The PS3's most anticipated exclusive of the year is finally upon us here in the States, and is a surefire system seller - or it would be, if there were any systems available to sell.
With the price cut and introduction of the PS3 Slim last year, Sony made great strides in closing the gap that kept the PS3 in third place worldwide. But one of Sony's most powerful weapons had yet to be introduced: God of War III, often cited as the game that would convince people to pick up a PS3. GoW3 would be Sony's triumphant roar.
And yet, there's a problem. When I went to pick up a replacement PS3 last week for Final Fantasy XIII (my last one having suffered a terminal case of falling-off-a-shelf syndrome), I couldn't find one at Gamestop. I couldn't find one at Best Buy. I couldn't find any at FYE or Wal-Mart or any other place I could think of. Simply put: PS3s are extremely rare to find on store shelves these days.
So Sony may find itself in the ironic position of having its biggest potential system-seller hit shelves when (here in the States, at least) there aren't any systems on the shelves with it to sell.
"It's not ideal, I won't kid you," SCEA boss Jack Tretton told the LA Times. "But I firmly believe we'll get our hardware back in stock and keep selling God of War III for a long time."
"We ultimately don't make investments on a product-by-product or month-by-month basis, but rather we invest in our platform," he added. "This game will pay off for us with the people who own a PlayStation 3 and the ones who will buy one in the future."
In all fairness, Tretton probably does have a point - I can't imagine that all too many people would go to the store eager to buy GoW3 on launch and pick up a PS3 to go with it, find that the PS3 was unavailable, and give up on the game entirely. Consumers will likely wait - but there's always the potential for this to impact sales even once supply is once again under control, and that has to be a frustrating situation in which Sony finds itself.