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Police forced to intervene after Japanese PlayStation 5 sale turns to chaos

Chaotic scenes erupted in the epicentre of Tokyo’s pop culture district over a PlayStation 5 sale as crowds mobbed the store staff.

Yodobashi Camera, one of Japan’s largest electronic retailers had to cancel its sale of Playstation 5s after mobs of people crowded into the store, damaging the service area and hurting others in the process.

In efforts to stop the surge of coronavirus cases, most retailers have opted to strictly sell their next-gen stock online. Usually, these sales operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. With growing concerns of scalpers and bots snatching up the consoles before well-meaning gamers, retailers are opting for a lottery-based approach to select customers.

Two Tokyo Police Officers overlook oncoming crowds in Akhihabara

Yodobashi Camera decided to go against the grain of their competitors and offered their first 300 customers a chance to purchase the console in person. As expected, the sale did not go as planned.

Dave Gibson, the lead UX and UI designer for Creatures Inc., unfortunately found himself caught in the chaos.

Gibson tweeted that a group of customers mobbed the retail staff to steal the tickets needed to purchase a PlayStation 5 at the checkout counter. This led to the crowd pushing people out of the way, knocking over cash registers, and causing the staff to flee into the storage room.

Shortly afterwards, the Police were called to dispel the large crowd due to coronavirus concerns. The sale was canceled.

Gibson sent out further tweets describing his experience. He estimates that 70% of the crowd were resellers and noted that before the store opened, groups of scalpers were standing together talking and passing cash to one another.

Gibson is now self-isolating after the event and sadly doing so without a PlayStation 5.