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Sony faces global PS2 shortage; US Xbox stock also low

Sales of console hardware are being severely impaired in all major global territories by severe ongoing shortages of the PlayStation 2, while some US retailers are also reporting low availability of the Xbox.

Sales of console hardware are being severely impaired in all major global territories by severe ongoing shortages of the PlayStation 2, while some US retailers are also reporting low availability of the Xbox.

Major shortages of the PlayStation 2 console have been ongoing since the end of Summer in some areas, but have reached a head following the launch of the redesigned slimline "PStwo" - which massively increased demand for the system.

The situation is believed to be most severe in Europe, with the vast majority of retailers in the territory completely out of stock, although further shipments are hoped for by Christmas.

However, the USA is also experiencing severe shortages, and the unfulfilled demand in both territories is leading to significant price premiums being paid for new hardware on online auction sites such as eBay.

Although Microsoft is believed to be benefiting from Sony's difficulty in fulfilling demand for the PS2, the situation isn't entirely rosy for the rival firm either, with US retail sources indicating that Xbox stock is also in short supply.

"Consumer demand for the new PlayStation 2 has exceeded our expectations," admitted a Sony Computer Entertainment America spokesperson in a statement yesterday, "and we are doing all we can to fulfill the wish lists of people who want a new PlayStation 2 unit under their trees this holiday season."

Much of the problem is believed to be down to Sony's policy throughout late summer and early autumn of bleeding the distribution channel dry of the original PlayStation 2 in order to clear it out for the arrival of the slimline model.

The company has failed to restock the channel with the new model, and a combination of demand for the slimline console and pent-up demand caused by the shortages throughout autumn saw the console selling out its first shipment in a matter of days at many retailers.

Earlier this week, a Sony representative in Japan announced that the firm was keeping production of the new PlayStation Portable handheld system low in order to focus more strongly on producing the PlayStation 2 console.

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Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

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