Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Rocket science....

I know that coming up with content for publishing can be hard sometimes. You've got to not only come up with something, but then write it, and on top of that hope it doesn't suck.

Reading GameSpot's "Rumor Control" tonight, I had to laugh, since I think maybe they're having a tough time coming up with stuff to write about (which shouldn't be hard; Jack Thompson has been going out of his way lately to make a fool out of himself).

Their newest rumor, regarding Xbox 360 shortages, is feeble at best.

Did you know the Xbox 360 is coming out? Did you know it's coming out in 17 days? Exactly; you didn't.

GameSpot is trying to decide whether or not Microsoft would do something so insidious, as to make the public think that their new console is tough to come across. Why would they do that? Well, it would give people the impression that the console is selling well; they can say they've shipped "x" amount of units, and there's no way to really check, but if all the stores are sold out, they must be telling the truth, right? On top of that, going back to my opening statement, local nightly news will pick up on the topic since there isn't always an abundance of outstanding topics for local news to talk about. What does this add up to? Increased attention on their console, and later shipments either selling out when they arrive, or selling out before they arrive.

Sounds like a genius plan, right? If you think so, you're not correct.

Nintendo did this years ago, and Sony did it (with a higher profile) with the PS2. Really, many systems have had this plan used during their launch, the Xbox and the Gamecube also included.

Do you remember the PS2 launch? You couldn't find them in stores, there were lines everywhere, it was all over the news, they were going for $500+ on eBay, and whenever some showed up at a store, they were gone immediately. Before that, Nintendo did the same thing with the N64. Toys R Us would put up nice little notes detailing why they didn't have any games or accessories (much less systems), and everyone thinks the company has a juggernaut on their hands. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the same thing happened even with earlier systems. It's how you sell new systems, people!

Sony took a different route with the launch of the PSP, and it wasn't as successful as they had hoped it would be. Systems were widely available (which may have had something to do with the outrageous $250 price point, for a HANDHELD, but that's neither here nor there), as were games, so the hype machine didn't develop for that system. The PSP has done fairly well, but you can quite easily argue that it would have done better had Sony taken the "shortage" strategy.

GameSpot finishes their analysis of this "rumor" by letting us know that there is no question there will be an Xbox 360 shortage. WOW, outstanding. Reading stuff like this makes me think that the argument gamers are older now, and people who played games sometime ago are still playing them, may be false. These writers aren't even old enough to remember the PS2 launch? Either that or they don't think their readers are.

Just so you know, the 360, the PS3, and the Revolution will all be in short supply when they are released, because that's what the retailers and the manufacturers want. Whether you decide to let that impact whether or not you buy, that's up to you.

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