Gamer Shot In Line For PlayStation 3
Gunmen Attempt Robbery Of Gamers At Connecticut Wal-Mart
(CBS/AP) Two armed thugs tried to rob a line of people waiting to buy the new Playstation 3 gaming console early Friday and shot a 21-year-old Massachusetts man who refused to give up the money in the chest and shoulder, authorities said.
The two confronted 15 to 20 people who were in line outside a Wal-Mart store shortly after 3 a.m. and demanded money, said Lt. J. Paul Vance, a spokesman for the state police. The new Sony consoles are selling for around $500 to $600.
"One of the patrons resisted. That patron was shot," Vance said.
He said the two gunmen fled and the victim was taken to University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester. There was no immediate word on the victim's condition.
Vance said police were searching for the suspects.
Aside from police tape strung up at the scene, things had returned to normal by Friday morning at the Wal-Mart in Putnam, a rural town of about 9,000 in the far northeast corner of Connecticut near the Massachusetts and Rhode Island borders.
Vance said both suspects were white young men believed to be in their teens. One suspect was wearing all black, including a ski mask, and was brandishing a silver handgun. The second suspect was wearing all black and was carrying what appeared to be a shotgun.
With Sony promising only 400,000 systems for the nationwide launch, the chance of disappointment was high. While retailers tried to keep expectations low, lines snaked around the block at many stores - even those that weren't going to begin sales until later Friday.
Short supplies and strong demand were feared to be a formula for trouble as the PS3 hit store shelves, a half-year late because of problems completing work on the console's built-in, next-generation DVD player.
In Palmdale, Calif., authorities shut down a Super Wal-Mart after some shoppers got rowdy late Wednesday. In West Bend, Wis., a 19-year-old man was injured when he ran into a pole racing with 50 others for one of 10 spots outside a Wal-Mart. A Best Buy in Boston, aware it had only 140 of the consoles, got smart — employees gave out tickets to the first 140 people in line so everyone could go home.
At San Francisco's Sony Metreon mall, a "sacred scroll" notebook kept track of the first 505 people in line so they could go to the bathroom or pick up food without losing their spots. Some got wristbands guaranteeing a unit.
There was even a vibrant economy in Mount Laurel, N.J. Restaurants not only delivered pizza and wings, but also dispatched workers to hand out menus. The Dick's Sporting Goods store nearby sold camp chairs and more than a few tents.
Even as retailers drummed up publicity by throwing parties and inviting celebrities, Best Buy Co. Inc., Circuit City Stores Inc. and others warned customers all week that supplies would be tight.
Sony promised the 400,000 machines in the United States for Friday's launch and about 1 million by year's end. Worldwide, it was expecting 2 million this year, half its original projections.
Jack Tretton, executive vice president at Sony Computer Entertainment America, said retailers will be receiving new PlayStations daily - expedited by plane rather than ships.
"At some point we want to get to some degree of normalcy, but that remains to be seen," Tretton told The Associated Press, adding that seeing all the people camped out and lined up for the console "kind of makes all the effort worth it."
Enthusiasm for the PlayStation 3 wasn't dampened by its high price tag - $500 for the basic model with a 20-gigabyte hard drive and $600 for the 60-gigabyte version, which also has built-in wireless.
By contrast, Nintendo Co.'s Wii, which goes on sale Sunday in the U.S., retails for $250. Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360, which had a year's head start over rivals, sells for $300 to $400.
Sony crammed the PlayStation 3 with the very latest in cutting-edge technology, and it dominated the previous generation of consoles with 70 percent of the global market.
At a midnight launch event at a Circuit City in New York, Sergio Rodriguez was the first to walk away with the PS3 as people still standing in line outside the store cheered. He had been waiting outside since Sunday.
"This is the best game ever. It's so worth the wait," the 25-year-old graphics designer said. "Some people may call me crazy, but I really love to play."
Saby Madrigal, an 18-year-old college student who worked for a month at a liquor store to save for a PS3, waited in line outside the Circuit City for 24 hours without success. Still, she vowed to keep looking.
"For the work we had to do to get all the money to get the stupid system, I'm going to search every single store in town," she said. "I don't care, I'm going to get it."
Some who saw long lines at the midnight launches simply went to another location, with later openings and smaller crowds. Nonetheless, about 50 people were in front of Ahmad Mustafa, 24, outside a New York Best Buy with only 34 units available.
Nathaniel Lord, who camped out for three nights at a Best Buy in West Hollywood, Calif., spent more than $700 on a console and game.
"I thought about going home to shower first because I haven't showered in three days, but I think I'm just going to get another energy drink, log on and get started," said Lord, a recent graduate of California Institute of the Arts.
Sony, which has contended with laptop battery recalls and trails rivals in key products such as music players and liquid crystal displays, is counting on the PS3 to maintain and build its market lead in consoles.
Some customers were buying PS3 machines for themselves or as gifts, but many were hoping to resell them at a profit. Units were fetching several thousand dollars early Friday at the eBay Inc. auction site.
James Salterio, 27, explained the reason for his two-day camp-out outside a west Houston Target Corp. store: Greed.
"I'm gonna sell mine," Salterio said, figuring he could make anywhere between $1,500 and $4,000. His 21-year-old brother, a gamer, wanted company in line, so Salterio decided to make a profit in the process.
"It's capitalism at work," he said.
Edgar Alcala, 18, who grabbed one of the first spots in line at San Francisco's Sony Metreon Mall on Wednesday morning, said he was looking forward to a warm, dry bed - and a hefty profit.
"When I get home, I'm going to take a quick picture of it, slap it on eBay and go to sleep," Alcala said minutes before the store's doors opened at midnight Friday.
Same thing happened when Sony released the PS2, "coincidentally" right before Christmas as well. I remember we were living in FL at the time, and some crooks just waited until one guy walked out of the store with his and then robbed him of it in the parking lot. The things are already all over eBay for $1300 to $2600. And the sad thing is parents will spend that just so their kid can have one under the tree. I love my son, but he does not get $1000's worth of stuff for Christmas.
Except for the rare, occassional online FLASH/JAVA game, I gave up computer games years ago - I used to play them when they were all on floppy disks, and U could trade and copy games w/ friends very easily...
Diablo and Diablo 2 were the last games I played regularly...