PSOne: Low awareness, high desirability

Consumer consciousness of PSOne limited says retailer, but sleek machine is a low-key hit among the style-conscious

Last Friday saw the low-key rollout of the new PSOne to retail stores -- and the cute machine seems to have become the low-cost, must-have gadget among those in the know.

Priced at £79.99, and including one Dual-Shock controller, the PSOne is a more compact version of the PlayStation that uses new chip technology to offer the same power in a smaller box. The sleek, curved design is now little bigger than a DVD box and was wowing consumers on sight over the weekend. One said: "I haven't played my PlayStation in over a year but I saw this and just had to have one."

With a huge number of titles already available, and the promise of mobility from the machine once the LCD screen arrives in the UK, this launch should breathe yet more life into a machine that, after five years, is still going strong.

Advertising in the style press is backing up the launch, but there are concerns at retail that consumer awareness of the redesigned machine isn't high enough. "Despite some customer uncertainty about the spec of PSOne, it has certainly got off to a flying start. We are now just looking to Sony to educate customers directly as to this machine's position in the marketplace," said Doug Bone, games manager for the HMV chain of retailers.

With 75,000 units shipped last week and the promise of up to half a million by the end of March 2001, there is the suggestion that Sony may be using the low-key launch to keep demand at a manageable level -- preferring to supply point-of-sale and mainstream advertising support when stocks are higher. Sony was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

Have you bought a PSOne? Or wouldn't you touch it with a barge pole? Is there any point in having a PS2 and a PSOne? Why not tell the world in our PSOne Forum?

For complete gaming news, see GameSpot UK.

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