October 27, 2006 - Years from now, as we reflect on the 2006 launch of the PlayStation 3, someone will inevitably mention the limited supplies of the new console at launch. This is likely what will be said: "So limited were supplies of the PlayStation 3 console, that Sony Japan's own e-commerce site, PlayStation.com, decided to hold back on selling the system."
Far across the Pacific, the floor has fallen out on the desperate pre-order seekers' last hope. Sony Japan issued a statement today announcing that it won't be selling launch PS3 units through its PlayStation.com site. The company cited shortages of both the system and its accessories as reason for the move.
Previously, the site had stated that, due to limited stock, it would begin pre-orders in a quiet fashion. Apparently those plans never came to fruition.
This move is significant in part because of PlayStation.com's history. The site began e-commerce just prior to the release of the PlayStation 2, and experienced major server problems at the time due to the demand for pre-launch pre-orders. The site also held PSP pre-orders, but avoided server problems by implementing a system where people had to pre-order their pre-order.
With PlayStation.com out of the way, it's beginning to look like the only way to get a PS3 in Japan at launch will be to line up at a major retail the night before.