Last Friday it was finally upon us. Well, some of us lucky earth-dwellers, anyway. The Playstation 3 launched in Japan and North America. You can bet Sony have been holding their breath these past few weeks, having courted trouble ever since their next-generation console was announced. If people weren't debating over the controversial blu-ray drive, it was the larger than life price tag. And with the competition – Xbox 360 – having settled into the gaming market a year ago, a successful launch had never been more important.
News from Japan's launch was been fairly positive despite being hampered by hardware shortages due to production problems. At Bic Camera's Tokyo flagship store more than 1,000 customers queued up for launch, with staff and police having to keep control. In two days alone, a massive 88,400 units were sold across Japan. Howeve, shortly afterwards Sony admitted that PS3 was not fully compatible with Playstation and Playstation 2 games, with approximately 200 titles affected (bear in mind the Playstation 2 was not fully backwards compatible, and wasn't exactly held back)
Shortages were the way in the US too. Sony recently announced to retailers like gamestop.com that stores would only get between 200,000 - 250,000 units rather than the 400,000 they were promised for launch day. Not that it put off any eager PS3 fans. Reports were circulating of people getting shot at and hurt by BB pellets whilst waiting in line, and some people were queuing for up to nine days prior to release. That's a fair bit of competition for those precious units. Still, if all this sounds rather grim, spare a thought for the population of Taiwan. Despite a population of 22 million people, a mere 500 consoles will be headed their way this month. All that's left for us Europeans to do now is sit and wait for the reviews to stream forth so we know exactly what to expect when the console hits our shores in March 2007. It hasn't exactly been an easy ride for Sony, but fingers crossed that they won't let us down - they certainly didn't with PS2.