Analyst: Less Than 200k PS3s for US

At least one analyst has publicly stated that Sony is nowhere near its earlier stated goal of 400,000 PS3 units for the U.S. launch, raising the possibility that it may be very difficult to locate an available console when it arrives on Friday.

Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian said those who did not preorder the PS3 might not be able to locate an available system. "We expect Sony to deliver 150-200k units to stores in the United States for the launch," he wrote in a note to clients.

Add this to news from GameStop and EB Games earlier in the week that they would be unable to fulfill the amount of pre-orders they took, and it adds up to a lot of unhappy gamers come Friday morning.


"We are beginning to notify our customers that our initial shipment of PS3 systems will not be what we expected," a company representative told gaming news site GameSpot. "As this is not an ideal situation, we are asking employees to wait to purchase systems until the second shipment. We are anticipating having systems to cover reservations before Christmas."

News reports also indicate that companies such as Best Buy are apparently taking advantage of the shortages by offering those waiting in line a special deal on the Xbox 360. While a leaked internal document has confirmed such an arrangement, Best Buy has publicly denied its existence.

Such meager numbers for the U.S. launch also hurt the PS3s total sales domestically. Sebastian said his firm now only expects about 750,000 consoles to ship by the end of the year. He painted a much different picture for the Wii, however.

"We expect a more robust launch from Nintendo, with at least 1.2 million units sold in the US and up to four million units shipped worldwide by year end," Sebastian wrote.

In any case, he said that console sales would not necessarily equate to significantly increased software sales until the new consoles reach "critical mass" sometime early next year.

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