The data has been coming in for several weeks now, but we are now in a position to state with certainty that the PS3 is a bona fide dud for Sony. Here are the facts:
When the Playstation 3 first came out, supply could not keep up with demand. PS3s were selling for up to $2000 on eBay. No one was sure whether this had more to do with low supply or high demand.
For the first couple weeks, distinctions were not being made between the Wii’s low availability and the PS3’s low availability. But things slowly started to change. As Christmas approached, the price that people were willing to pay for Wii’s only climbed. However, with a week left before Christmas, Playstation 3s were auctioning on eBay for less than retail.
As soon as people realized that you couldn’t make a profit with PS3s on eBay, they started returning them to the retail stores. It wasn’t rare to walk into a Circuit City or Best Buy the week before Christmas and find 3 or 4 returned Playstation 3s.
In fact, when GamingMoments returned its PS3 to Circuit City after failing to sell it on eBay, the employees told us that more and more people were starting to do this, confirming a trend.
However, even with a surge of Wii supply on December 17th, Nintendo Wii continues to be totally unavailable. No returns at the stores. You can’t get one on eBay for less than $450, almost 2x retail.
The disparity between Nintendo Wii and PS3 is expounded by the fact that GamingMoments sent out several representatives on a post-Christmas hunt out to a variety of big box gaming and retail stores. What did we find?
Three different GameStops reported having PS3s but no Wiis. Two Targets reported having at least one PS3 and one reported having no PS3, while all three reported having no Wii. Three EB Games reported having PS3s and when we inquired as to why the PS3 was in stock they reported either that everyone wants a Wii or that lots of people are returning their PS3s. Only 1 of 3 Walmarts had PS3s, according to the clerks in electronics, but they probably weren’t aware of PS3s that had been returned after Christmas. In any case, none of the Walmarts had a Nintendo Wii.
The fact of the matter is that supply has caught up with demand for the PS3 and this is ashame for Sony since supply is still quite low. In fact, Sony will probably start to face overproduction issues with the PS3, since it isn’t likely that Sony was aware that it’s system would be such a dud and that so many systems would get returned.
On the other hand, even with a robust supply of Wii’s, Nintendo’s system remains in hot,hot,hot demand. Even post-Christmas, there isn’t a single unit available. This bodes quite well for Nintendo’s position in the video game wars.