Students line up for new game console

Gallatin, Tenn. Junior Zach Puckett walks out of Best Buy with a new PlayStation 4 after waiting in line for six hours, two minutes after midnight Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, in Bowling Green, Ky.

Cameron Koch

Students and parents lined up outside Best Buy on Thursday night to get their hands on the newest incarnation of Sony video game hardware: the PlayStation 4.

The console, which touts more vivid graphics, a new controller and improved online features, has been reported to have had a successful launch.

Sony said it sold more than 1 million units of the $400 video game console in the first 24 hours of availability in North America.

Despite successful sales, the system’s release has been mired by technical shortcomings. Some of the PS4’s first buyers are reporting their consoles won’t even turn on. So far, the number of defective consoles remains unknown.

The risk of buying a $400 paperweight didn’t stop several WKU students from braving the 30-degree weather for hours to be among the first to get their hands on the PlayStation 3’s successor, a system that has been seven years in the making.

Gallatin, Tenn., junior Zach Puckett preordered the PS4 from Best Buy back in July — just days after Sony announced the system at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, an annual trade show for the video game industry.

He said waiting outside the store from 4 p.m. to midnight was worth it.

Lane Francis, of Bowling Green, the first person in a line of about 40 people, said waiting outside is part of the fun.

“You got all the fans out here together with a common interest,” Francis said.

When the clock struck midnight, there were no cheers of joy or triumph. There were only frozen gamers anxious to get inside, warm up and collect their loot. When midnight hit, those waiting in line who hadn’t already paid for their console through a preorder were allowed into the warmth of the store three at a time. There, they were greeted by tables laden with new PlayStation games, controllers and miscellaneous items.

Nashville freshman Chris Hissam, who arrived at Best Buy around 5 p.m., said he’d never waited in line for a midnight launch before.

With his birthday right around the corner, Hissam said his mom agreed to pay for the $400 game console as a birthday gift, under the condition that Hissam wait in line in the freezing weather to bring it home.

Microsoft’s new video game console, the Xbox One, is to be released this Friday, a week after the PlayStation. Hissam said he wasn’t interested in Microsoft’s $500 console, made popular by such games as the mega sci-fi shooter franchise, “Halo.”

“I don’t want to spend another $100 on the Xbox,” Hissam said. “I’d rather spend $400 and get another controller and a game.”

The question was whether or not he would skip class the next morning to play.

“I have class at 9,” he said. “But she [his professor] doesn’t count attendance, so probably. I guarantee when I bring it back all my friends will be over.”