AAFES unsure when new game systems will hit shelves in Europe, downrange
DARMSTADT, Germany — New video game systems from Sony and Nintendo might not land on all Army and Air Force Exchange Service store shelves at the same time.
It’s not yet known whether AAFES stores in Europe or Iraq, Afghanistan and other downrange locations will get the game systems at the same time they debut in the U.S. Exchanges run by the Army and Navy in the Pacific region expect to have the systems on their shelves within days of their U.S. launches.
Sony’s PlayStation 3 will roll out to U.S. consumers Nov. 17 and Nintendo’s Wii hits stores two days later.
“We do expect to have them for sale at the same time as stores stateside,” said Master Sgt. Donovan Potter, an AAFES Pacific Region spokesman, who spoke about getting the consoles for AAFES’ Pacific stores.
With that news, gamers in the Pacific can ease their grips on their controllers a little, but AAFES doesn’t know how many consoles will be available for purchase there.
AAFES is “working with the respective companies to procure as many machines as possible,” said Potter.
Nintendo and Sony haven’t told AAFES when it should expect to see the new game systems for its European and downrange stores, according to Judd Anstey, a spokesman at AAFES’ Dallas headquarters.
AAFES is hopeful it will have the systems in time for all of its stores.
“AAFES is working closely with manufacturers to secure commitments for early shipment to enable contingency exchanges in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom to stock the new systems as near their launch dates as possible,” Anstey said in an e-mail response to Stripes.
Earlier this month, Sony announced that glitches with the supply of a key component will force the company to delay delivery of the system to European stores by about four months.
Sony will have about half as many PS3 systems as it projected to have ready for U.S. and Japanese markets by the end of the year, according to an Associated Press story Friday.
It is unclear how the supply glitch might affect AAFES.
The Nintendo Wii will retail for a suggested price of $249.99 and features a wireless controller that tracks movement and allows players to swing it like a sword or tennis racket or aim it like a gun.
Sony’s PlayStation 3 features an industry-topping processor, wireless controllers and a Blu-ray optical disc drive. Two versions of the PS3 will be released: The base model has a 20 gigabyte hard drive and is expected to retail for $499. A $599 version has a 60GB hard drive, is Wi-Fi capable and has a high-definition multimedia interface.
Stars and Stripes reporter Bryce S. Dubee contributed to this story.