Ready or Not, Pre-Christmas Electronics Releases Approaching Launch

by: Yankee Group

By Carl Howe

Kokatu has pictures and notes from the Sony (NYSE:SNE) Playstation 3 launch in Japan. While Japan only got about 80,000 units, their availability per store has been quite good, apparently. One store in Osaka claimed to have gotten an allocation of 600 PS3s, and the claim is that that wasn't terribly unusual. Of course, they probably could have had 6,000, and it wouldn't have mattered; they still would have been sold out before the day ended.

A trio of PS3s

For anyone considering lining up now for this Friday's PS3 launch here in the US, where about 400,000 units will be available, forget it. While about 20 people had been lined up for about four days already at the Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) in Burbank, CA, Kokatu documents that Best Buy dispersed them today, and won't allow anyone to line up prior to the day before launch. In truth, that actually makes a lot of sense. Having customers sleeping in your parking lot for a couple weeks just to buy a product probably presents liability concerns that most corporate lawyers would be uncomfortable with. A far better marketing plan is to have a rigorous and fair pre-order process and let people stay home.

For anyone interested, the PS3 launch isn't the only one coming up this week. Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Zune music player goes on sale on Tuesday, November 14. I don't expect to see people sleeping in parking lots for that launch because Microsoft's marketing program took all the excitement out of the actual release. But hey, it's their money.

And let's not forget that there's one more game system launching soon: Nintendo's (OTCPK:NTDOY) Wii will launch Sunday, November 19, and it has a lot of potential to be one of the best selling game platforms this Christmas. There's no word from Best Buy about whether they'll let people who camp out the night before the Playstation launch keep their campsites until Sunday.

Nintendo's soon-to-be-released Wii