By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York – Retailers including Best Buy, GameStop and Walmart marked last night’s rollout of PlayStation 4 with special hours and launch events, and will do so again next week for the debut of Xbox One.
Select Best Buy stores remained open last night for Sony’s 12:01 a.m. rollout of its $400 PS4 console. In anticipation of long lines, the No. 1 CE chain cautioned customers to arrive early — many were already camping out — and began processing pre-orders as early at 10 p.m.
Stores also distributed tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis for a limited quantity of open-stock consoles.
Not surprisingly, Sony Stores also held midnight events at most of the chain’s locations, as did Walmart and Meijer.
In addition, Sony held special “All Access: Greatness Awaits” launch events in New York and San Francisco. The latter was held at a GameStop near Union Square, where attendees were invited to dress as their favorite video game characters and compete for PS4 and PS Vita consoles and software. In New York, Sony set up headquarters at The Standard, High Line hotel in the Meat Packing District, where fans met industry luminaries and played PS4 games on 30 kiosks; video game images were projected on the entire north side of the 18-story building; and 444 PS4s were available for sale.
Live coverage of both events was broadcast by Spike TV.
Retailers including GameStop will repeat the process on Thursday for the midnight release of Microsoft’s $500-plus Xbox One bundles. The No. 1 gaming specialty chain will stay open for the next-gen console’s midnight debut on Nov. 22, and will heighten anticipation this Sunday with a chain-wide prelaunch event featuring giveaways, refreshments, unspecified “fun activities” and special trade-in offers.
The latter include triple bonus credit on trade-ins of current generation consoles when applied to purchases of pre-ordered Xbox Ones. GameStop merchandising director Michael Turner said the offer “allows consumers the ability to upgrade their console at a more affordable price, making it more accessible to have the latest hardware.”
Like Sony, Microsoft will also hold special launch events including an exclusive VIP concert with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square, where consoles and titles will also be available for sale and giveaways will include games and free Live Gold memberships.
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