I’ll just come right out and say it: I was scared to preorder a next-gen console. I worried about wide-scale hardware failures, and despite the thousands of comments on the Internet predicting doom, it didn’t happen. So I began my search for a PlayStation 4 on launch day, and this is how it has played out so far.
Note: I live in Fresno, Calif. It has a little over 500,000 people, which makes it the 34th largest city in the U.S. It isn’t a big city, and it isn’t a small town. My experiences in stores are obviously not indicative of all retailers. This stock tracker is pretty convenient for checking websites. It updates every minute and can send alerts to your phone or email address.
All of the local stores had sold out of PS4s weeks before the release date. I learned from some forum that GameStop can release unclaimed preordered products 48 hours after release, so I checked again on Sunday, but I had no luck.
The PS4 console section of the GameStop website had pretty much been shut down up until recently. It now lists refurbished bundles on its website, which come with refurbished PS4s, a year of PlayStation Plus, an extra controller, and different games (one even comes with a Vita). The prices are between $600 and $700.
My friend asked an employee if GameStop had any and was offered one at “$700-something.” Not sure if this was a bundle or if the guy was just offering his PS4 in a back-alley deal.
The rumors were that PS4s would be “in good supply” by Christmas, but I have not seen anything concrete yet. I heard GameStop had a few for Black Friday, but I wasn’t about camp out on Thanksgiving night. GameStop also claimed shortly after the launch that it still had over 2 million people on the wishlist for a PS4.
I went to Target at around 10:30 a.m. on the PS4′s launch day, but just missed the last system. The website doesn’t offer any, but it does enable you to check your local store’s stock. A couple weeks ago, a second PS4 console entry was put up on the site and indicated that a few of my local Targets had them. I checked each, even that Target — you know the one, on the bad side of town where teenage mothers are giving birth in the parking lot and the store itself is slowly changing into a Walmart.
I met a shady electronics employee there and had this conversation:
Me: Do you have any PS4s for sale? I saw on the website. …
Him: Sunday. …
Then he just wandered off and started fiddling with the cellphones. He had a red shirt and a name tag, so I am 90 percent sure I wasn’t just talking to some weird guy.
As you might expect, there weren’t any PS4s on Sunday, or any day, for that matter. Target is one of the retailers that kept PS4s in the back due to the Black Friday ads printed with “PS4 $399.99″ on them. Target’s website is the best among the major retailers because it enables you to constantly check the stock of your local stores (but I am not sure how accurate it is). There is also a bundle listed that comes with an additional controller, but this is not available online or in-store. Rumors suggest that Target will receive a second shipment of PS4s sometime in mid-December.
My local Walmarts do not even have a section for the PS4. All of its PS4s were designated for preorder or reserved for Black Friday. Google was showing Walmart as the only local retailer that had them, but I assume these were just being kept for Black Friday as employees told me “no” when I called to check.
The website offers free shipping and guarantees that you will receive your PS4 by Christmas Eve, but it does not currently have any.
It seems like Amazon is backing off from selling PS4s. A number of people reported shipping errors and broken consoles, which led to a classic finger-pointing between Amazon and Sony. It does have a few available for purchase through third-party sellers, but I wouldn’t bother. They are all $700-plus, and I wouldn’t risk a PS4 that has been handled by both retailers and consumers and will have gone through several shipping processes before getting to you. I have not seen any rumors as to if/when Amazon will have more PS4s.
I went in to Best Buy on Black Friday and only found those awful display boxes. Like, who thought of those? Lets give hundreds of people hope for no reason at all with all of these stupid display boxes. I spoke to an employee who told me that they expected another shipment during the week of Dec. 17.
The website enables you to add the PS4 to your wishlist, but it doesn’t offer a local store stock tracker or any online orders.
The PS4 section terrifies me. It has thousands of PS4 listings, and some of them seem to be at decent prices ($450-$500). I just worry that I would open my new PS4′s box and be bitten by a cobra or something. I don’t trust it at all.
Google told me that Overstock.com had some PS4s available. When I went to the website, it said that it expected more PS4s on Dec. 2. I checked, and it was still out. I added the PS4 to my wishlist.
Sears lists two custom bundles, but both are out of stock. The website has a feature that will search for a PS4 within 50 miles of your zip code.
Toys ‘R’ Us
Apparently, Toys ‘R’ Us also “restocked” PS4s for Black Friday. I think it is way more likely it just held over some of the initial stock. If you go to its website and navigate to the console part of the PS4 section, it just kind of explodes into white light. I think I got it to load once, but it just told me no. I tried calling my local store a few times, but it wouldn’t answer. Maybe there never was a Toys ‘R’ Us?
The website offers a bundle with PlayStation Plus and an extra controller but is sold out. The employees looked at me like I was crazy and then tried to sell me a Xbox 360 bundle.
Don’t do it. GameSpot is reporting that a man was murdered during a PS4 sale, and there are multiple reports of PS4 boxes containing towels. This could be a myth, as the reports conflict as to where/when/the gender of the victim. But the reports do allow me to post this:
Basically, we are all screwed. More shipments may come, but they may not. We should have preordered and had some faith.
I am a little peeved at Sony. It’s pretty ridiculous that the supply was so low with demand so high. I don’t really understand economics, but it seems to me that the whole point of a console release is to sell consoles and make money. So why didn’t the company have more?
Yes, Sony broke records in the U.S. and the U.K. Yes, I have seen the report that indicates it costs about $340 to make a PS4. But why not cut back on marketing, launch sales, and so on, and make a few more consoles? I highly doubt that people needed that “Oh, it’s such a perfect day” commercial to want the console. Once the specs, reviews, and screenshots came out, the demand was there. So maybe fewer commercials, more manufacturing next time? Or just recycle the Michael commercial. It uses characters from franchises that are still kicking. Do you remember that one? “Omaha! Pinned down on that God-forsaken beach. …”
Oh hell, here it is:
Originally posted to Corrupted Cartridge