DUBAI // Gamers desperate to be the first to get the new PlayStation 4 when it officially launches in the UAE next weekend could be left disappointed because of low supply.
Retailers are warning that huge demand for the consoles will mean most stores will be sold out within hours of the launch on Friday.
Priority will be given to those who pre-ordered the devices months earlier, although a few may be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“People who pre-ordered them will get them first, but we do expect to have some supply in stores for people to buy on the day,” said Omar Abushaban, the operations manager for Plug-Ins Electronix.
“I think people who queue up early will have a good chance of getting one on the day, but we expect them to be sold pretty quickly and the stock will probably be gone in a day or so.”
Concerns about the initial supply meant Plug-Ins decided to end their pre-order scheme early.
“We had a couple of hundred people pre-order and we could have continued it but we weren’t sure if we were going to have enough stock,” he said.
“Supply will probably be pretty tight until after Christmas.”
Most of the pre-orders were made by customers in the retailer’s Dubai Festival City store, so that is where a larger amount of stock is likely to be available for people wanting to buy on the day.
“Dubai Mall is also an important location for us, as well as the stores we have in Abu Dhabi, so we will do our best to have enough units at our other stores,” Mr Abushaban said.
Concerns about supply meant Jacky’s Electronics chose not to run a pre-order campaign.
“We have had quiet a lot of interest from people about the new console and many have been coming into stores asking about it,” said Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer for Jacky’s Electronics.
“But there is definitely going to be a supply and demand issue and I think many people will be disappointed and won’t be able to buy a console on day one.”
As yet there are no official details on pricing, as retailers are waiting for confirmation on what type of bundles the consoles will be sold with. But the official PlayStation 4 UAE website says that prices will start from Dh1,699.
The launch is eagerly anticipated, as it is the first time in seven years that either Sony and Microsoft has launched a new console. After the PlayStation 4 UAE launch, Microsoft is due to bring the Xbox One to the Emirates in the New Year.
So far, the Sony console appears to be the more popular of the two, with more than two million already sold in North America and Europe.
“I think Xbox One will most likely be officially launched here next year, and the gaming market has grown considerably since the Xbox 360 launched,” Mr Panjabi said.
“However, there is an issue regarding the compatibility of the games, as we use a different system to the US.”
Despite the lack of supply, gamers are determined to be among the first to get their hands on the devices.
“I can’t wait for next Friday,” said Faisal Ali, 23, an Indian who lives in Dubai.
“I wanted to pre-order but most places I tried said they had filled up their orders, so I couldn’t do it.
“I’m hoping I’ll be able to buy one on launch day in one of the stores.”
James Richards, 18, from Manchester, England, said he wanted to be among the first to get the new console.
“They announced it at the beginning of the year and I’ve been waiting for it ever since,” the Dubai resident said. “I’ve got the PlayStation 3, but that is looking a bit tired and we have needed new consoles for a while now.
“I think my group of friends and I are going to try to get to a store as early as possible on launch day.”