Staff at the popular Yodobashi Camera in Tokyo’s Akihabara district had to call the police on Friday after a first-come-first-serve PlayStation 5 sale descended into chaos.
Dave Gibson, a lead developer at Creatures Inc, was at the store and published videos of the scene on Twitter. A number of other users also shared photos and videos of crowds defying Covid-19 protocols in an attempt to snag a console.
As reported by Kotaku, things went haywire when a store clerk started handing out numbered tickets to customers. There were only 300 tickets to hand out, but the number of customers far exceeded that amount. Such was the chaos that clerks had to fall back, cash registers were left unattended, police was called, and the sale was cancelled.
“They cancelled the sale due to people being insane!” Gibson tweeted. “Pushed so hard even the cash registers and staff went backwards. I’ve never seen that kind of insanity in Japan before…”
Oh my God!!!! ヨドバシps5 pic.twitter.com/v2ilIadbFk
— Dave Gibson ⠿ POKEMON (@AJapaneseDream) January 30, 2021
There are concerns that this will end up becoming a super spreader event in a city that is already under a state of emergency due to a resurgence in cases of Covid-19 infections. So far, most Japanese retailers have been utilizing an online lottery system to sell PS5s to circumvent crowds and scalpers. It’s unclear what prompted Yodobashi Camera to sell the consoles via a first-come-first-serve ticket system.
The PS5 remains in shortage worldwide, and supply constraints are expected to continue into the second half of 2021.