PS3 and Wii for me? Not yet.

Things sure change. A few years ago I would have happily waited in line for a Wii and a PS3, but those days are gone. I am no longer a ‘hardcore gamer’ – and yes, I still hate that term – I think I can wait for the madness to die down and maybe even wait for a price drop. I decided several months ago that I was not springing for a PS3 and while I have been tempted to get a Wii, I pretty much convinced myself that I could wait until after the Christmas rush. Some guys at work talked about standing in line for a Wii, but after some reflection I decided that the time was not right for a new system, even one as potentially nifty as the Nintendo Wii.

The reality of my gaming habits these days is that I just do not have much time for gaming. I have not played my PSP since September, and while Joshua plays the PS2, I have not played it since August. And the Game Cube? It has not been hooked up to a TV since I moved into my house back in January. The only PC games I play these days are OOTPB 2006 (enough for Chris not to kick me out of his league) and WoW, which I have not played in at least three weeks. So you could same that I am in a gaming dry spell right now.

Columbus, GA recently made national headlines when a dentist planned to hire a bunch of temp workers to stand in line to purchase 15 PS3 systems.

Newlin wanted to buy 15 of the consoles as Christmas gifts for grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He was prepared to buy available units from Columbus and Phenix City Wal-Mart stores, as well as Auburn and Opelika, using a crew of 60 workers he cycled through in eight-hour shifts, according to one of the temps he hired.

Crazy stuff. Apparently the dentist abandon the plan because other potential buyers, standing in the various lines, got wind of the plan and became angry. Not sure if they were mad because they did not think of the idea or because they could not afford to hire someone to stand in line. Capitalism at its best; no problems with a well executed plan, but I guess I would be pissed if I did not get a system because some guy in front of me was paid to stand in line and I did not get a system. If I got mine, who cares?

I will have to write later about more factors that played into my ‘not buying a PS3 system right now’ reasoning, but suffice it to say that I do not see a system seller in the launch lineup. This is really the same reason I did not pick up an Xbox (or a Xbox 360); I am not worried about the money – although the PS3 cames in at a hefty price tag – I just do not see anything I *have* to play. If anything, you could say that I have some degree of brand loyalty towards Sony, after all I have a hell of a PS1/PS2 gaming library, but what is the point in buying a PS3 if there is nothing for me to play?

The Wii looks interesting, and while I thought about doing the preorder thing, the bundles really sucked, which sealed the deal for me. I am not going to do the bundle thing about. If I *really* wanted a system, I figured I would take my chances on get a Wii later, be it at launch or sometime after Christmas. So here we are on release day, with no system to play. Feels kind of strange, even for a gamer moving into the mainstream of gaming.

What does the Columbus Wii scene look like? Yesterday before 9AM there was already a line of 10 or so folks at Wal*Mart for about 25 units. This morning I made an early trip to Target to pick some stuff for a trip to London next week. On the way, I noticed a line of 35-50 folks standing outside of Best Buy. Once I made it to Target, some lady told me that they were already sold out by 9AM (not sure how many units they received). The lady was surprised that I was not there for a Wii. Target must have turned away a lot of disappointed folks.

Out of curiosity, on my way home I drove by Circuit City to check out the line. Some dude told me that they had 21 units, and the 21st person was in line before 7:30AM. He offered me his spot for $300. I told asked why I would want to pay $300 for something that only cost $249. Another smart ass answered because his spot was going for $500, and there were not going to be any more Wii units in Columbus. He may be right, but I told him no thanks.

Down the strip, no one was in line at Toys R Us. Not sure if this was because they were already out of units, or if it was because they did not open until 11AM. Gamestop and EBGames were not open; I guess they sold out at midnight.

On my way home I asked my wife to call Best Buy to see what things were like; they were already sold out. A friend of mine told me that one of the local K-Marts only received two units; Sony did not bother to send them any PS3 systems. Ouch.

Not sure what the numbers are going to look like, but I assume that Nintendo sold a lot more systems than Sony (based on the release numbers that have been posted on various web sites). Even at the high price, I think the PS3 is going to sell well; just imagine 10% of the 100 million PS2 owners wanting a PS3. It will be interesting to see what Nintendo does; I could see them climbing neck-and-neck with the Xbox 360 very quickly.

Sitting on the sidelines has never been more interesting. It is going to be fun watching this console race unfold.


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