Sony PS3 Madness

By now we have all probably seen the amazing devotion a die hard group of people have had to the Sony PS3 on the news, with a stampede at a Wal-Mart up north, shooting at people in a PS3 line in New England, and people traveling from outside the U.S. to wait in line for a PS3 as well.

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I had opportunity to be in the Miami area yesterday (the pre-launch day) for shopping of my own. Okay – I did entertain a brief thought I might be able to score a PS3 by waiting in line too, but once I saw the line in front of Circuit City (see above), which I learned had started on Tuesday, I gave up that hope.

If you look closely at that picture, you’ll see Gaming Granny there on the right. I can’t compete in a line with the inherent patience someone like Gaming Granny has, never mind that the Circuit City had only 40 units coming in and there were already more than 40 people in line (the folks in the rear either being optimists or ignorant – not sure which is worse).

I must say I was impressed that some gamer managed to rope his grandmother into waiting in line for him while he was off doing something else (working?). I heard that elsewhere folks were hiring the homeless to wait in line for them. Capitalism at its best, I’m sure.

The line at BestBuy in Hialeah was even worse – probably close to 100 people. I asked the BestBuy employee monitoring the line if he had a box of Kleenex for the folks at the back of the line who would be crying after spending a couple of days waiting for nothing. He said, “Let them cry on the sidewalk.” Heartless, and full of disdain. He was probably bitter because store employees were not able to buy units themselves at launch.

An interview published in USA Today quoted a young man who was waiting in line to buy a PS3 – not to play it, but instead to sell it on-line, because he needed the money. And with PS3s listing on eBay for numbers as high as $2000, waiting in line for a couple of days for a 300% return isn’t a bad deal, I guess.

For those looking to buy launch time PS3s to actually play themselves, I question how many of them have the requisite display hardware necessary to really let the PS3 show off its mettle. That means a TV or display device with HDMI in and 1080p display capability. Very few HDTVs on the market presently offer 1080p resolution, and the ones that do aren’t exactly cheap – the price of a loaded PS3 is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of a decent sized HDTV with 1080p capabilities.

Sure, you can use a PS3 with a regular TV or even a newer (but not bleeding edge) 720p resolution HDTV, but that’s like owning a Corvette and driving the speed limit. It’s a waste, in my humble opinion.

With that in mind, planning for my future PS3 purchase once availability has improved, I bought a new Samsung 61” DLP HDTV with 1080p capability yesterday to replace my older 62” DLP 720p HDTV. Better yet, once it’s delivered on Bonaire, I will already be able to take advantage of it because a recent Xbox 360 update delivered by Xbox Live has enabled the Xbox 360 to output 1080p resolution signals both for games that support it, as well as with the new HD DVD add-on drive for the Xbox 360 (which I have also just picked up).

One parting comment – think of what would be possible politically in the U.S. if only those folks who slavishly waited in line for days for a gadget (or perceived profit) would be willing to commit the same level of devotion to political change in the U.S., perhaps for a third political party, or campaign reform, or… The mind boggles.