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Chaos erupts at a Tokyo retailer after PlayStation 5 sales go awry

By Tim Augustin - on 6 Feb 2021, 10:09am

Chaos erupts at a Tokyo retailer after PlayStation 5 sales go awry

Note: This article was first published on 1 Feb 2021.

Image: Getty Images

These consoles are in pretty high demand. 

The PlayStation 5 might have launched in November, but it’s still causing chaos due to stock shortages. On Friday, police were called to the Yodobashi Camera electronics megastore in Akihabara, Tokyo after chaos erupted during the sale of a new shipment of PlayStation 5 consoles. It wasn’t pretty. 

The store had decided to give out numbered tickets to patrons on a first come, first served basis, which might have attracted console scalpers. The shop was also going to hand out raffle numbers to give others a chance to purchase the console. Unfortunately, this entire process was abruptly cancelled when hundreds of console-hungry customers overwhelmed the store. 

Desperate for Sony’s shiny new consoles, people began to shove and push at each other for a chance to get those numbered tickets. There were a stack of 300 tickets in total, and things escalated when they began to be distributed. Videos of the event were uploaded to social media, and you can see one below:

Twitter user Dave Gibson said that customers, “Pushed so hard even the cash registers and staff went backwards.” According to Gibson, things got so bad that, “People paying at the registers were pushed out of the way.  Cash left on trays. Registers and staff pushed all the way back into (the) storage area.” He also estimated that 70% of the crowd were console resellers, saying that they had arrived in groups, talking and passing cash to one another. Before the PlayStation 5 sales began, they bought up the store’s entire stock of Ring Fit Adventure (a Nintendo game), and then, “hung around for PS5.”

It’s worth noting that the Yodobashi retailer typically requires its customers to have its black credit card to purchase in-demand items like the PlayStation 5, which might have been an effort to throw off scalpers. However, the Akihabara location is one of two branches that forgoed the rule. That might have been a little too tempting for resellers looking to profit on Sony's consoles. 

Currently, the Japanese government has declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing pandemic, and Tokyo has the highest number of cases in the entire country. In that context, these videos seem a lot more scary. 

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