PS3 and Wii lines: ranting about gray markets

the homonculus GREED - from Full Metal AlchemistLet’s pretend that a guy pays 50 homeless people to line up for him. And let’s say he manages to buy 50 PS3 units. Then he sells all 50 – or maybe he really is a PS3 fan and he only sells 49. Still, those 49 units go on eBay and are bought by people online who have money to burn (fellow QJ blogger Karl swears that Bill Gates bought a PS3, LOL).

But shouldn’t those 49 units have gone to the real fans who stood in line for a PS3? The same thing goes for those who lined up for a Wii.

It’s OK if you, our best gaming buddy who often pwns us on Xbox Live, line up with somebody else so you can buy two PS3s. You’re in the same company as students who baby-sit or tutor (and don’t pay income tax) – you’re just trying to pay for college tuition. It’s “just” capitalism, right?

But what if it was a dozen units? What if it was several dozen? Some people really believe in this conspiracy theory: the Japanese mafia (yakuza) paid people like poor Chinese immigrants and elderly women to line up so that the yakuza could buy hundreds or thousands of PS3s to corner the gray market.

If you hoarded a dozen PS3s, then you’re also trying to set up your own gray market. You’re just a scalper.

If this was Neil Gaiman, there’d be a limit to how many books can be signed. Because he doesn’t want a gray market of his books. He himself speaks out against people who get books autographed in order to sell them to other fans. Because he cares about his fans.

The irony is that the games industry isn’t as fan-driven as authors, and it looks like hoarding or scalping is actually beneficial.? WTF? Scalpers contribute to market liquidity (bet most of you haven’t considered that short-term market benefit) so it’s theoretically good for business (although don’t you think that they hurt the market in the long run by affecting consumer behavior and loyalty…). Then the Wii and PS3 consoles go to eBay, and the console maker gets added publicity.

End of rant.

In related news: I just picked up a news lead from CNET. People who lined up for the Wii played on their DS handhelds, ate food (the writer said he felt bad for janitors who have to clean up after the line is gone), read books, played cards, played guitar, slept, etc. And that ends the news.

Back to ranting.

What we’d like to hear is a real apology and a real condemnation from the console makers. Yes, they’re happy because business is good, but it was not good for the people who lined up for nothing!

Can we hear an “We are sincerely and truly sorry if you lined up for nothing” addressed to the gamers who lined up for nothing. And can we have Sony or Nintendo say, “For all you hoarders, screw you. We didn’t make consoles for you. We make consoles for our fans.” That would be nice to hear.

the homonculus GREED - from Full Metal AlchemistLet’s pretend that a guy pays 50 homeless people to line up for him. And let’s say he manages to buy 50 PS3 units. Then he sells all 50 – or maybe he really is a PS3 fan and he only sells 49. Still, those 49 units go on eBay and are bought by people online who have money to burn (fellow QJ blogger Karl swears that Bill Gates bought a PS3, LOL).

But shouldn’t those 49 units have gone to the real fans who stood in line for a PS3? The same thing goes for those who lined up for a Wii.

It’s OK if you, our best gaming buddy who often pwns us on Xbox Live, line up with somebody else so you can buy two PS3s. You’re in the same company as students who baby-sit or tutor (and don’t pay income tax) – you’re just trying to pay for college tuition. It’s “just” capitalism, right?

But what if it was a dozen units? What if it was several dozen? Some people really believe in this conspiracy theory: the Japanese mafia (yakuza) paid people like poor Chinese immigrants and elderly women to line up so that the yakuza could buy hundreds or thousands of PS3s to corner the gray market.

If you hoarded a dozen PS3s, then you’re also trying to set up your own gray market. You’re just a scalper.

If this was Neil Gaiman, there’d be a limit to how many books can be signed. Because he doesn’t want a gray market of his books. He himself speaks out against people who get books autographed in order to sell them to other fans. Because he cares about his fans.

The irony is that the games industry isn’t as fan-driven as authors, and it looks like hoarding or scalping is actually beneficial.? WTF? Scalpers contribute to market liquidity (bet most of you haven’t considered that short-term market benefit) so it’s theoretically good for business (although don’t you think that they hurt the market in the long run by affecting consumer behavior and loyalty…). Then the Wii and PS3 consoles go to eBay, and the console maker gets added publicity.

End of rant.

In related news: I just picked up a news lead from CNET. People who lined up for the Wii played on their DS handhelds, ate food (the writer said he felt bad for janitors who have to clean up after the line is gone), read books, played cards, played guitar, slept, etc. And that ends the news.

Back to ranting.

What we’d like to hear is a real apology and a real condemnation from the console makers. Yes, they’re happy because business is good, but it was not good for the people who lined up for nothing!

Can we hear an “We are sincerely and truly sorry if you lined up for nothing” addressed to the gamers who lined up for nothing. And can we have Sony or Nintendo say, “For all you hoarders, screw you. We didn’t make consoles for you. We make consoles for our fans.” That would be nice to hear.

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