PS3 Pre-Orders Sell Out in Minutes

The nation's largest gaming retailer GameStop began taking pre-orders Tuesday for the PlayStation 3 at both its GameStop and EB Games locations across the US, however in most cases the stores sold through their scant allotments almost immediately.

"Due to extremely limited supply, we expect to deplete this allocation very quickly, most likely in minutes," GameStop said.

Press reports indicate most stores were promised eight consoles, however some higher-traffic stores will receive double shipments. At each store, employee pre-orders have been limited to two consoles. GameStop is asking for a $100 deposit to place the order. That leaves only six PS3 units for customers.

Although the deposit secures a system, it does not guarantee the individual will receive a PS3 at launch: GameStop added a clause into the agreement stating that it had no control over shipping or production issues.

In the near future, the company plans to offer an online pre-order system, however software to handle the orders has not yet been completed. In either case, only one PS3 can be pre-ordered per household.

The small pre-order offering highlights the possible early troubles that Sony's next-generation console could have at retail. While Microsoft's Xbox 360 is expected to have wide availability, the PS3 will likely struggle to keep pace with demand.

Add to the mix the launch of the Nintendo Wii, which so far seems to be free of production issues, and it could mean holiday sales troubles for the already-struggling Japanese electronics maker.

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