Not once but twice this year have major, AAA releases from video gaming's biggest publishers sold out at retail, first Fire Emblem: Awakening from Nintendo on 3DS and second with The Last of Us from Sony on PS3. Could it be possible that 2013's unquestionably massive launch of Grand Theft Auto V will be short on stock at retail?
Fire Emblem: Awakening launched back in February and suffered from repeated shipping delays. The first warning came from Amazon who warned shoppers that the title could see a potential shipping delay reinforcing GameStop's (at the time) lack of online stock. Several gamers in my local shopping centers and online reported that their preordered copies of Awakening hadn't arrived by launch day.
At the time, Nintendo told reporters that they were doing everything to get the game into shopper's hands, but that the Nintendo eShop had plenty of capacity to service everyone a downloadable copy of the game. The same could be said of Sony's PSN service which provided gamers with The Last of Us digitally amid shortages at retail.
Gamers took to message boards claiming they couldn't find the game on retail shelves anywhere. Reports came in of short stock at Target, GameStop, Walmart, Best Buy, and more. Many other internet users replied that those who couldn't find a copy in stores should have bought the titles digitally or preordered.
When Grand Theft Auto V lands on September 17th, will only those with perorders have the game on Day 1? Obviously retail stock and allocations are determined by the amount of business any one store expects to do with Grand Theft Auto V. The number of copies a GameStop or Best Buy will have on hand for those who didn't preorder will vary from place to place.
Recently, Amazon ended preorders of GTA V's Collector's Edition for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The Special Edition for $79.99 is still available online at retailers like Best Buy, but store-to-store variance is still possible.
Are these retail copy shortages driven by publishers who want more consumers to buy their games digitally? Is it a natural consequence of gaming's growing market reach? How likely is is that Grand Theft Auto V will sell out at some stores?
Do you have your copy of GTA V preordered and if so, which version?