Friday, 13 December 2013

Queues form in Omani gaming stores ahead of PS4 launch

Enthusiastic gamers formed queues outside Oman's gaming stores ahead of the launch of Sony's PlayStation Four.

At the Geekay Games outlet in Qurum City Centre, locals Mohammed and Yaser had been part of a queue of around a hundred people since eight o' clock that evening, a good four hours ahead of the console's official launch.

Both of them were carrying paper bags with McDonald's meals in anticipation of their long wait.

"I'd let the job go, it's the PS4," said Yasser with a laugh, when asked what was most important to him.

Having bought copies of Battlefield 4 to go with their new consoles, the duo tell me they've come early because they do not think there will be enough pieces of the PlayStation for everybody standing in line.

"We're in the front, we're almost there," says Mohammed, as he looks wistfully at the new PlayStations that are now being unloaded in the store.

The new PlayStation 4 arrives at shops ahead of the official midnight launch
Standing a few places behind them is Ashwin, who's walked all the way to the store to get his hands on Sony's latest offering.

"I was told that you need to come to the queue at 11, but when I came at 11, there was already 20 members waiting before me," he says.

"I don't have any vehicle on my own, so I took a walk right from Qurum beach (which is a good hour away on foot) and I am here. I am going to walk back."

While Yasser and Mohammed are fans of the Battlefield series, Ashwin is planning to play Assassins' Creed on his new gaming console. He's been waiting for this moment for more than a year.

People queue up in front of the Geekay Games store at the Qurum City Centre ahead of the official launch of the PlayStation 4
"I've been counting the days right from November, and the days have never been going," says Ashwin, who's been playing games right from the time Sega unveiled their 16-bit video-game consoles.

Noor Ul Habib runs a game store at the Capital Commercial Centre. He says he's received more than a hundred orders for the PS4 already.

"Today, more than a hundred phone calls we picked up, only for the PlayStation four," he tells me.

He sources his consoles from Jumbo Electronics, the supplier for consoles throughout Oman and because demand is a lot higher than supply, he's only received (and sold) five pieces a day after the launch.

"Before we opened the shop, there are maybe ten people standing outside," he said. He had one piece left that morning and the first customer who came in was the lucky one who got his hands on a PlayStation 4 that day. 

"Today I was [going to] get five pieces, but unfortunately we didn't get," adds Habib, who often keeps in reserve a couple of pieces for his regular customers.

Noor Ul Habib, who owns a game store in Muscat. He's already had more than a hundred orders for the PlayStation 4
"Some customer, say, he is our good customer," he explains. "He will call me [and say] 'Habib, keep for me one PlayStation'. Obviously, I'll keep for you because some returning customers, they don't come all the time [to] our shop."

The first five pieces Habib sold all went to returning customers. In addition to the game console itself, Habib is offering a free disc with every PlayStation 4 he sells, along with a year's warranty.

The PlayStation 4 is priced at R.O. 180 and Habib says this is good value for the customer, in comparison to Microsoft's XBox One, which released at around the same time and is priced at R.O. 350, nearly twice the amount of the PS4.

"The PS4 price is reasonable, that's why all the customers go for the PS4," he finishes.

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