TOKYO: Sony Corp's PlayStation 5 (PS5) console launched in core markets on Thursday to intense interest online, but with first day real-world sales limited to pre-order pick-ups due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has driven a boom in gaming demand.
Sony has made launch sales online only to maintain social distancing, calling for consumers to "be safe, stay home, and place your order online".
The next-generation console, which retails for US$500 or US$400 without a disk-drive, was sold out on major retailing sites in Japan and the U.S. with some conducting lotteries to distribute limited stock.
On Japan's top flea market platform from Mercari Inc, consoles were selling for more than US$900.
Major U.S. retailers Amazon.com , Best Buy Co Inc and Gamestop Corp appeared to be out of stock moments after it went on sale.
Pent-up demand for the PS5, which offers cutting-edge graphics, faster load times and a new controller with immersive feedback, has been exacerbated by the pandemic, which has seen consumers flock to gaming but has strained supply chains.
Analysts see shortages of consoles from Sony and rival Microsoft Corp, which launched Xbox devices on Tuesday, extending into 2021.
(Reporting by Sam Nussey; additional reporting by Kenneth Li in New York; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Chizu Nomiyama)