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Thursday, 26 October, 2000, 20:08 GMT 21:08 UK
US stampede for Playstation 2
Software Inc, NYC
Some shops opened at midnight for the launch
Sony has launched Playstation 2 in the US, with some fans queuing all night to get their hands on the much-hyped games console.

Playstation fans
fans queued all night

But supplies were thin on the ground as stores opened on Thursday and many customers went home empty handed.

By early afternoon Playstation 2 was on sale at online auction site ebay for $800 - more than double the retail price.

The new console has been hyped as the most realistic games system ever - but an industrywide shortage of a vital component has limited production.

Fighting

Many US stores pre-sold orders for Playstation 2, leaving few consoles on the shelves.

Police were called to one Wal-Mart store after receiving reports of people threatening others waiting in line for the consoles.

Lucky winner
At one store only the first 20 people were guaranteed a console

There were other reports of fights breaking out as supplies disappeared from shelves.

Sony insists that the shortage is not a pre-conceived marketing scheme designed to boost demand.

UK launch

In the UK Sony is already taking orders in high street stores for PlayStation 2.

The company says ordering in advance is the only way to ensure getting the console - which will not be launched until November - in time for Christmas.

PlayStation 2 features stereo sound, spectacular graphics and will have internet downloads available from 2001.

It has a 128-bit microprocessor dubbed the "Emotion Engine" and includes a DVD player. It is 'backwards compatible' with the first Playstation can and play most of the original titles.

Rival systems

But some critics have warned that the new PlayStation may not live up to the hype and that new systems from rival companies due next year could leave PlayStation 2 dead in the water.

Microsoft is planning to pump $500m into a worldwide marketing campaign for its Xbox video game player.

In October 2001, another Sony rival, Nintendo, is due to unveil its latest console, Gamecube, which promises "superlative graphics and internet access".

Unlike the PlayStation 2, it will not be able to play DVDs.

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PlayStation 2 available - to order
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