It could take months to meet demand for PlayStation 4 here - Gara
THE head of Sony PlayStation in Ireland and Britain has said that it could be April before demand for PlayStation 4 is met in Ireland.
Fergal Gara said that the electronics giant had not anticipated the demand for the console.
"When we launched the PlayStation 3, we sold 200,000 in the first 24 hours," he said. "We knew that demand would outstrip supply close to the launch, but not at the initial planning stage."
Sony is due to launch its latest gaming console in Ireland this Friday. The machine is already sold out, with pre-ordered units at retailers the only machines guaranteed to land in Irish gamers' hands.
The launch occurs as a row erupted between one of the largest games retailers in the country and its customers. Xtra-Vision has told its customers that it will not hand over pre-ordered consoles unless customers purchase an additional game. The move has incensed gamers, some of whom have waited almost a year to get the console.
However, the retailer has said that it will not impose the same obligations on pre-ordered PlayStation 4 consoles.
Mr Gara said that Ireland remained one of the countries with the highest game console penetration in the world.
"Ireland is still very much up there," he said. "Ireland is still near, if not right at the top of, that tree."
He said that Sony's PlayStation was the top-selling games console in Ireland and most European countries, with the exception of Britain. "That's my job to fix that," he said.
Mr Gara also said that although the games console industry is not growing at the pace it once was, it is still a strong force in the entertainment industry. He said that the gaming industry would gradually move from physical discs to digital downloads. However, he said that this would take time.
"We're definitely going to see a shift to digital," he said. "But that's not happening overnight.
"If you look at the music industry, only half of that business is online and that's after all of the transformation that has happened in the last decade.
"With games you're talking about far greater file sizes, too. So it'll be a gradual transition."