Small-scale retail chain has triggered a ‘chain reaction’
Retailers in Italy have broken a very sacred rule concerning gaming consoles: don’t sell before launch date. Not two days early
anyway. Small-scale retail chain Darty took out adverts in national newspapers. They said that customers would be able to get their PS3 at Darty stores from 7pm on Wednesday, even though the official launch date is set for Friday March 23, as everyone already knows.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz Davide Sher of Trade Interactive Multimedia (TIM) magazine (the leading specialist publication for Italian retailers) said: "It’s a strange situation. This is the first time retailers have broken street dates by two days." "It’s a strange situation. This is the first time retailers have broken street dates by two days."
But wait, there’s more. You wouldn’t even guess what happened next.
Rival retailer Media World (a 20 per cent shareholder of the market),
announced immediately that its doors would open much earlier, at 9am on
Wednesday. Now, speaking of retail chains, all this turned into a chain
reaction, as retail chain GameStop stated that even though their policy
clearly states they sell right at launch date no matter what, they may
be forced to open their doors to customers early too.
Hey everybody, let’s go to Italy! Sher also said: "The mainstream
consumer electronics retailers get their PS3 stock early, so they can
start selling early. But many specialist retailers don’t have any units
yet and won’t receive any until Friday morning. This puts them at a
real disadvantage," thus confirming that PS3s did sell this morning at
Media World. Needless to say this will present other retailers with a
Sony spokesmen also talked to GI and said that "Sony Computer
Entertainment Europe is deeply disappointed by the unilateral decision
of some Italian retail chains to commence the sale of PlayStation 3 to
consumers before this official launch date. Such decisions run counter
to our policy of consumer protection which seeks to ensure that all of
our consumers have an equal opportunity to purchase PlayStation3."
Sony also implied that they will be extra careful from now on, in
choosing retailers to distribute their machines: “[Sony to] carefully
consider all available options in relation to retailers who have
commenced sale of PlayStation 3 prior to 23rd March 2007".