MELISSA BLOCK, host:
Ganzo for gaming or making a quick buck, those are the two main reasons people formed long lines outside electronic stores all over the country last night as Sony's new video game machine went up for sale.
(Soundbite of music)
Those are the sounds of the Playstation 3, the two models retail for about $500 and $600.
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
In the lines, there was even some violence. In Putnam, Connecticut, two gunmen tried to rob customers. One person was shot. There was no violence at a Best Buy store in Falls Church, Virginia. People there have been lined up for days with wads of cash to spend on PS3 machines and games.
Mr. VLADIMIR GUZMAN: With the insurance service plan, probably about a grand. Yeah, I came with the money.
NORRIS: Vladimir Guzman was the first in line when he got there Tuesday night.
BLOCK: Customer Tony Lee bought a Playstation and gave it up right away to someone who was willing to pay far more.
Mr. TONY LEE: Well, he has $2,000 in cash right now, and my friend is going with him to to the bank right now to get the other $500. We are not giving him the PS3 unless we have the cash in hand.
NORRIS: He did get his $2,500. Others are selling their machines on eBay or Craigslist. Some are going for more than $3,000. And it could all happen all over again when Nintendo's new machine, the Wii, hits stores this weekend.
Mark MacDonald is director of Gamevideos.com in San Francisco.
Mr. MARK MACDONALD (Gamesvideos.com): Even people who are real hardcore gamers, when you tell them hey, you can quadruple your money on these things start thinking well, I really did want one. But you know, I could buy TV and a Playstation 3 later for that much money if I can sell it now. I think that was sort of the prevalent mood.
NORRIS: Along with the huge demand, there's a supply problem. Why are there so few of these things?
Mr. MACDONALD: Yeah, well, it has this new technology, the cell chip. Anytime you start creating new technology like that, takes a long time for just the factories to ramp up production. They really had to make this Christmas to stay competitive with the Xbox 360 that launched last year and the Nintendo Wii, which is launching later this weekend. And they are not even launching in Europe this fall, which they had planned to do, at all just to make sure that they could get a few more in the U.S. pipeline.
And, I think it won't be until maybe February or March of next year till you can walk into your local store and see PS3s sitting there on the shelf. But who knows?
NORRIS: Nintendo's version of all these, the Wii, W-I-I, goes on sale on Sunday. It's about half the price. What do you think? Have you compared the two?
Mr. MACDONALD: Yeah, it's hard to compare the two because they go in such different directions. The Playstation 3 has a lot of really fancy, very expensive technology and has the blue ray player, which is a new form of DVD, which is even more high resolution. It has this cell chip that allows it to do all these crazy physics. The games look, you know, remarkable graphically.
The Nintendo Wii has gone a real different direction where the games look a little better than Nintendo's last system, but nowhere near the dramatic difference of the Playstation 3. Really the emphasis for the Wii is in the controller, which is a motion sensing controller. So if you're holding it and swinging it, say, like a tennis racket, it might work like that in a tennis game. Or you know, bowling, you actually hold the controller, make a bowling motion and that's how you actually play the game.
The Playstation 3 also has a version of that, but it's not quite as in depth as the Wii's. So the Wii is really cheap. It's more family friendly, whereas the Playstation 3, especially at this point, is really a hardcore gaming system.
NORRIS: Mark MacDonald, thanks very much.
Mr. MACDONALD: Thank you.
NORRIS: Mark MacDonald is director of Gamevideos.com.