November 30, 2004 4:05 PM PST

PlayStation 2 shortage rattles shoppers

Don't panic.

That's the message from Sony, which Tuesday confirmed what a growing number of holiday shoppers and eBay bargainers already knew--the company's PlayStation 2 video game console is in short supply at many retailers.

But the company said it's ramping up production and doing all it can to get more consoles in stores quickly. "Consumer demand for the new PlayStation 2 has exceeded our expectations, and we are doing all we can to fulfill the wish lists of people who want a new PlayStation 2 unit under their tree this holiday season," a representative of Sony Computer Entertainment America said.

The shortage stems from the new slimmed-down PS2 design Sony announced earlier this year. Sony has been clearing out supplies of the original PS2 configuration for the past few months, and the company has been unable to push units of the new design into the market fast enough to meet holiday demand.

The extent of the shortages was difficult to gauge, but the trusty old eBay-meter indicated mild shopping alarm. New PS2 consoles in the revamped design, nicknamed "PS2 Slim," were selling for as much as $230 on Tuesday, well above the $150 list price.

Availability was spotty among major online retailers. Amazon.com showed "PS2 Slim" units available only from Amazon Marketplace affiliates, who were charging as much as $350. CompUSA had units available only for in-store pick-up, with none in stock at San Francisco Bay Area or Manhattan stores. Specialty retailers GameStop and EB Games both showed all "PS2 Slim" packages as back-ordered.

Shortages appeared to be most acute in Europe, where London newspapers reported some desperate shoppers were paying the equivalent of $750 (400 pounds) for a new PS2. "Everywhere I try seems to be out of stock," "Bill C." wrote in a posting on a Usenet group for British bargain-hunters. "The standard response seems to be, 'Sorry, there is a national shortage; should be in by Christmas though.'"

Analyst P.J. McNealy said the shortage could be a boon for competitor Microsoft, if Sony can't restock shelves before shoppers get really impatient. "We believe that Microsoft...continues to benefit from Sony shortages with Xbox console sales," he wrote in a report published Tuesday.

5 comments

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Glad to see something I said came true...
I told people about upgrades to X-Box or PS2 being possible mid-cycle and this could cause an increase in sales. I was met with mostly critisism over costs and incompatability issues. If the new PS2 sales surge is any indication I think I was right. :)

Microsoft has marketed a couple of limited edition X-Box systems, but no major changes to the console itself. I hope we see these kind of design updates come to the next generation of consoles as well.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
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Deja Vu
Welcome back to the initial product launch. :-)
Posted by (1 comment )
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Where is Microsoft?
Currently XBOX is not on the shelf at the stores either. Try to find one! Is Microsoft asleep?
Posted by (2 comments )
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It's January and still no PS2's in stores
... no XBox for that matter either.

And no word from Sony Corp - I checked their website. No stores in my area have any idea when they'll receive PS2 systems back in their stores.

Anybody know what's going on? Has Sony misplaced a factory somewhere along the way?
Posted by (1 comment )
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Sam's Club....
...has a ton of the new thin PS2's.
Posted by tjm626 (1 comment )
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