A local tale of the PlayStation 4 U.S. launch

As promised, the PlayStation 4 console made its official debut early this morning in the U.S. Sony held a huge launch event at The Standard Hotel in New York City and at the Sony Store in San Francisco to celebrate the release of its next-generation game machine, but the truth is that the launch also happened at thousands of locations that were open at midnight on Thursday.

That meant people were standing in line at Wal Mart, Best Buy and GameStop stores in the hours leading up to the PS4 release. Greenville, South Carolina was not an exception to this rule; it had many stores that were open for the console's launch. We were lucky that a GameStop location was willing to let us cover the event.

There were about 30 or so people waiting to get their new PS4s at this particular GameStop store, and all had pre-ordered their consoles well ahead of time; there were no extras available for anyone who had a late night urge to get a PS4 that night. Inside the store, the assembled crowd seemed pretty excited to get their new machines.

We chatted with several of them and all said they were there because they wanted to get their hands on the "latest and greatest" first. One patron told us that he wasn't even much of a console gamer; he usually plays games on his PC, but he still wanted to get the PS4 because he wanted to be one of the first to get the hardware.

One thing is for sure; the people in line didn't have a lot of good things to say about the Xbox One and Microsoft. One PS4 pre-order customer told us that he felt the Xbox One's DRM policies were not appealing. While Microsoft has since backed down on those rules after a ton of online protests from fans, the GameStop patron told us that he felt that he could not trust Microsoft in terms of putting those policies back in play.

Yet another PS4 pre-order customer at GameStop told us that he was a hardcore gamer and that in his opinion, the PS4 would have better games than the Xbox One in the long run.

As the clock ticked towards the magic time of 12:01 am ET, the crowd inside the GameStop store seemed ready to get their hands on the PS4 machine. Some stopped to watch the Spike TV PS4 launch special that was streamed on Twitch.TV.

Finally, a few minutes before the launch, the GameStop associates asked the crowd inside to line up outside the store in the 39 degree weather. At 12:01 am precisely, one of the associates asked the first in line to enter the store and pick up his PS4, encased in a black bag. A minute later, that person was outside showing us his new PS4, one of the very first people in the U.S. to get his hands on one.

After that first person was served, the others in line were asked to come into the store in packs of four people. In about 10 minutes, everyone had their PS4s in hand and drove away from the store to plug in their new consoles in their TV sets. It may not have been as flashy as The Standard in Manhattan but for the folks who have been waiting for this moment for months, the GameStop launch in Greenville, SC was pretty special.

Next week, this same store, along with thousands of others in the US and in 12 other markets around the world, will do this same thing all over again with the launch of the Xbox One. It will be interesting to see if there will be a different feeling to that event compared to the PS4.

We would like to thank the management and staff of the GameStop branch at Woodruff Road in Greenville, SC for allowing us to cover the PS4 launch from their location.

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19 Comments

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Over here you couldn't find any PS4s by 10am and surprisingly all of the cameras were sold out as well. Plenty of controllers and games left though, but that's probably normal since they've been out for a few weeks already anyway.

Thank You John, for showing us the launch from a 'real America' perspective!

You will always be my Johnny America!

Hope to see you out covering XBOX ONE next week too.

The ones shown on the shelves are oversized. The normal box is not that thick, but about as wide and tall. Fits in a standard carry-on bag. What's inside the box is pretty small though!

Each gamestop is managed differently. Maybe the game stop in your area is poorly managed? I lived in Iowa and ours was top notch, always did events, had free food etc. Now im in Louisiana and the one here doesnt do much at all.

Not shocking to see people in line saying that they aren't gamers, more tech enthusiasts. Early adopters tend to be that way since most gamers wait to buy a new console until the games are there.

"Article"
One patron told us that he wasn't even much of a console gamer; he usually plays games on his PC, but he still wanted to get the PS4 because he wanted to be one of the first to get the hardware.

+1 for the guy for being honest.... (Most people aren't)

picked up mine last night. i went to Gamestop w/o a pre-order just after 4pm. the woman working said that i could get one of their extra units if i stayed in the store until 6pm. i waited for around 2hrs, chatting with various other people waiting. At 6pm they started selling the units.

i came back to pick up the console around 11:45pm. They had us stand outside in a line; you were assigned a number. I was #5. So at midnight they let in 4-at-a-time to get our consoles. Pretty simple really. Not too many people there. I think the line was only about 20 deep.

Yeah so far it seems most place around me still have some stock left. Even best buy who had a line that started early yesterday. I always feel bad for people that waited 24hours outside in the cold just for something that is still on the shelf the next day lol

my 2 local gamestops and 1 best buy were sold out - all pre-orders and 'extra' units (like i got) were taken.

and, honestly, it was just something interesting to do. i dont NEED a PS4 right now, but it's my hobby. why not indulge?

One patron told us that he wasn't even much of a console gamer; he usually plays games on his PC, but he still wanted to get the PS4 because he wanted to be one of the first to get the hardware.

...so he can sell it on eBay with a large markup...

benthebear said,

...so he can sell it on eBay with a large markup...

That doesn't seem to be the case depending on where you look. The PS4 doesn't seem to have sold out yet, and it might not. I'm hearing that the average selling price online by flippers is around $500. eBay isn't the only place to look.

Sadelwo said,
Already there, with the $1500 price tag as expected.
If you look at sold auctions the most they seem to go for is around 450. Saw several that came with a game that didnt even hit 500. With exception of ones that sold BEFORE launch day and paid 650. I sold my preorder ticket for 200 dollars lol that i spent 100 on.

GP007 said,

That doesn't seem to be the case depending on where you look. The PS4 doesn't seem to have sold out yet, and it might not. I'm hearing that the average selling price online by flippers is around $500. eBay isn't the only place to look.

Reminds me of when the PS3 came out. People were trying to flip the thing on the Internet, when you could walk into any Best Buy and climb up on the PS3 mountain of stock.