BBC Archive Footage Shows People Fighting Over PS2 Shortages

Twenty years ago today, the PlayStation 2 arrived in Europe. There were already massive shortages of the hotly-demanded console thanks to production issues in Japan, so what few PlayStation 2s there were in France caused fights to break out between retail staff and over-eager gamers.

Archival footage from the BBC shows the scene in Paris as people tear boxed Sony consoles away from each other, shouting and shoving to get what would go on to become the most successful PlayStation ever made. Indeed, the PlayStation 2 would go on to become the most successful game console system of all time, eclipsing sales of direct competitors (such as the original Xbox and Nintendo GameCube) and even outselling the PS3 and PS4.

Our BBC announcer notes that even back then, scalpers were a problem for game console launches. Hilariously, he shows paper printouts of eBay auctions where people sold PS2s for twice their listed MSRP of $300. That seems downright quaint when one considers the recent PlayStation 5 launch and how some scalpers are selling consoles for as much as $1,500.

eBay has since found new console launches to be a very lucrative time, even going so far as encouraging scalpers by removing their customary 12% fee for a portion of their sales.

Of course, it wasn’t all pushing and shoving to get a PlayStation 2. In England, people stood patiently in lines, but not as patiently as people did in Japan. One Redditor waited for 20 hours to get his PlayStation 2, although that happened about eight months before English people performed similar feats of patience.

It’s still really hard to get a PlayStation 5, but there are stores out there with stock if you’re willing to search. If not, Walmart will be getting new stock of both Xbox Series Xs and PS5s starting tomorrow, so bookmark the website and get your refresh key finger ready to pound F5 over and over and over again.

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