With just 165,000 consoles released to pre-ordering customers in the UK, Play-Station2 (PS2) almost guaranteed its status as the year's most sought-after product. Sony denied rationing supply to 'boost hype', stating that 'it did not make good business sense to restrict the number of machines at the busiest shopping time of the year' (Daily Star, 25/11).
The pre-ordering system for PS2 may have avoided the customer scuffles seen in shops on the continent, but arguably limited the launch's impact. The Daily Telegraph asserted that the 'whole UK launch has been farcical' (23/11). Within 24 hours of the launch the press were reporting a black market for the machines on the internet at up to three times the RRP (News of the World, 26/11).
Among PS2's more ardent supporters was The Mirror, which headlined its review 'PS2 good to be true' (25/11). The Independent's Cliff Joseph stayed on the fence, preferring to see the launch as a 'warm-up' for the 'real battle of the boxes' between PS2, Nintendo Gamecube and Microsoft Xbox scheduled for Christmas 2001 (25/11).
Analysis and commentary by Echo Research. More information can be found at: www.echoResearch.com.