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Game Suppliers Avoid Last Year's Crunch

10 Dec, 2001 By: Hive News

Unlike last year's debacle with short shipments of Sony's PlayStation 2 at launch, supplies of PS2, Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube appear to be adequate or more.

The crunch that many retailers feared appears not to have materialized, judging by prices in online auctions. While some consumers interviewed on launch day bought consoles just to make a profit reselling them, most consoles appeared to be selling at or below retail on eBay over the weekend.

One seller offered an Xbox with three games including Gotham Racing at $800 but was only up to $330 half an hour before the auction closed. Another was advertised as sealed in the box WITH Kmart receipt, asking $355 and getting $265 an hour and 15 minutes before close. Someone got their asking price of $325 for the same deal in a GameCube.

Others were selling the Xbox DVD add-on alone but only getting $22.50 and $23.50, less than it probably cost them.

The low prices are an ad hoc indication that supplies in the market are ample. Last year when Sony cut back projected shipments for PS 2, prices for the units tripled in some cases in online auctions.

Searches yielded far fewer GameCube items for sale than Xbox--more than 2,100 Xbox items came back on a search for "Xbox console," but just 902 on a search for "GameCube console."

More than a million Xbox video game consoles have shipped and 1.1 million units are ``sold-in'' to retailers, according to Microsoft, and gamers are purchasing several first- and third-party Xbox games every time they buy an Xbox.

``Each Xbox shipment we receive sells out immediately," said Dan DeMatteo, president of GameStop, "but the great news for gamers is that we're getting new Xbox systems multiple times each week.''

Microsoft titles among the most popular to date include Halo, Project Gotham Racing and NFL Fever 2002, while Dead or Alive 3 from Tecmo, Electronic Arts' Madden NFL 2002 and Activision, Inc.'s ``Tony Hawk's Pro

Skater 2x.

Sony Computer Entertainment America rang in with "stronger than expected sales during Thanksgiving week." Based on its sales reports, Sony executives project total PlayStation category sales will bring in more than $1 billion in retail revenue this month.

Consumers bought more 100,000 PS One consoles and than 317,000 PS2 units during the week of Nov. 19, pushing PS 2 sales up more than 62 percent from the prior week, Sony's spokesperson reported. Another 321,000 PlayStation units sold in the week of Nov. 26, including 100,000 more PS One units.

``We experienced record-breaking sales for the PlayStation family of products during the Thanksgiving time period and expect this trend to continue throughout the holidays,'' said Jack Tretton, senior v.p., Sony Computer Entertainment America. ``Overall in 2001 we forecast that 66 percent or $2 out of every $3 retail console dollars will result from sales of PlayStation products."

Games topping the charts for PS 2 include Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty from Konami of America, SSX Tricky from Electronic Arts, Devil May Cry from Capcom, Grand Theft Auto 3 from Rockstar Games, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 from Activision and Sony's own Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec.

Sony executives also said the surge in holiday sales may correlate to an overall increase in in-home entertainment purchases. In a Sony-commissioned survey, one in three consumers indicated they would seek entertainment choices that offer a break from real world events this holiday season. Leading retailers like Wal-Mart and Sears have also stated that home electronics are the hottest selling entertainment products this season, with DVD and video game sales in the lead.

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