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PlayStation 4 Launches; Xbox One Up Next

14 Nov, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

Marcos Castor, manager of the GameStop store in Universal City, Calif., shows off the PlayStation 4 Nov. 14.

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — John Madrigal, a 23-year-old Sun Valley, Calif. resident, said he made a serious mistake when he failed to pre-order Sony’s PlayStation 4.

His solution was simple: “Nobody else was here at the crack of dawn, so I get to be No. 1,” he said Nov. 14, waiting until midnight to be the first to buy a PS4 at a GameStop store near Universal Studios.

And you can bet he won’t be going right to bed after he gets his console home.

Marcos Castor, manager of the GameStop store in Universal City, Calif., said the evening kicks off one of the most-anticipated weeks he can remember for the gaming industry, with the PS4 launch first and the Xbox One launch a week later. His GameStop store — one of more than 4,200 nationwide holding midnight launch events — had vendors, DJs and even NBA legend James Worthy on hand to mark the event.

“We’re just super excited to have people here, wanting to get the system right when it’s available,” he said of the dozens of fans lined up before the sun had even set. “There’s just a lot of anticipation for both [the PS4] and the Xbox One next week. PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo … we don’t play favorites.”

That’s very true, with the same GameStop stores staying open until midnight again Nov. 21 for the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One. Much like with the PS4, GameStop stores are holding pre-launch events the Sunday before the launch, allowing gamers to bring in used hardware and software to trade in against the price of their new consoles.

“GameStop, unlike any other retailer, offers our customers the ability to trade-in their current generation of consoles for the most value to help purchase the Xbox One,” said Michael Turner, director of merchandising at GameStop. “This allows consumers the ability to upgrade their console at a more affordable price, making it more accessible to have the latest hardware.”

The Xbox One launch event will step things up a bit, with more than 10,000 retail locations in 13 countries staying open at midnight Nov. 21 to sell the new console.

“Today we invite millions of Xbox fans around the world to join us for the launch of Xbox One, beginning on Nov. 21 as we count down the final hours to the launch of Xbox One,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate VP of marketing and strategy for Xbox. “Xbox One will be the biggest launch in the history of Xbox and we can’t wait to celebrate with our fans.”

Launch events are planned for New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and London.

According to entertainment research firm Interpret, 48% of American gamers interviewed said they intend to purchase the PlayStation 4 in the next year, compared to 42% for the Xbox One. The PS4 is apparently more popular already among gamers in nine other countries as well, the firm reported.

“On the eve of the PS4 launch, Sony’s clear messaging and early tradeshow successes continue to carry momentum,” said Yuanzhe Cai, SVP of research at Interpret. “However, when we look outside of the U.S. and U.K., the Xbox One actually has a slight edge at attracting buyers who don’t belong to the Xbox ecosystem during the current generation.

“In other words a larger percentage of people intending to buy the Xbox One do not already own an Xbox 360.”

The launch of both the PS4 and Xbox One could give the gaming industry a much-needed shot in the arm, after several months of declining sales, according to data from The NPD Group.

“Growth in video game software sales over the last few months has reversed negative year-to-date trends caused by declines seen earlier in the year with video game software sales currently flat to last year,” said NPD’s Liam Callahan. “With the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One, we hope to see positive trends over November and December which would lead to an increase in software sales for the year.”

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