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Aruna Lyengar reports.
"Some analysts say the company is trying to create scarcity value"
 real 56k

Friday, 24 November, 2000, 10:59 GMT
Sony's marketing hype
Sony Playstation 2,
Sony claims the PS2 is the next generation of video games.
Christmas will came early today for an exclusive group of people who got their hands on one of this years most sought- after objects this year, Playstation 2. Sony launched its new games console today - but is the product up to the hype? The BBC's Aruna Lyengar reports.

There were queues in Leicester Square at midnight as games fans line up for the privilege of buying a Playstation 2.

Only 165,000 playstation 2's are available in the UK. And they've all already been reserved. It may be well into next year before you can get one in the shops.

Ray McGuire, UK Managing Director, Sony Computer Entertainment
The demand was just too great to satisfy everyone.

'It is so popular they're all sold out' is a cry we've all become wearily used to in the run-up to Christmas. Now with the launch of Playstation 2 Sony has taken this to a fine art form.

You had to preregister to even have a chance of getting hold of one.

Underestimating demand?

Sony claims the demand was just too strong, and there have been supply problems in Japan.

Ray McGuire UK, Managing Director, Sony Computer Entertainment told the BBC that "the passion to get as many pieces of product into people's hands is just overwhelming."

"We would love for everybody to be satisfied but it is a matter of logistics, we just can't do it."

But some analysts are sceptical of these claims and say the company is trying to create scarcity value.

"If they sell too quickly then they flood the market and it becomes a commodity product," said Nick Jankel-Elliott from Happy Dog Group Partners, Business Consultancy.

"If they build penetrartion of the product or the brand in society it has a lot more longevity."

Others criticise Sony saying the UK allocation is paltry compared to that of the United States and Japan.

At launch day in Japan this spring one million units were sold in the first weekend.

New ad approach

Sony claims the PS2 is the next generation of video games. It promises to take you to the third place. It is not the office, it is not at home, but somewhere in your mind.

But some think 300 may be rather too large a price to pay for a console and DVD player, at least until a better range of games are available.

"There are two very good games, the rest lacklustre...dull in my opinion," said Steve Boxer of Computer Trade Weekly.

He suggests customers would be better off waiting until better games come on the market, and predicts the price of the console may come down by the end of next year.

But there are always gizmo addicts who want the latest kit - even if some of us can't understand what the fuss is all about.

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