Serious play

"It'd be nice to get a decent night's sleep in my own bed," he said.

By Thursday afternoon, there were more than 50 people waiting in line. Everyone who showed up was required to sign up on a list maintained by Norwood, the unofficial organizer and spokesman for the group. Every few hours, Norwood called roll call and anyone who missed it was bumped from the list.

While waiting, some used their laptops to check the going prices of PlayStation 3 systems being offered on eBay. On Wednesday, prices were averaging around $4,000. Those waiting in line would be able to purchase the system for its retail value of approximately $600. A cheaper, and less powerful version of the PlayStation 3 was also available for a few hundred dollars less.

Norwood said, while waiting in line, a businessman had approached three of them and expressed interest in buying their systems from them to give to clients. The three men offered their three systems for a total of $12,000. The man left to run the offer by his boss.

Each person waiting was entitled to purchase only one of the systems, but how many there would be available for purchase was unclear.

"One guy said there could be 20 people going home without one," said Norwood.

The store ended up receiving 34 systems initially and then a few more later on in the day, sending many home empty-handed. Those who were left out received vouchers to be first in line when the store received more systems, which could take weeks.

By the Monday following its release, the PlayStation 3's price on eBay had dropped significantly, averaging $1,000.

According to the product Web site, the PlayStation 3 offers users a "brilliant, high-definition entertainment experience" using Blu-ray disc technology, digital media storage, online capability and increased processed capability.""

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