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PlayStation 4 is out, but can you get one?

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(Credit: Sony)

The PlayStation 4 is finally in the wild - but finding one is nearly as hard as it was three days ago when the system had yet to launch.

Several retailers are reporting sell-outs of their initial stock - in both major metropolitan areas as well as more rural areas. And, even though the system has only been on sale a few hours, some stores are preemptively shutting down inquiries when you try to check.

Call the Kmart on Savannah Hwy. in Charleston, SC, for instance, and ask for the electronics department and they'll answer the phone with a cheerful "Thank you for calling the electronics department. If you're calling about the PlayStation 4, we're already sold out. How can I help you?"

The story, if not the language, is the same at the GameStop in Kearney, NE and the Best Buy in Brooklyn, NY. If you didn't have a pre-order already set - and weren't one of the people standing in line for one at midnight - you're likely going to have to wait a little while longer to get one.

While there might be spotty availability in some towns - most likely at the less-than-obvious places to buy electronics - it's hit and miss.

Some online shopping outlets are still showing some availability, but not much. At press time, Wal-Mart was the only retailer that still had PS4's for sale - in the form of a $518 bundle (that came with one accessory and one game). That could change at any moment, though.

The best way to keep up with online availability, since it's so fluid, is to regularly check in with sites that track availability for you. ZooAlert and can both let you know the minute online orders open up. Act fast when you see the words "in stock," though.

There's also, of course, eBay and CraigsList - but buyer beware there. Prices are averaging $600 and higher right now - and could go higher as people get frustrated trying to find the system.

Of course, there's not rule that says you have to have a PlayStation 4 on its first day. Some retailers we spoke with said they expect more shipments to come in next week - and Sony is making sure that there will be regular shipments throughout the year.

In September, Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton, appearing on Fox Business, said the company had a plan to help it meet consumer demand throughout the holiday season.

"We want to make sure people can buy a PS4 on November 15 and through the holidays, so we're holding back some inventory to make sure people will be able to buy one," he said. "The good news is that production yields have been phenomenal. We're going to work very hard to make sure that every consumer that wants one gets one."

Sony hasn't released any statements about the early hours of the PS4 - and doesn't expect to discuss sales until next week. Don't be surprised if that announcement doesn't come at a time meant to steal some of the spotlight away from Microsoft, which will be launching the Xbox One.

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