Left your PS3 pre-order too late?

Feature: CVG looks at your chances of pre-ordering a PS3 and getting one for Friday

We're mere days away from PS3's March 23 launch in UK and, in contrast with Wii, most stores are telling us you can still pre-order a PS3 and have it guaranteed for launch-day collection.

In its respective pre-launch period, finding a Wii pre-order available for launch was impossible as hype for the console reached fever pitch. You had more chance of spotting the Loch Ness monster in your bath.

CVG spoke to ten different retailers up and down the country - five major chain stores and five independent shops - who told us that availability is thanks to Sony providing plenty of units for launch.

Sony confirmed one million PS3 consoles have been readied for the European launch, with around 300,000 of those allocated to UK. Neither Nintendo nor Microsoft announced their launch-day shipment figures for UK, but 105,000 Wii's were sold in the first weekend, which broke all previous records, says Nintendo.

Eight of of the ten retailers we spoke to were still taking PS3 pre-orders and could guarantee us a console for launch day.

Explaining the availability, one retailer stated that it wasn't a sign that the PS3 wasn't successful. "In fact it has been more successful than Wii," he added, controversially.

All six retailers put the ample supply down to the delay of the European release giving Sony more time to manufacture consoles.

The general consensus was that Nintendo had massively undersupplied Wii, with one shop comparing the two Wii's it was allocated for launch to the 25 PS3s it had for Friday.

Another independent retailer even said its PS3 stock was restricted only by how many they could afford to buy in, not by Sony.

None of the major chain stores would disclose figures, but HMV said they had received a "massive allocation from Sony".

While praising Sony for its supply of the PS3, all five independent retailers also highlighted the high price point as another contributing factor to the PS3's availablity.

"People are walking in, seeing how much it costs and saying 'I can't be bothered'," stated one retailer. "Most people just didn't realise it was going to be quite so much - they thought it was going to cost the same as the 360," he added. The Xbox 360 Premium Pack launched at £280 on December 2, 2005.

Another independent store had decided not to stock the PS3 at all. "Nobody wants one, they're way too dear," he claimed, adding: "I'll stock them when people get sick of them and come here to trade them in". A bit extreme, we think.

But the time of year was also noted as a factor, with four retailers saying that the pre-Christmas release of the Wii contributed to it's success, while March is not a time of year when people are typically known spend large sums of money. Two retailers expect a quite launch with a rush closer to the run-up to Christmas.

Funnily, they all thought it unlikely that you will be able to walk in and buy a PS3 on the launch day without a pre-order. Although we suspect that was a ploy to persuade us to pre-order with them immediately. Everyone's a salesmen thesedays it seems.

So while the price is an issue, all fingers (or most of them, at least) point towards Sony having a successful European launch with plenty of consoles on offer.

Virgin MegaStore on Oxford Street, London, will be hosting the official midnight launch event, with "entertainment and prizes" to spice up the night. CVG will be there to cover all the happenings, so make sure you tune in then.

While we're talking about PS3 pre-orders, if you still haven't got one yet, did we tell you that our friends over on Games Radar have struck a deal with PC World for those wishing to pre-order Sony's new addition to the PlayStation family. The "no deposit necessary" deal can be found right here. Shameless plug over.