In an effort to protect the citizens of London during the PlayStation 3 launch this Friday, police expressed security concerns and two major retailers on Oxford Street have canceled their midnight launches. Virgin Megastore will still proceed as scheduled, but Game and HMV are opening at their normal time the following morning.
Great examples of the right and wrong way to hold a launch occurred in Boston last year during the PS3's U.S. launch. Best Buy at Landmark saw the writing on the wall and canceled their midnight launch, placing public safety above profit. On the other hand, the Sony Style Store at Copley Square took a very different approach. Although they didn't hold a midnight launch, they withheld information from customers about how many units were available and caused tensions to escalate over the evening. It all came to a head the following morning with screaming crowds and panic. The mayor ended up billing Sony for the chaos, but at least nobody got shot. Best advice to our fellow gamers across the pond: Stay calm Europe, stay calm.