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PS3 pre-order procession (East coast edition)

Kyle Orland

The line to fork over $100 to reserve a Playstation 3 started at 6 a.m. at the Gamestop on Route 1 in Laurel, MD. Mike (the red-shirted gentleman in the picture above, who refused to give a last name) lined up at the early hour to ensure he got a system for himself and said he planned to go to another local store to reserve a system "for eBay." By 9 a.m. the line had grown to the seven hearty souls above, who still had an hour to wait before the store would open and take their money.

By 9:45 a.m. there were 16 people eagerly awaiting the 10 a.m. opening of the EBGames on Route 198. The line, which started developing at 8 a.m., ranged from college students to police officers to air force pilots, and even included two parents reserving a system for their children.

Just before 10 a.m., EBGames manager Craig Gosnell (left) came out to tell the line that he was only expecting to receive 11 systems in the first (and only) shipment before Christmas. On hearing this news, some people in the back of the line headed off to try their luck at other stores. Gosnell later admitted he couldn't reveal exactly how many units he'd be getting, and used the rough number to thin out the crowd a bit.

David Cummings, a Best Buy employee, places his pre-order with an EBGames clerk. Manager Gosnell only allowed one customer into the store at a time to avoid any confusion over positioning in line.

A restless line peers in at a table filled with other pre-order offers and goodies.

Vince Tinio shows off his pre-order receipt in front of the EBGames in Laurel Mall. Tinio drove an hour from Germantown when he realized his local store wouldn't have enough pre-orders to satisfy the line, getting to Laurel just 15 minutes before opening. Despite his late arrival, Tinio was fourth in line for a pre-order at the mall store.

Other Notes:

  • All three Laurel-area stores had sold out of their pre-order allotments soon after opening the store. If you didn't line up, you were out of luck.
  • Liner-uppers learned about the pre-order opening in a variety of ways. Some got e-mails from Gamestop's promo list, others got phone calls from their local store, still others found out from various gaming news sites. One man came down after hearing about the opportunity on CNN 15 minutes before. Another got the info. from a clerk only after pre-ordering a PS3 game yesterday.
  • Rumors of employees snatching up systems before consumers could get their hands on them drew the ire of many waiting in line.
  • Almost everyone in all three lines already had an Xbox 360 and was planning on pre-ordering a Wii when they could.
  • Most pre-orderers expressed a preference for sports or racing games. Madden and MotorSport were popular PS3 pre-order picks, as was Resistance: Fall of Man.
Also see: PS3 pre-order procession (West coast edition)

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