Fast Company

Playstation 3 Prompts Real-Life Violence

Last night as I made my way across Manhattan in the rain, I had to push my way through 1,500 angry wet customers standing outside the Sony Plaza store on Madison Avenue. Some of them, I'm told, had been there for days, waiting for a Sony Playstation 3 . As the wind caught my umbrella and cold water lashed across my face, I thought to myself, "These people are crazy."

The angry mob on Madison was just one of thousands across the country. Eager Playstation worshippers lined up outside Wal-Marts, Best Buys and Circuit Cities to be first in line for the game console when it went on sale at midnight. The shoppers I witnessed began to push and shove when a store supervisor announced over a megaphone that only 400 consoles would be sold that night. Patrons at the end of the barricades began to shout, and before I could make it across the street, two men had come to blows, and a few had fallen into a gutter. Only this morning did I learn that what I witnessed paled in comparison to events in Connecticut and Kentucky.

In Putnam, Connecticut, two armed men demanded money from an entire line of customers waiting for a Playstation outside a Wal-Mart. One man, 21, refused, and was shot in the chest and shoulder. A similar situation developed in Kentucky, when four customers were hit by BBs in a drive-by shooting. In Wisconsin, the hysteria continued when a 19-year-old knocked himself unconscious by running full-force into a pole between a Wal-Mart parking lot and the storefront.

I understand that gaming is popular, but it's horrifying that people are getting shot in real life for something that allows them to shoot people virtually. Given Sony's announcement that many of the original Playstation games aren't compatible with the new system, I'm genuinely surprised that all 400,000 consoles released last night were sold for a retail price of about $500-$600.

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11 Comments

  • TranceD

    Four words come to mind about foolish and crazy people are acting about something as stupid as buying a Playstation 3, now the four words... DO YOU REMEMBER FURBY'S? I do believe people went nuts when those came out too, I remember someone selling 30 them for $2600.00 each in Washington and the crazy thing is a bunch of very dumb people bought them all. When are you stupid, foolish, moronic, and idiotic people going to realize that there is more to life?

  • fuckyou

    i agree, do something that matters, not reply to a mundane post about 1/7,000,000,000 on this planet got shot...i don't care neither should you.

  • Douglas

    I think that peopel are ediots in general, causing all that comotion over A GAME! They need to get alife and get out in the real world and do something that matters!!!!!

  • Kathleen

    This shameful experience is not about video games. As many have already said, it is about greed, and money, and the simple economics of supply and demand.

    This experience should be an object lesson for how we as a human race will start to behave when oil becomes as short in supply as the PS3 is today. It will be nasty.

  • Hans

    Regardless of what is wrong with our 'civilization' the failure here is not video games blurring some line between reality and make believe. That commentary may well be true however what happened in Connecticut was a bunch of thugs (thank you MTV, Puff Daddy and countless other morons who glamorize being a criminal, centered around money being the answer of all of life's ills) who saw an opportunity to mug a group of defenseless people who were likely carrying a good amount of cash. Fights happen all the time at football games, bars and you guessed it mad rushes to get merchandise during the holidays. While idiotic this is no different. In this case the shootings are independent of the merchandise being purchased. The outrage should be centered around why we are the only country in the world not experiencing a war on their soil, where people are getting shot dead every few minutes.

  • mike

    All these retail outlets should have passed out numbers then had a drawing. could have avoided the long lines and yes the expected violence.

  • Thai Thach

    The author of this article doesn't know what he's talking about. He said many of the games are not compatible with PS3; he doesn't know even the number thrown out by Sony seem large; it's actually a small % of playable games out there. Any case, The author is ignorant to say that this prompt real-life violence. Anyone try to steal and rob someone know that this is a perfect time to do it when lines of people with cash in their hands....These could have been more organized and the police should have been there to make sure people don't get out of control.

  • Frank F.

    The sad truth is, when opportunity knocks, someone will answer the door. I don't blame Sony, it's just doing business. Every one of those people raised their hand and made a choice to get in line, take the risk, and possibly get a hefty reward on E-Bay for taking that risk. It's Greed, pure and simple.

  • Evelyn

    Reselling items in such a fashion is totally illegal and should be shut down entirely. Why should someone get rich by buying and reselling items because of their demand?
    As far as PS3 is concerned, keep it and all the other c$%^ sold like it's gold when all you're getting is cheap junk AND a waste of time.

  • Jean Camp

    This was about money not games. Many of those people in line are planning to immediately place these items for sale by auction, or resale. Consider the playstation == $2,500 profit instead of a game box and it makes sense.

  • Robert Dodson

    This is a microcosm of what is really wrong across the face of our so called "civilization". The pursuit of goals, activities and objectives that are as "virtual" as the "reality" that those gamers will experience in the PS3 "world". The abstraction of existence and life itself away from the core of our real interaction with the universe and our planet... This is why we can fight wars over ideaologies, or even over a percieved "ownership" of a piece of land or its resources. The very concept of a "nation" is a virtual reality. We are a life form who find ourselves on a rock hurtling through space but we think that, for example, the end of this world will be somehow predicted by the arbitrary and virtual reality that is a calander followed by a subset of our population. After all, if you get far enough above the surface of the planet, there is only one day.

    peAce...