GameStop won't get enough PS3s to fill preorders

Retailer's launch allocations aren't expected to cover original reservations; employees asked to wait until second shipment to buy.

GameStop began accepting "limited" preorders for the PlayStation 3 last month, asking customers to put down $100 in advance for the game console, with a modest expectation of eight units per store in most cases.

Now it appears that the largest gaming specialty chain in North America won't be receiving even that many consoles.

A GameStop representative said Monday that the company has received launch allocation numbers from Sony and that it won't be able to fill its existing PS3 preorders. The representative declined to comment on how many systems GameStop expected to receive, or how short of that figure the company's share of machines will be.

"We are beginning to notify our customers that our initial shipment of PS3 systems will not be what we expected," the representative said. "As this is not an ideal situation, we are asking employees to wait to purchase systems until the second shipment. We are anticipating having systems to cover reservations before Christmas."

For the launch on Friday, preorders will be filled in the order they were received, and those who had a preorder but are denied a system on the first day will receive something for their troubles. GameStop will give them a free used game or DVD valued at $19.99 or less when they eventually end up purchasing the system.

Those who reserved a system won't need to wait long to find out if they can expect a machine on launch day. Starting Tuesday, customers who preordered a PS3 will be contacted personally by phone and updated on the status of their reservation, the representative said.

And while it might be a nonissue considering the clamor by consumers to get their hands on the coveted consoles, GameStop is also asking people with confirmed preorders to pick up their systems by Saturday evening.

Brendan Sinclair reported for GameSpot.

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