PS3 and Nintendo Wii Launch Kicks Off Holiday Season
November 16, 2006 7:44 PM
This weekend, both the Sony Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii will launch, giving consumers two new choices in the game console market for the holidays.
About 750 people lined up outside the Metreon’s Sony Playstation Store, for the chance to be among the first in the country to buy a PS3 at midnight Thursday night.
SF State junior Preston Lee was the first to line up, with a group of friends at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Lee, 20, an SF State business student, missed two classes on Wednesday to stand in line for the almost $600 console.
“It was on a whim that we came down here,” said Lee, who checked out the place, with his friends, at 4 a.m. Wednesday. When they saw no one in line, they bought a tent and stocked up on supplies before camping out in front of the building.
The PS3 console comes with Internet capabilities and a Blu-ray Disc drive. It will also have an online store, accessible from the console, which will allow users to download free demos, as well as buy new games.
Sony is launching the console in two versions with two prices. The 20 GB version will cost $499, and the 60 GB, which comes with WiFi and extra slots for photo memory cards, will sell for $599.
Lee and his friends said they intended to buy the 60 GB hard drive version of the console because they want to get their “money’s worth.”
While the console comes loaded with extras, and plenty of horsepower, experts expect that it will not outsell the Nintendo Wii because of the limited number of units being launched.
“I’m not confident they’ll have enough out to be number one,” said Kevin Pereira, host of G4’s “Attack of the Show,” who predicted the Xbox 360 to be number one, followed by the Wii and then the PS3. “I’m going to do the Wii/360 combo everyone’s talking about.”
Sony shipped 400,000 units nationwide for its launch day and there have been stories of some stores, such as Best Buy, only getting 25 units each, Pereira said.
Conversely, Nintendo plans on shipping 1.2 to 1.4 million units, priced at $250, for its launch day, Nov.19. The Wii will also come bundled with “Wii Sports,” marking the first time a Nintendo console has been bundled since the Super Nintendo was launched in 1991.
“While they’re fun, cute games, they show the potential of the games coming down the pipe,” Pereira said about “Wii Sports.” “I’m excited for the inventive stuff like ‘Trauma Center’ where you get to do open heart surgery.”
The Wii will not have as many multimedia features as the PS3 or the Microsoft Xbox 360. Instead, Nintendo is focusing on game play and innovation, introducing a motion-sensor controller that will allow the player to feel more involved in the game.
Competition from Nintendo is not fazing Sony though, according to Sheila Bryson, public relations manager for Sony Computer Entertainment.
“Competition is a good thing,” she said. “With the Wii, it’s a different type of gamer. I think generally people who buy the Wii are a little less hardcore.”
Bryson also noted that the line for the PS3 this morning was at 900 people, which they had to cut to about 750.
“Obviously people care about it,” she said. “They’re committing a whole bunch of their time, so we want to see they’re taken care of.”
To show their appreciation for the fan’s commitment, Bryson said Sony provided people in line with Starbucks Coffee, burritos for lunch, food from Mel’s Diner for dinner and they planned to give out Red Bull around 10:30 p.m. to keep customers awake for the midnight sale.
The launch party also featured a free performance by Angels and Airwaves, but the band’s name was kept under wraps until they took the stage.
“It’s insane,” she said. “So many people. It’s cool how so many people cooperate.”
She is not a gamer herself, but decided to wait in line anyway.
“Everyone will go home happy,” Bryson said, though she wouldn’t say how many units the store had available to sell at midnight.
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