Buyers began lining up before dawn Wednesday, laying beneath tents or atop cots outside major East Valley retailers in anticipation of this weekend’s releases of the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii gaming consoles. But most said they weren’t doing it for the love of gaming.
They wanted to profit. Out of a dozen people camped out later that evening outside Wal-Mart on Stapley Drive and Baseline Road in Mesa, all waiting to buy the new PlayStation at midnight Friday, there was “only one person ... who’s going to play it,” said 18-year-old Kensely Finnell.
The rest, including Finnell, planned to sell theirs on the Internet for a huge markup.
This store only had 12 to sell and the consoles are in such high demand, some said they had been offered hundreds of dollars just for their spot in line.
One man, 27-year-old Chris Cox — or “No. 2,” as the others called him — said he had just sold his No. 2 spot in line for $850.
“They’ll take my seat at 6 p.m. (today),” Cox said. After the hand over, he planned to get in another line and wait for the Wii, due for release Sunday.
Ads have popped up on Web sites such as craigslist and eBay, selling PlayStations for up to $3,000, or about six times its retail price. Nintendo’s Wii is fetching more than double its $250 price tag.
Other retailers seemed to be trying to avoid the kind of lines seen outside the Wal-Mart. At nearby GameStop on Stapley Drive in Mesa, a manager said the company only allowed customers to reserve the consoles ahead of time. They weren’t selling to walk-in customers.
At Best Buy near Fiesta Mall in Mesa, an employee said they do not allow people to line up more than 24 hours ahead of the product’s release, but customers were expected to start lining up there early this morning.
Back at the Wal-Mart, those waiting were in the lap of outdoor luxury. They had sleeping bags and plush pillows.
Evening temperatures were in the 60s and the -patrons kept themselves entertained with a TV, DVD player and, yes, video games.
They vowed to forget their responsibilities — and sleep — for the next 30 hours and watch out for one another, although they had been strangers before getting in line.
One woman walked by and wished the waiters luck.
“Don’t need the luck,” 20-year-old Eric Molitor said. “We already got it.”