PS3 Launch Day Minus One


imageIn case you haven’t noticed, there are a couple of new game consoles shipping this week.

Heaven help you if you’re hoping to zip in and out of Best Buy to get a cell phone charger or something. If you’re not among the gamerati standing in line, cooking wieners on a Coleman stove, hoping to be among the lucky 20 or so who’ll grab a PS3 this weekend, I recommend staying inside with a good book. Trust me. You’ll be better off.

Me? I’ll be sitting in my warm apartment this weekend cheerfully hammering out the hits on my plastic guitar, eating cucumber sandwiches over tea, reading the latest Bob Woodward book or any one of a dozen other things that make me more interesting than you are. But the one thing I will not be doing is buying a new console. Not this weekend anyway.

Let’s explore some of the reasons why:

Getting Shot At
Hey, nobody likes getting shot at. Not even gamers. Not even with a BB gun. We prefer our gunshot wounds to be superficial, instantly-healing and (this is key) virtual. Real guns with real bullets may be fun to look at and play with, but being on the business end of one is kind of a drag. Especially if it’s being held by someone who wants your new PS3, and doubly-especially if you happen to get caught in the crossfire while swinging into Best Buy just to pick up a Shakira CD.

It’s not as easy as it used to be to resell that launch-day purchase on Ebay for a 300% profit. Ebay has recently cracked down on these auctions, even though a few enterprising entrepreneurs are still able to slip through the cracks. The real downside to the scalper factor, though, is not Ebay, but your fellow scalpers. Price pressure could lead to lower overall prices, which could lead to scalpers scalping their less-expensively priced competitors, backstabbing each other for a piece of the action. Which is kind of what’s actually happening at Wal-Mart right now.

Leaving the House
Listen, I was one of those guys who almost kept Kozmo in business. Yes, I sat at my desk all damn day expecting people to bring me things. Sandwiches? Check. Antacids? Check. Hell. I even tried the online grocery services, and you’d be a fool to expect me to leave the house to buy deodorant and toilet paper, when Drugstore.com will happ[ily deliver it to my door. I don’t even pick up the phone to order pizza anymore. The weather in my world is a constant 72 degrees, regardless of the temperature outside thanks to both my air conditioning and the Xbox 360’s power brick. My windows are pasted over to avoid contact with the sun and about as fresh as the air at my place gets is when I go on a Febreeze binge. I’ll maybe dart quickly in and out to get a burger at 5 Guys or hit the local pub, but standing outside, in the cold for hours on end with other people? Haha. Holy crap. That’s … wow. Just wow. Hang on. I need a second here. Read on without me.

The Smell
Wieners roasting on a kerosene stove? OK, maybe you’re into that. It does kind of remind me of camping trips with my dad and all. So yeah, that’s OK. Un-washed gamers who’ve been camping outside for three days? I’ll pass. It’s like Burning Man without the LSD. And the awesome. If you do have to venture out, take a perfumed handkerchief.

Not Getting a New Console
Even if you’re not in line to buy one, being anywhere near that mess this weekend will only accentuate the searing shame of being one of the unlucky, unfaithful or un-motivated majority of us who won’t be updating our PS3 firmware, or playing whatever game they have available over the sure-to-be awesome Sony online service.

In a culture driven by the all-encompassing need to be among the first the grab “the shiny,” the damn-near iridescent PS3 is clearly a must-have. Even in my fortress of solitude, I’ll be having spasms of guilt over not caring to have one in my home. And wishing it weren’t so, and that I did care enough to overcome my paranoias, neuroses and eccentricities to try my luck at nabbing one. Forget it though. Better to tune it all out completely and pretend this launch weekend doesn’t exist, and that the PS3 isn’t arriving in stores and being taken home by gamers everywhere. Which, if rumors of another cut in supply are true, isn’t too far of a stretch.

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