Sony's getting a head start on marketing the PS4 by putting it in the hands of the people who will be stocking the shelves.
It's no secret that working in a games retailer sometimes earns you free swag. Of course, that swag is usually a T-shirt worth ten bucks or so - not several hundred dollars' worth of hardware and software. GameStop managers are in for a treat later this year when the PS4 launches, as they'll find one machine with their name on it, courtesy of Sony.
This news comes from the GameStop EXPO, which is happening right now in Las Vegas. According to an insider tip, GameStop managers have been promised a PS4 and seven launch titles: Killzone: Shadowfall, NBA 2K14, Madden, FIFA 14, Need for Speed: Rivals, Battlefield 4, and Beyond: Two Souls. That's a nice way to hit the ground running on the next generation (though the copy of Beyond will be for the PlayStation 3, since there's no PS4 version in the works). The seven free games will be delivered as a mix of physical copies and digital vouchers.
If you're feeling jealous right now, well, that's probably the reaction Sony is looking for. The PS4 was already courting retailers with its pro-used games stance, and now these GameStop employees will almost certainly have first-hand experience with Sony's system when customers come looking for console recommendations.
Bribery? Maybe. Smart marketing? Absolutely. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go befriend the nearest GameStop manager.