PS3 preorders lead to eBay avalanche

Hours after retailers shut down preorders for the 400,000 launch-day PlayStation 3s, auction sites explode with offerings averaging $1,500 a pop.

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Last November, eBay was awash with listings for the hard-to-come-by Xbox 360. Now, enterprising auctioneers have been placing preorders for the PlayStation 3 and then immediately preselling the console themselves for a huge profit on eBay.

GameStop announced yesterday that preorders for Sony's next-gen console were now sold out, with some stores only taking as few as six orders. Eager customers had been queuing for hours outside stores to pay their $100 deposit, which guarantees them one of the first 400,000 US-bound PS3s.

Sellers have been posting photographs of their receipts to confirm their preorder, along with publicity photos of the hardware and a list of technical specs. Seller ajballa21 said: "I stood in line for hours at GameStop to save you the trouble." Another seller, taralee1114, claimed that they had waited outside their local GameStop store all night to get their hands on the console on November 17.

Others claimed to have bulk-bought all the store's designated pre-orders for themselves for the purposes of reselling them, no doubt disappointing others who were waiting behind them in line. Dubamoinc wrote: "I waited in line at GameStop this morning (10/06/2006) and i am the number one person on the pre-sale list which means i am guranteed a PS3 on november (sic) 17th 2006. I have 4 pre-orders in and I am guranteed (sic) ALL of them that day." Other sellers targeted Europeans, who won't be able to get their PS3s domestically until 2007.

This isn't the first time that canny consumers have taken advantage of a shortage in gaming hardware. Back in 2001, eBay was loaded with PS2s at highly inflated prices, with consoles changing hands in Europe for around £1,000 (about $1,800). As previously mentioned, Xbox 360 preorders were being sold on from their original buyers for $1,500. Some unscrupulous sellers took advantage of desperate buyers by selling them photos of the Xbox 360 instead of the actual console.

The average going price for the PS3 on eBay today was also in the region of $1,500, although one hopeful punter had given his console a 'buy-it-now' price of $100,000. They hadn't had any bids as of press time.

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