Dick Smith's controversial midnight launch for the PlayStation 4 involves a competition for the right to buy one of almost 300 units of the console. Earlier today we detailed why this competition was, if not unethical, certainly unfair to the people entering the competition, not to mention consumers waiting to see if their existing pre-orders will be honoured on launch day.
A representative from Dick Smith responded to several questions we sent in an attempt to cast light on the reasoning behind the event.
"We wanted to celebrate the launch of the PS4 with a massive party," said a Dick Smith representative, "and we think with the entertainment and the prizes, particularly the trip to E3, will make for an exciting event."
We then asked specifically if it was fair, in the light of Australia wide shortages, to divert almost 300 units of the console to Dick Smith's competition.
"We wanted to give everyone who missed out on a pre-order the first time around to be given a 2nd chance," the rep explained.
The most controversial aspect of the competition is the fact that Dick Smith is announcing the winners of the competition at the event itself, meaning that you have to enter, then travel to the store for the midnight launch without any pre-existing idea of whether you will receive the right to buy a PS4 or not. We asked Dick Smith if this was fair on consumers?
"We are inviting people to attend our PS4 launch party," said the representative. "If they missed out on pre-ordering a PS4 from the 1st shipment we are offering a 2nd chance at getting a PS4 on day 1, either by winning one, or having one available for purchase. A lot of people who missed out on pre-ordering the first shipment want this opportunity.
"Anyone who attends the launch and misses out on the night will be given special priority to pre-order a PS4 from our 2nd shipment due in before Xmas."
Although we have to take Dick Smith at its word, I've had it confirmed by JB Hi-Fi that customers who registered pre-orders after November 20 will almost certainly not be receiving their consoles before the New Year. It is possible, however, that Dick Smith has more units in their next allocation.