The PlayStation 4 launch event in San Francisco took place at the Market Street GameStop, well attended by GameStop executives and Sony representatives — and the [a]list daily. The store was completely taken over for the event, with a full array of PS4 demo stations, signage, video monitors, and an enormous pile of PlayStation 4 consoles in boxes ready to get into the hands of eager customers.
Outside, the lines of people were entertained by a DJ interspersed with raffle giveaways of cool items, while spotlights covered the building in PlayStation logos and police kept things in order on the busy sidewalk. GameStop sales associates worked the lines, handing out free PlayStation 4 t-shirts and other goodies while getting customers ready for the big purchase. Part of the process was informing people of all of the things they could add on to their PlayStation 4 pre-order, including games, accessories, and a PlayStation Plus subscription.
GameStop president Tony Bartel chatted with people standing in line, checking on their experience and seeing if they had any questions. Customers were surprised but pleased to have the president of the retail chain talking to them, and Bartel seemed to enjoy the opportunity to get feedback. Queried by the [a]list daily about how the PlayStation 4 launch was going at GameStops around the country, Bartel said that the enthusiasm was high from the reports he’d received. Bartel noted that he’d heard events at other locations were going well, with enthusiastic crowds. Asked to compare this launch event with the PS3 launch back in 2006, Bartel said it seemed even more enthusiastic than what he saw at the PS3 launch.
Availability is always an important question for new hardware, and Bartel was reassuring on that issue. He is pleased by the statement Jack Tretton made that Sony expects to sell 3 million units by the end of the year. Bartel hopes this means GameStop will have a good supply of consoles, since right now he sees no lack of demand. It’s certainly hard to see demand as a problem when you’re standing amidst a couple of hundred people looking to get the new console.
Gamers in line expressed general enthusiasm for the PS4, some just “because it’s new!” “We waited a real long time for a new console, and it’s finally here!” said one eager buyer. Two young women said they were Sony fans all the way back to “the little gray box” and were eager to get the latest PlayStation “for the graphics.” Games that people were picking up ranged from Killzone to Madden to Call of Duty: Ghosts. The most anticipated titles mentioned were Watch Dogs and Infamous: Second Son.
The event was well handled, with sales associates allowing people into the store in ones and twos to pre-ring their orders, so that when midnight struck customers could leave with a PS4 in hand with minimal delay. Customers could also line up to play a PS4 game at the array of demo stations set up downstairs, with a group of players rotated through every ten minutes or so. The festive party atmosphere was enhanced by the many items being given away, including t-shirts, wristbands, and more. Buyers of the PS4 got a PlayStation carrying bag and other goodies just for them. Raffles were held for prizes like a PS4 autographed by Jack Tretton. Members of Twitch TV were there passing out t-shirts. It was a truly memorable event for eager PlayStation fans.
Next week, we’ll see it happen all over again — this time in green! — for the Xbox One launch.