Insightful analysis and commentary for the US and global equity investor
Contributors: Douglas McIntyre Jon C. Ogg

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Weekend Edition: Sony's PS3: A story of Want, Resentment, and a Black Market?

It is no secret that Sony (SNE-ADR/NYSE) has been in the soup lately. This morning I was thinking about how it was really good for Sony that GameStop (GME) had finally gone ahead and released the pre-orders for a $100.00 deposit. The units did sell out within minutes according to the store.

After looking into the situation it really sort of feels like Sony is indirectly marketing their competitors consoles for them.

GameStop (GME) noted that it was only going to have a minimal supply. I called the store closest to my house and that store is closer to one of the most affluent areas in the city. They were only given 8 PS'3 for pre-sale. The guy at the store said that they sold out in 2 minutes, and he said the buyers all were trying to get them first so they could sell them on eBay (EBAY). That was interesting, so I decided to look up "new listings" under "PS3" and sure enough there is already a unit for sale with the normal touting and the starting bid price is listed as $1,999.99, That doesn't mean it will sell there, but that was the first note. The counter has also been viewed 2,492 times.

Xbox 360 has been on the market for some time now, and Nintendo's Wii is also set for release right around the same time. This got me thinking again that people are going to take their Christmas shopping dollars elsewhere. It is probably better that Sony is going ahead and proceeding with a release in November ahead of the Christmas season, but if they aren't able to go get the consoles out on the shelves before the holidays then it is going to be an issue.

Unfortunately the Wii is not out even for pre-sale yet, although the same person noted that this would likely come out for pre-order maybe as soon as this weekend or early next week because of the close times for a competing launch. You also have to wonder if American buyers are going to feel like they are subsidizing Japanese versions of the PS3 since they announced price cuts in Japan, although with any luck maybe the public will forget about that one.

SNE shares closed down 0.21% at $37.49, down from $46.00 back in just mid-August before the ongoing troubles of its laptop battery recalls and before the delay on the bulk of PS3 shipments and before the PS3 defect stories and rumors began circulating.

So far it looks the game and console sellers may be licking their chops since they will win out as long as the new generation consoles get distributed.

Jon C. Ogg

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