Outside the Fnac store, right on the large side walk of “la plus belle avenue du monde”, security people in red jackets were ready to guard a big line of PS3 lovers. All that was missing was the line itelf. At 8pm, a young man sauntered along. A bevy of cameras and microphones turned to him. But he didn’t have anything to say.
Aah Paris in the spring. Sony missed a November launch, but the temperature said otherwise. This might have been a Spring arrival, but there was little evidence of skipping through daffodils. Everyone out of doors in Paris was freezing cold.
And who wants to wait several hours in the freezing cold for a €599 machine? That was the question obsessing the media here last night. In between debates on the presidential campaign, the only talk was ‘why PS3 is so expensive?’.
moscallout "A large illuminated and trumpeting boat passed by with Xbox 360 logos all over." /moscallout
In Paris, two days before launch, it was still possible to make a guaranteed PS3 reservation for the first day, or night. Videogame chain store Games, asked for a €50 deposit (US$66), as did Virgin Megastores. For the same €50 deposit, the other big French videogame chain store Micromania offered a free second year guarantee.
Fnac, the most important book, DVD, music and videogame chain store in France held the official event for the night launch. Although, on the Champs-Elysées Fnac store, where the launch event started Thursday at noon with PS3 playable demonstrations, you could buy the PS3 at full price (it works out at $800, thanks to the euro/dollar exchange rate) and skip right to cash register at midnight.
When asked, most stores confirmed the day before that even without a reservation, anybody could come and get a console. The small Fnac store located on the site of the former famous Bastille, revealed having five reservations and 36 PS3 units in stock. Even so, 60,000 PS3 have been reserved from the 100,000 units shipped to France says Sony, “more than the PlayStation 2 and the PSP when they launched”. And 150,000 units total will be available in the next ten days.
One thing is clear, Sony did its best to get the media’s attention. You can’t pick a more renowned spot in Paris than Les Champs-Elysées, and Sony threw in a Louisiana-like paddle boat at the feet of The Eiffel Tower. From a PR point of view, this was at least what Sony needed to take on Microsoft’s incredible fireworks display that illuminated the sky for the launch of Windows Vista in January.