PSP Launch Could Be a Disaster

As Japanese gamers prepare to line up in the cold for PSP, demand hugely outweighs supply.

Japan can get awfully cold in the wintertime, which is not good news for the thousands of Japanese gamers faced with the prospect of queuing overnight to pick up Sony's new handheld console.

Akihabara could see a flood of disappointed gamers

The PSP officially goes on sale in Japan on 12 December, and several retailers have said that they will not be taking pre-orders at all for the much-in-demand portable. Other stores that had earlier taken pre-orders have reported that they won't be taking any more pre-orders either.

Sony is indirectly causing this anguish to the Japanese by its reluctance to nail down specifics for the upcoming PSP launch. At issue is the precise number of PSPs stores can expect to receive, and this is making retailers hesitant to promise more than they can deliver.

Sony recently said that it will have around 200,000 PSPs ready to go on launch day and that it would ramp up production to hit half a million units by the end of the year.

What is clear however is that supply is far outstripped by demand. Look for obscenely priced PSPs to hit online auction sites during the day on 12 December.

This is not a new situation, though. While recent hardware launches have gone relatively smoothly in Japan, long queues surrounded the launch of Sony's current hardware, the PlayStation 2, back in 1999.

Meanwhile, North Americans and Europeans can do little but watch on in jealous silence. Sony has yet to lay out launch plans for either territory, though that should change soon.

Alex Wollenschlaeger
Editor, Kikizo Games

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