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eBay to Curb Game Console Presale Listings

The auction giant moves to thwart fraud.


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plans to restrict presale listings of the much-anticipated



PlayStation 3 and the



Wii game consoles.

In a bid to curb online frauds, the popular online auction site will only let eBay vendors with an established track record and feedback to list PS3 or Wii items before the products hit store shelves on Friday.

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Only eBay vendors who have comments from at least 50 previous customers and have positive ratings of at least 98 points can list a PS3 or Wii before Friday. Only one PS3 can be listed per eBay account, and the listing must include a photo of the pre-order receipt, said Catherine England, spokesperson for eBay.

The move is an attempt by eBay to clamp down on those looking to make a fast buck on the in demand consoles and could help curb some of the online hysteria around the systems. Already, buyers on eBay are bidding upwards of $2,000 for a PS3 console with a suggested retail price of around $500.

Shares of Sony were down $0.39 or 0.96%, to $40.05 in recent trading.

Sony's PS3, which already made its debut in Japan, is set to launch in the U.S. on Friday. Sony expects to have 400,000 consoles available for its U.S. launch.

eBay made its decision to impose restrictions on next-generation console sales without any requests from either Sony or Nintendo, says England. eBay says it learned its lesson with


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Xbox 360 launch in November 2005. "With highly anticipated releases, listings can be impacted by high demand and short supply," she says. "So, based on our learnings from Xbox 360, we proactively provided clarification."

Additional changes to the listing format include a stipulation that before Friday, PS3s can be listed only on eBay as an auction, and without a fixed-price, 'buy it now' tag. "We want to ensure that true market dynamics come into play when it comes to pricing," says England.

The restrictions on listings are only in effect until the consoles launch. Then, all bets are off.