Monday, November 13, 2006

Three gamers are game to wait for Sony's new PlayStation, in short supply

Video game enthusiast Zach Strankowski understands the principle of supply and demand. That's why he and two friends have been sleeping outside an Escondido Circuit City store since Tuesday, waiting for Sony's new PlayStation 3 game system, which won't go on sale until Friday.

“We could either pay three grand on eBay, or camp out here for 10 days,” said Strankowski, 22.

The economics are simple. Sony built a loyal base of 30 million PlayStation 2 owners in America. When the PS3 launches Friday, there will be fewer than 400,000 of the new game systems on store shelves.

The PS3 is the latest of “next-generation” video game systems. It follows the Microsoft Xbox 360, which was released a year ago. The Nintendo Wii will be available Nov. 19.

Sony's new system will be the most technologically advanced of the three and, at $600, the most expensive. The 360 costs $399 and the Wii $250.

Sony will not disclose the total cost of creating the PlayStation 3, which has been in development for six years. But analysts say the sum reaches into the billions of dollars.

Sony has revealed that it spent $2 billion on one major component alone, the high-speed Cell microprocessor, co-developed with IBM and Toshiba.

The system also features Sony's BluRay high-definition video player, capable of producing movies on some HDTVs with more than twice the detail of today's DVDs. Problems with BluRay's development delayed production of the PS3 and led to the current shortage.

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