Sony's PlayStation 3 isn't living up to the hype — at least on Japan's internet auctions.
The gaming consoles, which went on sale there on Saturday, are fetching reasonable prices online, disappointing those who had hoped to make a quick profit by reselling the machines on the internet.
Some of the 4,000 PlayStation 3 consoles listed on Yahoo Japan's auction site were downright bargains. Even systems with games included were going for about 60,000 yen(about $579 Cdn.) for the most expensive model and 50,000 yen(about $482 Cdn.) for the cheaper one. That's less than Sony's suggested retail prices for the console alone in North America.
In North America, where the PS3 goes on sale Friday, bidders on eBay have pushed up the price of PS3 preorders to $2,025 US as of Wednesday, with some auctioneers offering the premium console for as much as $3,000 U.S.
The PlayStation 3 is facing off in a next-generation console war against Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s graphically less-intensive Wii and Microsoft Corp.'s high-definition rival Xbox 360. The Wii debuts on Sunday in North America, while the Xbox launched late last year.
Yahoo Japan spokesman Nobumitsu Iwaisaki said some PlayStation 3 bids were as high as 2.1 billion yen ($20.2 million Cdn.), but those turned out to be pranks.
Sony Computer Entertainment spokesman Daisuke Nakata declined to comment on the auctions, saying the deals were unrelated to Sony's operations.
Hundreds of hard-core game fans had lined up at electronics stores, many from Friday night, to make sure they got one.
But some were clearly not buying it to play — including those who marched immediately to a waiting van with the machines — says Hirokazu Hamamura, president of Japanese game magazine publisher Enterbrain Inc.
"The net auction is so popular these days, that's inevitable," he said. "There's even talk some are taking the machines overseas."
Although Sony had promised 100,000 PS3 machines in Japan on the first day, the count was more like 90,000, and the entire shipment virtually sold out, Hamamura said.
Sony has promised 400,000 machines for the North American launch.
A survey by Enterbrain of 3,500 game stores across Japan showed that 88,400 PS3 machines were sold in the first two days.
Sony Corp. has promised one million PS3 machines in Japan by the end of the year, and an additional million in the U.S., targeting a global shipment of six million by March 2007.