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The Dark Side of the PlayStation 3 Launch

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the nothing-nice-to-say dept.

505

An anonymous reader writes "Kotaku is running an article prompted by an email from a foreign student in Japan. The reader unveils the sad reality of the modern gaming industry. Japanese businessmen made ample use of homeless people and Chinese nationals to obtain PS3s for re-sale. There was also a large amount of pushing and shoving, some fights, and almost no police presence at the most crowded stores." From the article: "Based on my observations of the first twenty PS3s sold at Bic Camera, they were all purchased by Chinese nationals, none of whom bought any software. After making their purchase, television crews asked for interviews but all were declined. These temporary owners of PS3s would then make their way down the street where their bosses waited. After several minutes, a dozen PS3s were rounded up, as their Japanese business manager paid out cash to those who waited in line for them. I witnessed a homeless-looking Chinese man, in his sixties or seventies get paid 20,000 yen for his services and was then sent away." Update: 11/12 05:40 GMT by Z : You're right. Sony only shares a portion of the blame here. Offsides on my part.

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505 comments

Sony is supposed to do what? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811198)

Why is Sony getting blamed here?

Re:Sony is supposed to do what? (1, Interesting)

metalligoth (672285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811220)

Because Sony should release more than a handful of consoles. If they haven't produced enough to do a proper release that doesn't create artificial over-demand, they shouldn't release. It's called corporate responsibility.

Re:Sony is supposed to do what? (4, Insightful)

Gentlewhisper (759800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811262)

Because Sony should release more than a handful of consoles. If they haven't produced enough to do a proper release that doesn't create artificial over-demand, they shouldn't release. It's called corporate responsibility.


F.U.D.

If Sony produced enough then the same poster will whine about it being released a few months later than it should, and end off with a "Think of the eBay resellers!!!!!111".

If anything blame capitalism, that's right. If the whole world were communist, free standard issued Mao Ze Dong PS3 for each family! No such issues!

Re:Sony is supposed to do what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811306)

Except if you actually studied the history of China under Mao, family wouldn't exist (group housing of the Cultural revival anyone?) and since they would be struggling to get enough to eat I doubt PS3's would be high on their priorities.

Communism (3, Insightful)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811568)

Wow, I really don't know where to begin with your post.

The Cell chip is expensive and difficult to manufacture. (Although each cell die has 7 cores, 8 are manufactured on each die in the expectation that one will fail. Post-manufacture testing finds the broken core and disables it, finds no broken cores and disables one anyway, or finds the whole chip ruined and scraps it.) That, and the expensive Blu-Ray drives are difficult to make, too.

They sell at $600 a pop. They'll go on eBay for much more than that, I'm sure. The amount of money Sony could make is limited by how fast they can produce consoles. So, do you think Sony is making consoles as fast as humanly possible, or do you think Sony has no interest in money?

If the whole world were communist, free standard issued Mao Ze Dong PS3 for each family! No such issues!

And, under communism, there would be no PS3. What part of a state-run economy do you think values game consoles? Values them enough to invest millions in research and billions in retooling factories for the new tech? State run farms in Russia, China, Cuba, and Venezuela left/leave people starving. You think a system in which people lack "standard issued Mao Ze Dong [sic]" bread are going to have PS3s? Or televisions? I'm sure they'd settle for houses.

You also forget that capitalism is the reason the PS3 exists in the first place - if Sony didn't have a chance to make $bucks, do you think they'd spend years developing the console? Crawl out of your hole and show me a communist nation that even has Playstation 2s? (China ceased to be communist for all practical intents and purposes when they, shock, adopted mostly-free market capitalism as their economic system)

Re:Sony is supposed to do what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811266)

Oh bullshit.

Re:Sony is supposed to do what? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811462)

I don't get it.

Are people really out there that are that apeshit just to get a fucking video game?!?!?

Lord...there'll be plenty of them in a few months....

Re:Sony is supposed to do what? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811610)

I recommend watching South Park season 10 episodes 12 and 13. Pay particular attention to Cartman. All your misgivings about human nature will be presented and affirmed. Funny too.

But I agree, its very disconcerting that there is such a demand for this type of system. They must think: "If the world ends tomorrow and I don't get to play ps3 I will die!" !!!!! - I gave up a long time ago expecting people to think/act rationally.

Re:Sony is supposed to do what? (0)

kaufmanmoore (930593) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811274)

Why should they wait for the competition to totally take over the market. And what if it ends up being a bust, should they make millions of items not knowing exactly how successful it will be. The low supply also creates a marketing buzz that can save millions, look at all of the free press sony is now getting.

Corporate vs. Personal Responsibili (0)

JacksBrokenCode (921041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811308)

Wow, just wow. Sony undersupplies units and it's their fault that other people can't behave in a civilized manner? That's ridiculous. If we're going to hold Sony accountable for individuals' behavior, perhaps we should hold the individuals responsible for Sony's decisions as well. Either scenario is equally preposterous.

Re:Corporate vs. Personal Responsibili (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811556)

WTF is uncivilized about buying something is underpriced and selling it for a profit?
WTF is uncivilized about hiring people who are homeless?
Man, you people have some fucked up values.

Re:Sony is supposed to do what? (0)

exley (221867) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811340)

You've got to be fucking kidding me. I know a lot of you are really anxious to pile as much shit on Sony as possible, but this has gotten totally ridiculous. Is Sony really responsible for everything that happens as a result of its consoles?

Re:Sony is supposed to do what? (1)

ricree (969643) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811638)

Well. Judging by most of the comments, people mostly agree that this isn't Sony's fault. I'm not sure how that equals being "anxious to pile as much shit on Sony as possible."

Re:Sony is supposed to do what? (0)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811484)

It's called corporate responsibility.

Yes, the corporate thing to do would have been to jack up the price... you know, like car dealers do on a hot new model that is in demand.

Off the top of my head, I can think of several cars that sold for waaay more than they were worth, but not with "scalpers".

If the consoles are in short supply, just add the equivalent of the "super wax job and extra 3 months of warranty" and charge an extra couple of hundred bucks for this "special package". When suppy catches up, stop adding the wax job and don't put the "special package" sticker on the box any more.

Congratulations Zonk (0, Troll)

lick mi ballz (1016185) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811296)

...for reinforcing the fact that you are a complete fuck-face.

Zonk won't be answering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811342)

He's too busy organizing a Project Mayhem strike against the local Ferrari dealer.

Re:Sony is supposed to do what? (4, Insightful)

donaldm (919619) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811572)

Why is Sony getting blamed here? -- Definitely insightful since it really is a media beat-up.

In any limited supply launch and it does not have to be a console you are always going to get people who will take advantage of the situation. Normally we call these people "scalpers" and some not so nice names as well, but in reality it is supply and demand. Basically there are people who will pay ridicules prices for something because they are normally too lazy to stand in-line and this is what these people are counting on.

To blame Sony for this is just plain stupid. If people did not want this machine then it would not sell and we know that is not true. What is actually good for Sony here is the fact that the IMHO "idiot" who will pay well over the market rate will most likely have the money to pay for games which is how Games Manufacturers makes money.

I think we can call this a "win" (queue sitter US$170), "win" (scalper US$???? - US$170), "win and loose" (the idiot who buys US$????) and "win" (games - approx US$30 to US$60) and "win" (Sony - percentage of games sold).

Disclaimer. It is my opinion that a person who buys a product way over the its market rate is either very wealthy and an idiot or just a plain idiot. Still without these people scalpers would not exist.

Re:Sony is supposed to do what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811654)

Why is Sony getting blamed here?

For artificially limiting supply of their product to drive up prices and produce buzz (and articles about the buzz). Zonk is being a coward to retract his comments about this. They were totally on point. Sony does deserve blame for this.

That's just despicable (1)

Daimando (842740) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811200)

A rather low way of some people getting their hands on a PS3.

Re:That's just despicable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811236)

Why? The homeless man gets money for food.

Re:That's just despicable (1)

Daimando (842740) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811370)

Yeah, but the Japanese Business Man took advantage of him.

Re:That's just despicable (1)

jerw134 (409531) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811662)

No more so than the company you work for "takes advantage" of you.

Re:That's just despicable (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811348)

A rather low way of some people getting their hands on a PS3.

Am I the only one who doesn't see what the problem is?

Re:That's just despicable (5, Insightful)

DilbertLand (863654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811494)

Yeah, I don't see the problem either...you end up with 3 happy people. The homeless guy gets paid for standing in line... The middle man makes a nice little profit... The end user with lots of money gets one of the first units without having to stand in line (and these are probably the exact customers that sony will want to have their system - they buy all the latest games right at release instead of waiting for them to hit the bargin bin)...

Not just Sony's fault (3, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811202)

Congratulations, Sony. Nicely done.

The end users who buy from these middlemen are *every bit* as guilty as Sony or the middlemen. If it weren't for these buyers, there would be no market for the middlemen.

Re:Not just Sony's fault (1, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811256)

How dare you question the Gods of the Free Market! There is nothing wrong here as this was a free market transaction and free market transactions are never wrong by definition. </sarcasm>

Re:Not just Sony's fault (5, Insightful)

Longtime_Lurker_Aces (1008565) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811362)

Actually... one could quite easily argue that there is nothing wrong here and that this is a perfect example of a free market working.

Person A is willing to spend X dollars on a system, but not the time waiting in line.
Person B is willing to spend the time waiting in line to buy a system at Y to sell for X.
End result: both parties satisfied.

The only flaw is that Sony should be taking the profit for this instead of letting third parties do it. Imagine if they used an auction-like system (hey, if google ipo can do it) then the people who value the PS3 most get one, and sony keeps all the profits.

Re:Not just Sony's fault (2, Interesting)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811408)

I thought that would be a good idea, but it would really alienate the fanbase, espescially since it reeks of mafioso tactics, since Sony could artificially retrict the supply to create a higher price.

I think the best solution would be one like the Gamespot solution of reserving Xbox 360s for extremely expensive (and profitable) bundles. You could filter the people without money, and still provide value other than just the value of having one of the limited amount of consoles.

Re:Not just Sony's fault (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811620)

espescially since it reeks of mafioso tactics, since Sony could artificially retrict the supply to create a higher price.

And that would be wrong for what reason? Mafioso? Is this some new form of gang activity? "Boss, let's make a game machine, and then not make it widely available at first!"

Re:Not just Sony's fault (0)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811656)

Bullshit, this is all on Sony for staging artificial scarcity.

Normal people can't stand in line waiting for a video game, so if you're going to blame the ebay buyers, you'll have to blame the unemployed people who stand in line to swoop them up, whether for sale or for themselves.

How's that guy in the mirror, Zonk? (5, Insightful)

Wavicle (181176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811216)

Congratulations, Sony. Nicely done.

Heaven forbid we blame the scalpers... or the people willing to buy a PS3 at a premium from the scalpers. Why would we do that when there is a giant corporation we can blame for the ills of society? Damn that holiday season, we are helpless against the dynamic duo: Christmas and Sony. Won't somebody think of the children (especially those who will be deprived of a PS3 this christmas?)

ZONK IS A BITTER HOMOSEXUAL FAGGOT (0, Troll)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811250)

He only wishes he thought of using homeless people for this instead of paying them 5 dollars a throw for unprotected anal sex.

Re:ZONK IS A BITTER HOMOSEXUAL FAGGOT (-1, Troll)

Zonk (troll) (1026140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811536)

You're the fucking faggot. I LOVE WOMEN.

Re:How's that guy in the mirror, Zonk? (1)

daybot (911557) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811294)

>Won't somebody think of the children

Good point - article tagged!

Re:How's that guy in the mirror, Zonk? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811374)

Why blame anybody? Is this food or another necessity that we are talking about? Will people die to the lack of PS3s?

Seriously, I want to laugh at the jackasses who don't have the patience to wait 2 months (mid to end January) to get one at a reasonable price or perhaps even better, at the "scalpers" who will overestimate demand and be left hanging.

If the "scalpers" make money, more power to them, I really don't care that much. The PS3 isn't like a concert, it'll be back again soon enough and everybody can catch another "performance".

Re:How's that guy in the mirror, Zonk? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811586)

I agree.

Would you prefer a homeless guy or a homeless guy with 20,000 yen?
Give the poor guy the money IMHO.

Problem? (4, Insightful)

insecuritiez (606865) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811222)

I don't see much of a problem here. The people who purchased had the money, theirs or not they should get the product. If I can afford dozens of PS3s and can afford to pay dozens of bums to stand in line and buy them, then I'll get dozens of PS3s. How can their be a law against that in a country that regards itself as free (Japan)?

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? (4, Insightful)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811228)

I fail to see how Sony is in any way responsible.

supply/demand (2, Funny)

daybot (911557) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811232)

Curse those pesky blue lasers and the factories that fail to produce them quick enough...

Congratulations, Sony. Nicely done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811234)

"Congratulations, Sony. Nicely done."

Yeah, providing jobs for the homeless. Talk about AWFUL. No one's forcing these people to buy PS3s. At any rate, blaming sony is just wrong. Blame the system, not the product.

Re:Congratulations, Sony. Nicely done. (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811456)

I like how this turned into a form of charity almost.

How often do Japanese homeless get $200 for sitting around?

Blaming Sony is ridiculous (5, Insightful)

codefrog (302314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811240)

There's not really any practical way of preventing scalping is there?
- float the price high enough to stifle demand (almost there already!)
- somehow make a PS3 un-transferrable (can you imagine the screams?)
- magically come up with more PS3s
- wait until the factories are running full-bore before starting to release any PS3s

Now, concert and sport ticket scalping is another story, but not I think relevant here.

Anyhow IMO blaming Sony for this -- or even really considering it to be a problem -- is pretty mistaken.
Some homeless guys don't get to play with their new PS3s... I'm crying my little heart out here.

What's with the Sony put-down? (5, Insightful)

dannycim (442761) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811244)

Congratulations, Sony. Nicely done.

Ok, so Sony makes a product, a lot of people want it, some resort to unscrupulous tactics to get them, and somehow that's Sony's fault?

All this Sony bashing is getting ri-goddamned-diculous.

Re:What's with the Sony put-down? (1)

Daimando (842740) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811384)

The whole Sony bashings been this way since early this year. But even bashing Sony for the whole escapades doesn't make sense.

Re:What's with the Sony put-down? (0, Troll)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811642)


Ok, so Sony makes a vastly insufficient amount of a product in order to hype said product and meet an arbitrary deadline that they are OBVIOUSLY not prepared for, a lot of people want it, some resort to unscrupulous tactics to resell them, and somehow that's Sony's fault?

All this Sony bashing is getting ri-goddamned-diculous.


I fixed your typos.

20,000 yen (3, Informative)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811248)

is about $170

Re:20,000 yen (2, Funny)

Ed Thomson (704721) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811404)

20,000 yen is also about $1329 which is a lot to be paid to stand in line for a console.

Re:20,000 yen (3, Funny)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811432)

20,000 yen is also about $1329

In canadian dollars?

Re:20,000 yen (1)

iamagloworm (816661) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811468)

If I could, I would mod the parent up - Funny as hell! The post saying it's about $1329 is presumably referring to Hong Kong Dollars...

Re:20,000 yen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811594)

Except that Canadian dollars are near (if not at) an all time high against American dollars. That takes away the funny IMO; Hong Kong dollars would have been funny (as well as accurate). Btw, Google says that 20,000 yen is about US$170 (CAN $192, HK $1325).

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=20000+yen+in+ dollars [google.com]
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=20000+yen+in+ canadian+dollars [google.com]
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=20000+yen+in+ hong+kong+dollars [google.com]

Pretty good money for just standing in line. Obviously Sony should have priced them higher to avoid this. Of course, then they wouldn't be getting all this press...

"Nice job Sony"? (1)

JacksBrokenCode (921041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811252)

Why is this Sony's fault? The article mentiones that Sony held the launch with too few units and police should have been present. This may be true, but it wouldn't materially change the scalping that the poster seems to be opposed to. If police were present, then the homeless & Chinese nationals who stood in line to resell the units would simply walk down the street and into a building before engaging in the transgressions being griped about.

Let's face it... supply and demand will always rule. When there's high demand and low supply, product will always go to the highest bidder.

How about they price it reasonably? (1)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811254)

You know, so you don't have huge crowds like this? Charge a premium to those that want to pick it up the day it's released. No wonder Sony is loosing so much money. If there is that much demand for their product, why aren't they charging more?

Re:How about they price it reasonably? (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811324)

Because even as it is, the price of the PS3 is 80% of the reason its reputation went to hell. Sony sucks, but it doesn't suck that bad. The PS3 doesn't look so good, but it doesn't look that horrible. The Wii looks great, but it doesn't look -that- great (these are all relatively speaking, I'm losing sleep at the thought of a Wii!).

But the pricing of the PS3 made everyone flip out. Can you imagine if they had charged more? They might as well sellout rather than do that. It sucks, but thats the way marketing works.

Re:How about they price it reasonably? (1)

vmardian (321592) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811490)

I think charging early adopters more would be a marketing disaster. The price needs to be fixed for at least a year.

Re:How about they price it reasonably? (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811666)

Because they get millions in free advertisement from morons standing in line.

I for one ... (1)

ja (14684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811270)

... welcome our new homeless Chinese overlords.

Chinese? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811286)

Can someone knowledgeable explain to me the Chinese National connection?

Re:Chinese? (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811658)

Racism. Japan is a very homogeneous society, so a lot of Japanese blame an influx of foreigners for any new ills. This is perpetuated by the media "If crime goes up, it must be all the foreigners." If you want to translate this to US-speak, substitute "Chinese National" for "Black Gang Member". Of course, in that case, its obvious the person fanning the flames of the story is being a racist troll. Congratulations, Kotaku, Zonk.

What? (5, Insightful)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811292)

Congratulations, Sony. Nicely done.
Yes, because Sony told people to utilize homeless people and push and shove to get a PS3.

Don't get me wrong, Sony has done a lot of bad shit, and has been very arrogant when it comes to the PS3, but this kind of behavior should be attributed expressly to the consumers. Okay, one might argue that Sony created an artificial shortage (blue laser conspiracy?), but that's no reason someone has to be an asshole. It isn't a necessary product, so the fault lies almost entirely on the consumers.

Come on, Zonk. I'm pretty anti-Sony, too, but you don't need to redirect blame for something like this. There's lots of other stuff Sony has done to be called on.

Mod article... (1)

CapitalT (987101) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811298)

-5 Troll

75% Troll
25% Flamebait

No seriously, blaming Sony?

At least blame them for something bad, 'cause I don't see offering homeless people jobs a bad thing.

What's wrong with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811300)

I keep hearing whining about homeless being taken advantage of, but I never see these same people try to actually give them better paying jobs, and they will gladly buy made in china goods where the workers are forced to live off subsistence wages which aren't really any better...Oh but hey it's different cause we're special, right? Not In My Backyard and Out of Sight out of Mind philosophy at it's worst. Hypocrites all of you.

Is it bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811310)

"Kotaku is running an article ...


Is it bad that I read that as KDE - Otaku [wikipedia.org] ? And on a Saturday night no less.

From an economist... (4, Insightful)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811316)

It's amusing to me that folks have no problem with somebody dropping hundreds of dollars on a console, but hiring homeless people to scalp them is some huge crime. Obviously the homeless guys felt taking some money to wait in a line was a better use of their time than whatever else they'd normally do--they made out here. As for the people who hired them, well...would you expect Steve Jobs to mow his own lawn? Why should he, if he can afford to pay someone else to do it. And as for Sony, like any company, they respond to incentives: in this case, fewer units = more demand. If you don't like it, change their incentives by not buying their shit.

What's the problem, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811320)

I don't see what the big deal is.

Some homeless man will make some money, as well as the middle man. Some fan boy (sucker?) with money is willing to pay extra for having a relatively useless, in my opinion, product available to him now, instead of one month from now.

What is the problem, really?

Re:What's the problem, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811522)

People are paid to wait in line below minimum wage.

Everyone's a expert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811322)

Isn't it obvious that Nintendo's to blame? They did after all save the console market...

Funny to see fanbois run to Sony's rescue (1)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811364)

First of all, I should note that I agree that it's you can't really blame Sony entirely for this. It's not as if they hired the homeless themselves.

That said, it's funny to see the same fanbois that criticized MS for all of the issues surrounding the 360 launch (fights, eBay profiteering, etc.), run to Sony's defense when it happens to their console launch.

You can blame both companies for just not making enough supply to meet demand, which then causes hysteria and the problems we're seeing with the PS3 launch (and 360, and PS2, and Tickle-Me-Elmo, etc.) . Although if possible, both would have vastly preferred to have many more consoles available. They just didn't want to miss the holiday season because of it. Fair enough.

Re:Funny to see fanbois run to Sony's rescue (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811448)

That said, it's funny to see the same fanbois that criticized MS for all of the issues surrounding the 360 launch (fights, eBay profiteering, etc.), run to Sony's defense when it happens to their console launch.

Since we're talking about the japan launch here, I cannot agree with you. The Xbox 360 basically failed in Japan and was readily available in Japan on launch day. Hell, even many days later, the Xbox 360 was easy to find in Japan (even at the launch store, Tsutaya in Shibuya).

Blame for what? (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811368)

People making profit from a high demand for a low supply of items? Shock!

Re:Blame for what? (1)

sponga (739683) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811426)

Shhh don't tell Slashdot the secret to #2..

I find this more shocking... (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811372)

http://offer.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewBids& item=330047524577

I say everyone on that list should be SHOT.

Harnessing Christmas demand for the greater good (1)

Neoncow (802085) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811398)

Every time there is an article about demand for some toy, someone suggests that it should be auctioned off. The usual response is that auctioning makes the company look greedy and doesn't produce as much media hype as 200 people camping out in the cold to shell out their money.

What would happen if the company auctioned off the first 10 000 units and then donated the excess to a local charity? I think that would get rid of a lot of the middlemen and produce a lot of POSITIVE publicity. Also the buyers who actually wanted the items would not have to feel guilty about funding some sketchy re-selling ring. The company could then use the auction prices as "proof" of how awesome their product is and reassure the rest of the consumers that the next shipment will be sold at a lower price.

So What? (1)

stoneycoder (1020591) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811400)

Im not sure I'd trust a homeless dude with a $700 PS3, but if a homeless guy can make a few bucks for whatever, so what. And dont blame sony ... its supply and demand. If i had the money to blow initially, I'd buy 10 or 20 and sell em on ebay right around christmas for a hefty profit too.

Where's the wrong? (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811402)

How is this any different than you or me buying a PS3 and selling it on eBay? Only difference I can see is, homeless people need the money worse than we do.

Congrats to the Homeless (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811410)

20,000 yen is not a bad sum, about $170. Though that probably doesn't go far in Tokyo, it's not to shabby for other parts of Japan.

A social experiment (1)

smokin_juan (469699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811418)

I've always wanted to fly an airplane over a football game, say the superbowl, and drop a bunch of mixed bills into the crowd - ones, fives, tens - then count the number of fatalities in the ensuing stampede.

How much would you bet that Sony execs have a pool on the number of incidences created by their console release.

Gah, people are stupid.

I should care why exactly? (2, Funny)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811420)

If your self control is so nonexistent or your kid so spoiled (and you so whipped by them in turn) that you can't wait another month then it's your damn fault and no one else's. No one is making people buy these on ebay or making them buy them on release day. Hell, at least the scalpers and ebayers are showing intelligence and initialize so good for them.

Typical (1)

MBHkewl (807459) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811436)

Why is Sony being blamed for other people's mishaps & actions??

Note to editor: Your dept. of nothing-nice-to-say shouldn't make blatant accusations...

Am I just misinterpreting this? (1)

IICV (652597) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811438)

Maybe I'm just a heartless jerk, but I interpreted the "Congratulations, Sony. Nicely done" blurb as "Good job, Sony, you just lost out on that 20,000 yen extra someone was willing to pay for your product" and not "Well done, you made some businessman oppress a homeless dude for a few days".

But then, this is Slashdot. Perhaps Zonk really does think it is Sony's fault that some of their customers aren't nice people.

This Is Getting Boring (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811446)

Slashdot has just jumped the shark.

awww poor baby (1)

gsn (989808) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811454)

Bollocks. The PS3 is not a critical or essential item (irrespective of what you might feel) and theres nothing illegal about scalping it. Its bloody unfair for most people but unfair is not the same as illegal.

Sure its going to make the PS3 a whole lot harder to get for christmas but if you wanted one that bad there was nothing to stop you from waiting in line for a week.

The homeless people and chinese nationals made a bit from it for essentially standing in line - how is that a bad thing?

This is simply the free market working and pretty much nothing could have prevented it.

zzz (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811458)

Congratulations, Sony. Nicely done.
Congratulations, Slashdot. Nicely done.

No question what step 2 is (1)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811464)

  1. Pay homeless man $200 to buy you a $600 video game console.
  2. Sell console on Yahoo Auctions for $100M [yahoo.co.jp]
  3. Profit!

what this really means (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811466)

In a free market, if supply is much lower than demand, price should go up until demand is slightly below supply, at least if you are the one doing the selling. I mean really, if Joe is willing to buy my product for $100 and Bill is willing to give me $120 for it, what price should I set for it?

I don't see why sony doesn't jack up the price... say a 50% increase. They could still clear 100% of their inventory. Unless there are some very good business reasons for having a very rapid initial release.

And look at it this way, there are now a lot of homeless in China that have an extra 20k Y in their pockets thanks to sony. For that I would say whatever their motives the outcome is at least somewhat positive.

What stumps me is how these buyers are managing the homeless. You have to give a bum a wad of cash and watch him walk into the store and out of sight with it? There has to be some serious risk involved for the buyers. But I suppose they are thoroughly threatened before they are given the cash. Or they are escorted.

Also, not sure if my understanding of exchange rates is way off base or what, but a quick access to a currency converter says that a bum getting Y$20,000 is about US$2,500 so I wonder if maybe someone slipped a decimal place or two?

Re:what this really means (1)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811510)

20,000 Yen is around US$175.

Re:what this really means (1)

mh101 (620659) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811534)

What stumps me is how these buyers are managing the homeless. You have to give a bum a wad of cash and watch him walk into the store and out of sight with it? There has to be some serious risk involved for the buyers. But I suppose they are thoroughly threatened before they are given the cash. Or they are escorted.

FTFA:
One elderly Chinese man, next in line to buy a PS3, was in a state of panic. He explained to a Bic Camera employee that his "friend" has his money, but that he is further back in the line. After further investigation, these poor Chinese are not given the 60,000 yen to purchase the PS3 until minutes before their reach the registers, perhaps out of fear that some will run off with the money.

Giving Work To The Homeless (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811474)

These Japanese businessmen should be ashamed!

This really isn't all that shocking. (1)

cunina (986893) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811492)

At least, not as shocking as if businessmen had been using PS3s to buy homeless people.

The free market and whatnot (2, Interesting)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811518)

I don't see anything necessarily wrong with this in principle; the consoles are a commodity that is sold for less than it's worth, people can and do buy 'em and sell 'em for a profit. And anyone that desperately wants the console to play games will shell out the dough, because they're suckers. And people that can't afford that are probably better off anyway, because they shouldn't need overpriced crap to make them happy. Mod me redundant, because I'm sure I'm repeating myself here.

What surprises me is that businessmen are getting into it. Even though they can probably quickly double or triple their investment selling the PS3s, there's a limited supply and lots of competition to get the units. Even if they make $1000 per unit they're spending a considerable amount of time to turn over a limited number of units. It seems to me they could make more money in the same amount of time trading stocks/bonds/commodities because the process is more streamlined and the volumes are higher. So for some kid looking for quick money it would surely be a good investment, I'm just surprised that it's worth the time of rich dudes.

Save the Cheerleader (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811526)

Save the World

Classic Problem, No Great Solution (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811538)

This is just like concert tickets. Bands won't charge the market price for a ticket. If they did, many hard core fans couldn't afford the tickets. The problem? While some fans will stand in line "for the passion", the difference between the sale price and the marke price creates an opportunity for profiteers.

The Band promoters, like Sony, are actually trying to do a GOOD THING by pricing their tickets below what they know the market will bear.

Alternatives? Sony prices the boxes at twice the fair price for the first two weeks of the release. Then how would you feel? Or, how about a special program for people with more money to pay a higher price and get their units earlier? That would smack of elitism too, wouldn't it?

The current situation really seems to be the best we can do so far. Were there homeless guys in the lines, sure. Are there ticket scalpers buying up tickets? Sure. I've also seen die-hard fans play "get the first click in" on Ticket Master, get their ticket, and GO TO THE SHOW at a fair price. No doubt, there will be some kids playing hookie for those PS-3s and getting them at a fair price too. Or... maybe they'll re-sell it and wait a month to get one at a fair price plus some games from their profit. After all, unlike concert tix, the supply of PS-3 is comparatively unlimited over a long enough run.

Re:Classic Problem, No Great Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811650)

This is essentially why the same essential product is priced differently. For example, a hardcover book can be up to 50-100% more expensive - but does cardboard really cost that much more? It's a way to make the rich pay more, while the poor pay less for essentially the same thing.

Capitalism works! (1)

Mafiew (620133) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811544)

The guy who fronts the money for the PS3s and pays the homeless folks to stand in line is taking a risk and may or may not profit.

Folks who might otherwise be begging on the streets get paid to stand in a line.

What about the people who are unable to stand in line to get their PS3s due to school or a job. Thanks to the businessman these people can obtain a PS3 as long as they are willing to pay the market price.

So look at what the market has done. It's made the PS3 available to anyone who wants one and in the process it has provided profit to both the businessman and the homeless person.

Ok, wait a second... (1)

Halcyonandon (699642) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811576)

Presumably, these business men handed the poor Chinese nationals enough money to buy the PS3, right? Why did they just not cut and run? Isn't the price of the PS3 more than 20,000 yen? I did read the TFA, but since no one else has mentioned this point, I feel that I must be missing something.

Nice Profit! No big deal. (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811602)

I'm sure some (not all) of the same people who feel software should be free (as in beer, whatever that means, since I don't think I can get beer for free from Food Lion), also feel that outraged that a person actually would want to make profit off of someone else. All we are witnessing here is are individuals who understand how to make money. Whether you want to believe it or not it IS fair how they did it. There is no law (higher or otherwise) which states everything must be shared equally, and no I don't believe it should be. You keep what you can get (legally) and if others don't like it, tell them to suck it up.

As much as I take issue with Sony at times (Laptop batteries being my most current issue), this is not Sony's problem. Sony set their price. Somebody else got a better deal (be it perceived or realized). Besides, like a previous poster said, if people are willing to pay that price, then they are satisfied with it. Its a game system, not something important like water, sheesh.

Regards,

MBC1977,
(US Marine, College Student, and Proud Parent!)

I have my suspicions about this (1)

McFadden (809368) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811604)

I live in Japan and saw nothing like what is being discussed. Sure there might have been one or two isolated incidents, but this sounds like a guy trying to overblow the story way bigger than it was. It's interesting how Slashdot seems to have taken the line of reporting a single guy's observation as fact without questioning it.

are you fucking kidding me? (4, Insightful)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811606)

"Update: 11/12 05:40 GMT by Z : You're right. Sony only shares a portion of the blame here. Offsides on my part."

Oh, they only share a portion of the blame? That's awfully magnanimous of you, but just exactly why should they take any blame? What should they have done? NOT sold a PS3 to someone because they looked shabby? Should they have insisted on some sort of contract that the customer signs that promises to not resell it?

This is just shameful. Honestly, did Zonk's mom used to beat him with a playstation or something? The constant Sony-bashing is just insane. And it's not like you have to look real far to find something they actually DID that was wrong.

Secondary Market = Shady. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16811626)

Buying on eBay just perpetuates the problem. The secondary market here only exists if people allow it to.

There are sites specifically built to counteract this secondary market crap like playstationfinder and ps3seeker and a bunch of others. http://www.playstationfinder.com/ [playstationfinder.com] is a rapid fire subscription service that tracks online suppliers and their current stock status. Use it. Love it. Buy retail.

It's not like i said that yesterday morning... (1)

sam991 (995040) | more than 7 years ago | (#16811628)

Oh wait, yes i did. [slashdot.org]

Anyone who didn't see this coming must have been living under a rock.
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