PlayStation 3 Sellers Reaping Rewards On eBay - InformationWeek

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11/17/2006
04:20 PM
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PlayStation 3 Sellers Reaping Rewards On eBay

One console that was offered in an auction that was nearing its close on Friday afternoon had bids that reached $2,850. Sony suggests a retail price of $500 for the basic system.

Owners of the highly sought after Play Station 3 were reaping hefty profits from sales of the consoles as soon as eBay lifted restrictions on their sales.

One console that was offered in an auction that was nearing its close on Friday afternoon had bids that reached $2,850. Sony suggests a retail price of $500 for the basic system. The basic package comes with a 20-Gbyte drive. The company suggests an additional $100 for systems with extras like wireless capabilities, Bluetooth high-definition DVD players, and 60-Gbyte drives.

Sony announced that it would be shipping only 400,000 PlayStation 3units as the console made its U.S. debut Friday. That resulted in hot sales, lines that lasted for days, and a few reports of violence.

eBay imposed restrictions before the video game machine went on sale in an attempt to prevent fraud and other complaints like those that followed the launch of Microsoft's xBox360 last year. The restrictions applied specifically to Sony's new console and Nintendo Wii pre-sales. Nintendo plans to release the Wii on Sunday.

"These highly-anticipated video game consoles will be in extremely short supply during their initial launch," eBay wrote on its Web site. "During the launch of the similarly-released Microsoft xBox360, we saw a high number of well-intentioned sellers unable to meet their pre-sale obligations to buyers due to restricted supply, as well as an increase in fraudulent listings for these items."

Just before its official release before Thanksgiving last year, the xBox360 was drawing bids around $1,000 on eBay. Microsoft released a limited supply as part of a marketing strategy, which also boasted the release as the biggest game launch ever.

The PlayStation 3 and Wii restrictions on eBay permit the pre-sale listing of only one console for each seller before the products' launch. They also require sellers to accept payment through PayPal, have at least 50 comments, with 98% or higher positive ratings, in the auction Web site's feedback listings. That makes the units eligible for coverage under PayPal's Buyer Protection plan. Pre-sales of the game consoles are not allowed to be marked with "Buy It Now" offers and must be displayed with pictures and pre-order receipts.

eBay's pre-sale listings of Wii products were around 2,000 at the end of the week. One seller drew six bids, with the highest being $256 and about one day remaining before the listing would close. Another drew an $800 bid. The suggested retail price is $249.99.

Friday afternoon, the xBox360 console received a top bid of $369.99 with 18 minutes remaining. That console's suggested retail price is about $300.

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