UAE retailers warn of shortage of PS4 games consoles

The Sony Playstation 4 will be launching in the UAE on the 13th of December starting midnight

Paul Crompton
Paul Crompton - Al Arabiya News
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UAE-based consumers lined up Thursday midnight in shopping malls around the country to pick up the new Playstation 4 (PS4) gaming console, amid retailer warnings that a severe shortage of supply on launch day would leave many gamers disappointed.

“A lot of people didn’t know that they’d have stock here,” said a 25-year-old Egyptian man who received his console shortly after midnight in Dubai’s Mirdif City Centre shopping mall. “It feels fantastic.”

Another console shopper, a 35-year-old Malaysian man also residing in Dubai, said that while he was “very excited” to get hold of the console, there were very few games available for the device on the launch date.

The PS4, which is the fourth iteration of the device first released by Japanese electronics giant Sony almost two decades ago, has already launched in the U.S. and Europe, becoming the UK’s fastest ever selling console, according to London-based daily The Independent.

However, UAE retailers anticipate that the demand for the much-anticipated PS4 far outstrips supply.

“There will probably be a lot of people who won’t get a Playstation in time for Christmas,” said Ashish Panjabi, chief operating officer of UAE-based electronics retailer Jacky’s.

The likely supply shortage is due to Sony releasing more consoles in the far larger U.S. and European markets, making the Middle East a far less prioritized market, Panjabi said.

“We’re competing with the United States during Christmas and in Europe during Christmas, and I think those markets probably get precedence in this time,” he added.

To ease disappointment, many UAE retailers asked by Al Arabiya News took preorders some time leading up to the launch.

“We have over 1,000 pre-bookings, so all of those customers are assured of their products, and we have a few hundred more after that, on a first-come-first-serve basis,” Nadeem Khanzadeh, head of retail for UAE-based Jumbo Electronics, who added that he anticipate that the entire stock would be sold out by Friday evening.

While most executives declined to elaborate how many units they had in stock, units for an entire chain ranged from a “couple of hundred,” to “much more than a thousand.”

One games retailer, Geekay, reported that most of its units were sold on a preorder basis prior to the launch.

“I would say that 70 percent of my stock was pre-ordered, and the balance 30 percent is going to be sold today and tomorrow,” said Kishan Palija, managing director of games retailer Geekay Group MEA, which will be launching the PS4 in the UAE, Bahrain, and Oman through its total of ten stores.

The PS4’s Middle East was mostly focused in the UAE, according to Neelesh Bhatnagar, chief executive of electronics retailer Emax, with outlets in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.

The chain would have four to five hundred consoles available to sell in the 20 UAE-based stores on the launch date, said Bhatnagar, but “if we distribute these units in about eight or ten top locations, even then, each location will not get more than 30-40 pieces,” he said.


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