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Toughest PlayStation 2 game is finding one

(CNN) -- Looking for a PlayStation 2 console following the mad rush on its debut day? Chances are slim that you'll be jiggling a joystick before the upcoming holidays, retailers say.

That Sony could muster only half the 1 million game boxes promised for North America on October 26 sent shoppers scurrying to retail outlets, some lining up the night before to secure a place in line.

Since then the leading video game machine manufacturer plans to ship 100,000 PlayStation 2 units each week to North American outlets until Christmas. But company executives acknowledge the trickle is hardly sufficient to handle the holiday season rush.

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"The demand since last Thursday (October 26) has surprised us more and more," said Sony spokesman Ryan Bowling.

"We won't meet demand for awhile. It's frustrating because of all the requests, frustrating because all our fans want one, but we can't get them all one at this time."

PlayStation 2 machines can be pre-ordered from retail and online stores, but most warn that they cannot obtain them until sometime in 2001.

Retailers and Sony suggest that consumers hoping to find a PS2 earlier should call retail outlets periodically to find out if they will soon receive any consoles.

The search can prove to be an almost impossible challenge. For example, more than a dozen consoles were shipped to many Best Buy stores in metro Atlanta last week. They were gone within hours.

Some merchants could be profiting from the paucity of PlayStation 2s. One person in search of a console said a retail store in suburban Atlanta offered one for sale for $799 -- $500 more than the listed price.

Some private individuals have become PlayStation 2 profiteers as well, snapping up as many consoles as they can at retail stores and selling them through classified advertisements or online auction sites.

Hundreds of consoles are for sale on the Internet on eBay, with some bidders offering upwards of $1,000 per machine.

When will there be relief for the console searchers? It's hard to tell. Sony plans to ship a total of 3 million consoles between late October and March.

But that number will still leave many gamers out of luck. There are nine times that many original PlayStations in North American homes. And Sony expects to sell at least as many of the new consoles.



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