The free-TV, rather subdued, European launch of the PlayStation 3 is done, and the sales figures for the first (and crucially important) weekend are being calculated. Speaking to SPOnG today, a Sony spokesman would not even hazard an opinion with regard to the weekend's sales figures, stating that the company is awaiting figures from Chart-Track.
Nor are any of the major retailers prepared to comment, on the record, anything but bland PR-driven statements.
Under terms of strict anonymity, however, SPOnG was told by our contact at one branch of a major retail outlet, that on both Saturday and Sunday it sold more 360s than it did PS3s. Is that a bad sign? Yes. This soon after launch it would be just about acceptable for the masses of expensive, late PS3 stocks to be moving slowly. However, for the 360 to outsell it at launch weekend should come as a shock to Sony.
So, how else is the PS3 moving? SPOnG can report that eBay scalpers are not faring well with the PS3. They're either making a loss on the machine or failing to sell their wares at all.
The majority of PS3s on eBay are getting bids under £400, while a few sellers are demonstrating a poor understanding of the capitalist machine with ridiculous 'buy it now' prices. Of the auctions ending within the hour, not one is selling at more than £400. Most of the lots bare the legend 'reserve not met' under their current price. The current bids range from £320 to £390 on average.
This reflects the subdued scene SPOnG reported last Thursday
with PS3 pre-orders being sold on eBay.
SPOnG's favourite lot comes from one very optimistic chap who had a 'buy it now' price of £699 for a console without any games. SPOnG was sorely tempted to give the seller a ring for a quick lesson on the nature of supply and demand in a capitalist society. The fact is, these buxom boxes are still sitting on retailers shelves at the retail price of £425.
Our retail contact told us, “At the moment we've got enough to keep as going.” More specifically, it received 98 PS3s prior to launch and has sold 57 of them. This compares to “about 70” 360s received from Microsoft on launch (all of which were soaked up by pre-orders), and 33 Wiis
- not even enough to fill the pre-orders.
Therefore, the retailer has sold fewer PS3s than 360s at the same point after launch, but more than it had of the Wii. How much price, stock availability and public desire have to play in this will be seen when hard, European-wide stats are made available.
In terms of trade-in, our contact said that he had received around ten 360s to take the edge off the PS3's hefty price, but only one Wii.
We remain objective until the officially accepted third-party sales figures come in later this week. However, maybe Sony could get some more free Bravia TVs
into the rest of the country before then?