Playstation 2 Hits The Market...Good Luck Finding One

The long awaited Sony Playstation 2 hit retail shelves yesterday, but if you blinked you might have missed it. is reporting that Sony has missed their projected estimates in the number of available units at the time of yesterdayis nationwide launch by half. Customers were scrambling to get their hands on one of 500,000 units, when Sony had originally hoped to have nearly 1 million units on shelves yesterday.

The new Playstation 2 is already becoming a craze in itself, with units selling on eBay for many times more than their store value. According to CNN:

att Collins, 23, was already contemplating how much it would cost to ship it overnight to the person in Tennessee who bought it from him on the eBay auction Web site -- for $600, twice the retail price. As of mid-afternoon on Thursday, some PlayStation 2 units on eBay were selling for upwards of $1,000.

Other than the obvious, why the mad rush for the latest in a packed gaming console market? One of the main advantages that Playstation 2 offers is an integrated DVD player. The stylish console, built to look perfectly at home in a rack next to other stereo and TV components, plays DVDis right out of the box.

Perhaps the most important perk, the PS2 can play digital versatile disc (DVD) movies, a feature that Sony hopes will make the $299 console a standard appliance in North American homes. The game pad controls the DVD functions with a relatively rudimentary interface, allowing users to skip ahead, pause or view special features.

In Japan, the presence of the movie player has reportedly driven up sales of DVD movies.

Another reason for the monster sales rush is the well-planned timing of the release. Sega introduced their Dreamcast in the middle of the summer, while the Playstation 2 makes its appearance just in time for the holiday shopping season. Not wanting to be left without a chair when the music stops, anxious parents will keep unit sales high.

Mac users have laid claim to the fasted processor on Earth (clock speed not withstanding) with the "supercomputer" calibre G4. No longer, as the Playstation 2 promises to provide 6.2 GFLOPS of performance, far greater than the sustained 1 GFLOP, and max 4GFLOP on the G4 chip.

By all accounts, it seems that Sony has the high tech holiday hit on their hands.

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