with the details were reported on last week about the PS3's grey market.
Those PS3s Sales Look Sluggish In Japan!
Well, the PLAYSTATION 3 is selling. And we'd be bullshitting you if we said it wasn't. Thing is, the PS3 ain't exactly flying off the shelf. Sony hit Japan with a huge year-end shipment (one of the biggest since launch apparently). The Wii was nowhere to be seen and sold out at multiple location. And the PS3? Both 20GB and 60GB units remained unsold.
At the same time, there are plenty of unsubstantiated reports by individual gamers. On blogsites like Korexz, video and photographic evidence is being passed around:
Digg users are linking to in-store snapshots of piles of unsold PS3 consoles, like this one:
On some, desperate notices are attached that make me question their authenticity. Which store would attach flimsy, hand-written notices to inventory, pretty much begging the customers to buy stock?
A similar picture was published on Tejan´s blog under the heading ´PS3 Sucks´.
Unfortunately, Joystiq reprinted the above without considering the possibility of it being a fanboy fake (adding an ´allegedly´ does not cut it here, I am afraid).
So we need to activate our bullshit sensors when coming across apparent proof of consoles sitting on store shelves. There are plenty of fake images above to prove that point. However, articles by the likes of ABC News and Kotaku prove that not all PS3 consoles are selling through immediately, as seems to be the case with Wii in the US and Japan.
Alongside these reports, the console continues to get more bad press with Kotaku quoting a GamePro article in which Hideo Kojima says he is not interested in HD at all and the additional storage capacity of Blu-ray discs does not get him all uppity either.
Ultimately, I blame the PS3´s software library for the shortfall in demand. Apart from ´Resistance: Fall of Man´, there appear to be no must-have titles on store shelves. What is more, coming titles like ´Motorstorm´ have had their own share of bad press recently. This is not to mention the ongoing Killzone 2 controversy.
Incidentally, the retail situation in Germany is a different story. Wii units appear to be readily available in larger outlets located in major cities. They are being sold, according to the sales clerks. But you do get to see the odd stack of Wii boxes.