Don't despair if you didn't pre-order a Sony PlayStation 3 ahead of its launch today. Trawling along London's Oxford Street this morning, it soon became apparent that there is still plenty of stock left.
However, wandering around the consumer Mecca that is the West End of London, we failed to spot a single soul buying, or having bought, a PS3.
Checking in with Currys.digital, Game, and HMV some two hours after their 7am opening this morning, they all said there had been "tremendous" demand but that there was still plenty of stock left for people walking in off the street.
Over at Virgin Megastore , the situation was the same. The store opened at midnight to enable gamers to lay their hands on the first PS3s in the UK. Steve Lyttleton, general manager of Virgin's flagship store on Oxford Street, said there had been a "fantastic response" both at the launch last night and this morning. He said the store had taken about 150 pre-orders ahead of last night, and sold over 300 units so far. There was still stock left though.
Currys.digital couldn't give any numbers on how many units they had sold, but a sign outside the door showed that it had 23 units left when we visited the store. Mark Webb of Currys.digital said pre-orders had doubled in the past few days and that he was happy with the launch so far.
Bigger than Wii?
So how does the PS3 launch compare to the launch of Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming consoles? Virgin's Steve Lyttleton said he thought last night's launch beat its rival by miles, especially since the store held the official launch of the PS3.
Currys.digital was more reserved. "We have to remember that this is different from other recent console launches - a Christmas launch is always going to bring more sales in, and so do midnight launches," Mark Webb said. He added that many buyers seem to get the PS3 just for its Blu-ray capabilities as it is cheaper than other players on the market.
Staff at Game agreed: "You're never going to bring the crowds in at 7am on a cold March morning in the same way as you do with a midnight launch ahead of Christmas," a member of staff told us.
A member of staff at HMV said he was going to buy a PS3 for himself today, but that he was the only person in his team that was planning to. He admitted that the Nintendo Wii launch had "probably been bigger" but that the store was happy with sales so far. Some 200 units had been pre-ordered and would be held until Sunday, but a few units were still available at HMV's flagship Oxford Street store this morning.
As we reported last night , the first 100 or so fans queuing up outside Virgin Megastore to get their PS3s were given a free Sony Bravia 46-inch high-definition TV. Sony also paid for taxi rides home for the lucky gamers and their new kit to ensure they got back safely.
Following our report yesterday about poor pre-orders in electronics stores in Bath, we'll be checking up on them to see how sales during the first day of PS3s have been.