Bondi Harveys goes red-faced over phony PS3 display

By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: A faux-PlayStation 3 display at Harvey Norman Bondi Junction has generated a wave of internet controversy as countless websites and gaming blogs branded the display misleading and confusing.

The poorly-devised in-store display featured two cardboard boxes fronted by Harvey Norman PlayStation 3 pre-order posters, with a colour cut-out of a PlayStation 3 console sitting atop the cardboard boxes – which seemed innocent enough until one shopper noticed the Xbox 360 sitting behind the PS3 cut-out.

It was initially thought that the store was attempting to mislead consumers into thinking the Xbox 360 content was actually PlayStation 3 content, however this assumption was quickly anulled by Harvey Norman general manager – computer and entertainment, Rutland Smith, who revealed the display was likely the result of a sales person’s “innocent mistake”.

Smith stated that displaying an actual PlayStation 3, likely to be imported from overseas due to the console not yet being released in Australia, would be an “extremely expensive display that we would have to throw away after March 23 [the Australian launch date]”.

The consumer who snapped the photos which have created the controversy, known only as Kane, stated that the display was obviously fake and doubted its ability to mislead anyone.

PlayStation public relations manager at Sony Australia, Adrian Christie, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the Harvey Norman display was “alarming news” and confirmed the display had since been taken down.

“It was sort of an overzealous merchandising mistake, he [the store’s proprietor] explained to me,” said Christie.

“The display had been up 24 hours and they were using it as a playback device to show Harvey Norman ads. I would have a really big problem if they were in any way deceiving people by pretending that it was PS3 content.”

The PlayStation 3 gaming console is due to launch in Australia on 23 March 2007.

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