Hundreds killed, maimed for PS3s

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By Michael Camu

… actually, one was shot in Connecticut in the battle for Sony’s newest and priciest game console. But for two Toronto residents, the PS3 craze came just short of ending a friendship.

Thursday night, hidden in a sea of jackets, blankets and Nintendo DS’s, I found the happiest camper — literally — under a blue gazebo outside of Best Buy on Hwy. 7 and Kennedy Ave. in Markham – Kirby Lo.

It was a chilly eight degrees outside. A month’s worth of rain loomed. Lo, 17, was huddled with close to 20 or more strangers, waiting 16 more hours only to blow $800. Still, he was pumped. He knew he was getting a Playstation 3.

The Best Buy opened 8 a.m. Friday, launch day for Sony’s highly anticipated PS3. A projected 400,000 consoles hit North America, but many stores received fewer than 100. The 20 gigabyte PS3 costs $549, the 60 gigabyte version $649, but many in line resold them for as much as $4000. Lo, a student from Mary Ward Catholic School kept it, much to the chagrin of one person.

Beside him slumped a person as miserable as the weather. His long look was easy to interpret. Lo, 30th in line, got the last PS3. His friend, and my brother, Mark Camu, was 31st in line, and went home empty-handed.

Camu had counted down the days prior to the launch, reading updates on PS3 forums with dilated eyes. He saved $500 working at Moxie’s Classic Grill, received $200 from me, guaranteeing minimal ownership, and collected early Christmas presents.

Camu, who asked Lo to camp overnight with and drove him to the site, admitted his frustration.

“He beat me because I parked the car,” he said.

Michael Nguyen, a first-year RTA student at Ryerson, camped 26 hours outside Heartland Town Centre in Mississauga. He said the limited product was a marketing scheme, as many bloggers have suggested.

“Sony said there was some production problem. They’ve always done that,” said Nguyen, who got a PS3.

Sony has had problems getting the PS3 to shelves at all. Delays in production of the Blu-Ray drive, the DVD-replacing disc format Sony is pushing, bumped back PS3 launch dates. Sony hopes to have one million units in stores, or rather, gone through stores, by Christmas.

The demand sparked some violence across the continent. Cadillac Fairview security had to intervene when shoving erupted among campers below the Bay and Dundas Best Buy. In Connecticut, one man was shot after refusing to hand over his PS3-tagged cash to a would-be thief.

Back in Markham, Lo got the last beloved Golden Ticket.

But Camu didn’t sulk for long. He was determined. Friday afternoon, he arrived home with just a PS3 controller and NHL 2K7, and began to research on the next shipment.

The controller’s ready to go. The game is waiting to be opened. Still, there’s one piece missing.

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