If you leafed through the ad circulars in your Sunday paper, you probably saw big ads for the new PS3 being run by the big box electronics stores. They were pretty funny.
What's so funny, you ask? Remember, Sony admitted in September that they would only have 2 million PS3 units total for Japan and the U.S. before the end of 2006. And that they would only have 400,000 PS3's in the U.S. for launch. So let's do some quick math.
There are roughly 750 Best Buy stores, 630 Circuit City stores, and depending on what you believe from Wikipedia, somewhere between 2,200 and 3,300 Wal-Marts. If these three retailers were the only people selling the PS3, that means that each store would have (on average) between 85 and 111 PS3 units on hand when it goes on sale this week. And even if somehow Sony actually hit its 2 million target (which they've already admitted they might not), and gave none of these consoles to Japan, American retailers could expect, at most another 555 units to come in between now and New Year's Day.
The reality, of course, is that most stores will get nowhere near that many units to sell because there are lots of other electronics and game retailers who will get stock and Japan will suck up a good bit of the available supply. So the average retailer is likely to have many, many fewer than 500 units to sell for the rest of the year.
And if you want a clue as to how low that number could be, the fine print in the Circuit City circular promised that each store would have a minimum of 15 PS3s at launch.
Meanwhile, the PS3 has already launched in Japan, where the full supply of 80,000 units sold out in a couple of hours. Many of these were speculators who are re-selling the PS3 for up to 4x sticker price. For the most depressing stat, see Last Boss, which notes how few games were actually bought.
Update: Galley Brother B.J. suggests that since the total number of games sold in Japan seems to be less than the total number of PS3s sold, either: (a) The PS3 is so expensive that consumers can't afford to own both the system and games, or (b) Many of the PS3s were bought not by consumers, but by speculators.
If the answer is (b), isn't this how bubbles are blown?
Update: Forget all of that math up top. Reports are now that Sony will have closer to 750,000 units in the U.S. total beforee the end of the year.
And this site lets you check inventories in your area. Around me, most Best Buys are claiming that they'll have between 26 and 60 unites; Wal-Marts 10-25; EB Games/Game Stop 5-20; Targets will have between 5 and 15 units.
3 hours ago