Launch-Day PS4 Stock Readily Available in Japan
Today, Japanese game shops began selling the PlayStation 4. While you’ve probably seen lots of pictures of long lines and a big launch event, it turns out that there is plenty of stock still available to walk-ins. The above picture, for example, shows a “sold out” sign over the camera-bundled First Limited Pack, but there were still some consoles in this store. I arrived as the stores were opening, but found no one lined up to wait outside. (No stores anywhere in this area did midnight launches or special events; you had to wait for regular opening hours.) This may be a case of the internet seeing Tokyo as representing all of Japan. Such is not always accurate.
Most shops had PS4s available on the shelves today, including major nationwide retailers and mom-and-pop independent game stores alike. I did find one store that was completely sold out of the PlayStation 4, but it turned out that the place only ordered a couple above its own pre-order numbers. Recent lukewarm launches of PSVita (December 2011) and Wii-U (December 2012) has made some shops a little bit gun shy about buying too many of a new console. Both of the aforementioned systems had respectable debut weeks, but interest fizzled out soon thereafter, leaving stores with uncomfortably high amounts of leftover stock. Even the 3DS, now a hot seller, spent its first six months struggling to move units. Retailers are wanting to be very careful and test the waters.
It was also eerily quiet around game shops on Wii-U launch day. The difference between today and that day, however, is that we did actually spot some shoppers leaving stores with PS4s in hand.
Contacts in Akihabara (district of Tokyo known for being a general nerd magnet) confirm that most stores have some PS4 stock available. The above picture features some sweet red and blue DualShock 4 controllers.
These reports come despite the well-published information that Amazon, Rakuten, and other retailers both online and brick-and-mortar, were selling out of pre-orders just about as fast as they could confirm their availability. Perhaps this all means that Sony got the shipment amount to almost exactly match the demand? We’ll have to wait and see.
I think it’s quite safe to say that the PlayStation 4 will have a great opening week. I’ve seen some gamer comments which expect this to outdo the PlayStation 2′s miraculous performance of 980,000 in two days, but I have to disagree with such predictions. Still, you don’t necessarily need PS2 numbers to be successful. I think PS4 will sell very well, but not hit that crazy-high PS2 figure. (But between you and me, I’d love to be wrong!)