Sony has yet to announce the existence of the PS4 Slim and not only has it been purchased and reviewed, but a retailer in the UAE has taken it a step further by showing off the console itself on Instagram.
Game Street, a Dubai-based game store posted images of the console along with a caption stating it would be available soon. This comes hours after games business website MCV UK claimed that the PS4 Slims out in the wild originated from the UAE. The image has now been taken down.
According to several gamers residing in the UAE speaking to Gadgets 360, the PS4 Slim has been available unofficially for awhile. And though we've seen this in the past with titles as recent as No Man's Sky and The Division, this is the first time actual console hardware has bypassed the official supply chain and found its way into the hands of consumers.
"It's been available for a few days now," says one gaming enthusiast residing in Dubai. "This happens with games here all the time. More often than not it's sanctioned by the distributors themselves."
"Usually some units are given for testing and local certification, these find their way for sale. We source from the Dubai market if customers in India ask for it,"explains a parallel importer. He tells us that while enquiries for the PS4 Slim have been coming in, the current cost of around Rs. 50,000 make it a tough sell.
"After the September 7 announcement, the price will come down, and it will make sense bringing it in," he says. "Unless of course, Sony India decide to bring it in officially."
With street date breaks for Sony games being par for the course since the PS3 era, it's but obvious that the company has a glaring supply chain issue in the Middle East. Games like Infamous, Killzone 2, and most famously, God of War 3 have all been available in the country weeks prior to launch. This impacts markets close to the region like India massively. Reason being early copies meant for the UAE find themselves on store shelves in India via a resourceful grey market network of traders.
While these holes in distribution could go undetected in a less connected age, the fact that you have retailers brazenly showing off unannounced hardware begs for the company to enforce a tighter leash on a growing market.