297w ago - Hundreds line up for limited edition PSP slim.
The PSP-2000 is off to a great start in Japan, and it's not even officially out yet! Square Enix and Sony teamed up for a limited edition PSP-2000 bundle to accompany the 9/13 Japanese release of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. This is exactly one week before the PSP slim sees full release throughout the now leaderless nation.
Included in the 25,890 yen bundle are a retail copy of Crisis Core, a specially crafted Crystal White PSP-2000 unit covered in Tetsuya Nomura artwork, and a Buster Sword strap. Retailers also threw in a Crisis Core inner earphone set, supposedly as a pre-order bonus, although anyone who lined up on launch day was given the gift. All this in a special box that just screams collectors' edition.
This bundle was produced in limited quantities of just 77,777. This is two to three times what the PSP sells in an average week, so we were interested in seeing if the bundle would actually sell out, or if it would rot on store shelves like Square Enix's It's a Wonderful World DS Lite bundle.
We headed out to our local Bic Camera in Tokyo's Shibuya area just before opening time and found a line of five people, with store managers encouraging passersby to queue up. Another Bic Camera in the area had a line about ten times as long, but it too was welcoming additional purchasers straight through opening time.
Neither store was sold out immediately after opening. Two hours later, however, and we could no longer find the bundle at the few shops surrounding Shibuya Station.
Based on reports from Famitsu.com, this scene was repeated throughout Tokyo, although on a larger scale depending on where you went. At the Ikebukuro Bic Camera, over 250 people had lined up outside of the shop forty-five minutes prior to opening. The Shinjuku Yodobashi Camera had a line of 300, and was sold out by the 10:00 opening time.
Famitsu flexed its Japanese vocabulary and actually spoke to a few who had chosen to line up. Some customers said that they were purchasing the bundle because they happen to be Final Fantasy VII fans. Others were more interested in getting the slim model PSP in advance. Even our smaller scale Bic Camera in Shibuya had a few people inquire if the PSP-2000 could be purchased on its own.
A major Square Enix executive was on hand at the Shinjuku Yodobashi. Famitsu cornered Crisis Core's executive producer Shinji Hashimoto, who commented, "This is the first time in the world that a third party has released a product bundled with a new system, so we were nervous. However, just seeing all these customers puts us a bit at ease."
Famitsu also got some commentary from the Yodobashi staff, who confirmed that Crisis Core on its own managed extremely strong sales in its first day. Regarding the official launch of the PSP-2000 next week, a store representative said, "We expect customer turnout at today's level, or more. However, unlike today, it's not a limited edition, so it's doubtful that it will sell out in the AM hours."
Sony was partially prepared for the PSP-2000's early release. It managed to ship out the special AV, D-terminal, S-Video and Component cables required to connect the new model to a television. Those who want the 1seg tuner or an extra battery pack will have to wait until 9/20.
At the very least, Crisis Core's release and the apparent sellout of the bundle version should push the PSP's weekly sales total above the 77,777 mark. The real question by which the PSP's fortunes will be judged is how many current PSP owners will pick up the game by itself, and how many will line up next week for the standard PSP-2000 model.
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