US, November 9, 2006 - Yes, you read that right! We've got a story about something not happening!
In truth, something not happening is something that happens every day, and we don't, in general, report on such non occurrences. For instance, today, Sega didn't announce the Dreamcast 2 (from what we hear, that won't happen until January 15th). Turn to the Dreamcast channel, however, and you won't see a story about Sega having not announced its new platform.
But given that the PlayStation 3 launches only once in a... well, ever... we're making an exception to the general rule of not reporting about nothing, and reporting about nothing, and with pictures!
And so, we can report today that no one has started to line up for the PlayStation 3 in Japan. This is based on a tour we took today of Tokyo's biggest game shops. That's right, the Bics, the Yodobashis, the Tsutayas, the Sakurayas, the Don Quixotes. No matter where we looked, no one was lining up for the 11/11 launch.
This is a picture of people not lining up for the PS3.
It's also a picture of people not lining up for Dreamcast 2.
There's a reason. Many major retailers, including the Bics and the Yodobashis, are resorting to a lottery system for the PS3. A Bic Camera local to IGN Japan's headquarters in Shibuya's love hotel district will start handing out lottery tickets at 9:00 AM on Saturday. The drawing will be held at 11:00AM. Those who win will be able to select from a 60 Gig or 20 Gig model. The others... will probably be stoned to death.
Bic Camera's lottery program.
Some stores are going with traditional line-up systems. Asking around (in Japanese no less!), IGN was able to learn that the Bic Camera in Yurakucho and the Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku will start selling the PS3 at, respectively, 7:00 AM and 8:30 AM on Saturday morning on a first come, first serve basis.
Why the difference in opening times? The store reps wouldn't confirm this, but Sony Computer Entertainment boss Ken Kutaragi will apparently be making appearances at both locations. They're separated by about 30 minutes or so by train, so Kutaragi should have just enough time to hand off the first (also likely the last -- snap!) PS3 at one location before moving on to the other.
Reps at the Yurakucho Bic told us that we're allowed to line up whenever the first people begin lining up. We're not sure if this means that we're not allowed to be the first ones in line. If the rep was worried about Kutaragi not being able to greet us in English, there shouldn't be much of a problem, as the Sony chief speaks English good.
At least Sony has some slick retail displays!
Famitsu's online publication reports that some shops (the site wouldn't name names) were turning people away from lining up too early. Some punks apparently tried to line up on Wednesday night at one shop. The store refused them, citing worries about disturbances to the neighbors, and plans on doing the same to people who attempt to line up Thursday night. Friday night (the night IGN intends to camp out), however, is a whole different story.
So the number of people waiting in line for a videogame system in Tokyo is... zero, right? Nope! There were actually lots of people waiting in line today as we made the rounds around the city. Only they weren't waiting for a PlayStation 3.
All those people may be standing in front of a PS3 display, but they're actually waiting for a Wii. Mega media retailer Tsutaya started Wii pre-orders on Thursday morning at 10:00, following a quiet announcement a couple of days prior. IGN checked in at the Shibuya Tsutaya outlet at 10:30 and found a line of at least 200 people waiting to pre-order a unit.
Unlike the 2004 DS pre-order program, this was a no-money down transaction, but 200 people lined up for a pre-order is quite a feat. Tsutaya closed off the line at around 11:00, and even then the last few people didn't complete their transaction until past 1:00.
And all these people? When we saw this line at the Bic Camera in Yurakucho, we immediately assumed that we'd found the PS3 line we'd been so longing to see. But no, this was a line for, of all things, the DS Lite. Bic had taken shipment of the popular system, which is still, in general, sold out wherever you go, and people were lining up to get one. This scene was repeated at Bics throughout Tokyo.
There will presumably be something like it on Saturday for the PS3, at least at the few shops that aren't resorting to a lottery system.