On Friday at 8 p.m. in Tokyo, gamers were already lined up to buy the PS3, which wasn’t to go on sale until 7 a.m. the next morning. There were two distinct lines of people who intended to get their hands on a system: one in Ikebukuro in front of Bic Camera in the gadget district Akihabara made up of around 250 people, and one in front of Asobit City Games, consisting of less than 100. (See photo below from Tokyo.)
Japan is expected to get around 80,000 units total on day one, so quantities will be initially tight in Japan, as with the rest of the world. Most major retailers will have 100 to 150 PS3s to sell, while smaller stores will get a paltry two to five units.
Although there is certainly great anticipation for the system, there is a low-key air about the launch. It’s almost as if many Japanese consumers were dissuaded to line up because of the well-known shortages that are anticipated. Nevertheless, the system is likely to sell out in the first hour or so.
Amidst complaints from gamers, some stores in Akihabara have decided to sell the few PS3 through lottery drawings--if chosen by number, customers win the right to buy a console.
As for software, the latest polls from ITmedia indicate that 30 percent of the people who are going to buy a PS3 will go for Ridge Racer 7, 25 percent for Resistance: Fall of Man (a good figure for a country known for being relatively anti-FPS) and 24 percent for the new Gundam title. Genji: Days of the Blade recevied only 5 percent of peoples' attention bringing up the tail-end of the poll.
The PS3 is set to launch in North America with around 400,000 units on November 17.