PlayStation 3 a Hit at Sony Expo 2007

Thousands of anxious gamers got their hands on Sony’s much-anticipated PlayStation 3 gaming console over the weekend—two weeks before its slated U.S. release on Nov. 17—and the majority of users seemed pleased with their first experiences with the next-generation console, the Associated Press reports via BusinessWeek.com.

Sony PlayStation 3
Sony PlayStation 3

The pre-release gaming took place at the Japanese electronics firm’s 2007 Sony Expo, which was held in Honolulu, Hawaii, over the weekend, according to the AP. The show was held to display Sony’s upcoming products, including its newest line of high-definition televisions, feature-packed digital cameras and cutting-edge laptops, the AP reports, though many folks came for the sole purpose of giving the PlayStation 3 a test drive.

Packs of attendees—mostly males, ranging from pre-teens to baby boomers—crowded around the two plastic-encased PlayStation 3 systems for a chance to play the games on display and check out the hyped-up graphics, according to the AP.

Twenty-year-old Doug Morrison, a University of Hawaii student, wasn’t shy about his feelings toward Sony’s upcoming gaming console, the AP reports.

“The graphics are crazy, way better than the second one,” Morrison told the AP, referencing Sony’s last gaming system, PlayStation 2. “I’m going to get one no matter what.”

Thirty-five-year-old computer analyst Dyron Mack told the AP he’s so excited about PlayStation 3 that he’ll buy one without his wife’s consent.

“I’m not going to tell her,” he told the AP. “You just show up with it and let her be mad.”

Sony Headquarters
Sony Headquarters

Shortly after Sony’s PlayStation 3 release, the firm will enter into what could be prove to a be drawn-out battle for supremacy in the next-gen gaming console space among it, Microsoft and Nintendo, which is expected to launch its PlayStation 3 competitor, Nintendo Wii, on Nov. 19. Microsoft released its offering in the space, Xbox 360, a year ago. Sony and Microsoft will also compete on the high-definition DVD front, as Sony has thrown its support behind the Blu-ray DVD format—building a drive into both its low- and high-end PlayStation 3 systems—and Microsoft said it will soon offer an HD-DVD add-on drive for use with the Xbox 360.

Sony will sell a 20GB version of PlayStation 3 for $500, and the 60GB model will retail for $600, according to the AP. Nintendo plans to offer Wii for $250, though it will not feature a Blu-ray or HD-DVD drive. Microsoft sells its low-end version of the Xbox 360 for $299, and it plans to sell the HD-DVD add-on drive for about $170.

Though PlayStation 3 is priced at $500 and $600, users who want to secure a system before the upcoming holiday season will likely need to dole out more than the suggested retail price as strong demand is sure to outweigh supply, as was the case last year when Microsoft released Xbox 360. Some eBay users are already selling reserved PlayStation 3 systems for more than $2,000, according to the AP.

Kazuo Hirai, Sony Computer Entertainment America chief executive officer, acknowledged that U.S. retailers will be hard put to meet demand for PlayStation 3, according to the AP.

“Unfortunately, there are going to be some shortages,” he said, the AP reports.

Hirai said the firm plans to ship roughly 400,000 consoles in the United States on launch day, followed by another 600,000 before the end of 2006, according to the AP. Sony also expects to have some 2 million systems in the United States by March, when its fiscal year comes to an end, the AP reports.

Sony has found itself in some financial trouble in recent days in relation to PlayStation 3’s development and launch and its ongoing battery recall program, which both led it to drastically cut its full-year profit forecast

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