GameStop's (NYSE:GME) allowing customers to pre-order Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 3 consoles, but the preliminary signs support what we already expected -- the PlayStation 3 is going to be in super-short supply this holiday season. That might pique consumers' interest in getting the scarce console, but then again, there are good reasons to believe that PlayStation 3 fans might get tired of being jerked around, and less hardcore fans may very well just go with rivals' consoles.

Apparently, the chains GameStop and EB Games (both owned by GameStop) are offering a handful of PlayStation 3 consoles ahead of time at many of its stores -- and that's literally a handful. Reuters reported that the company's websites said, "Due to extremely limited supply, we expect to deplete this allocation very quickly, most likely in minutes."

Reuters also said that sales representatives for the stores in the Boston area revealed that five of the stores had already depleted their pre-order quotas of 15 consoles each. It's easy to see that there may be many frustrated PlayStation fans come November.

Not long ago, we learned that PlayStation 3 won't launch in Europe until March and that an estimated 2 million consoles will be available worldwide by year's end, but only 400,000 in the U.S. at launch in November. It's not hard to imagine that Sony will be able to sell the few consoles that will be available, despite the high price tags on the machines. After all, nobody doubts that die-hard gamers will want to get their hot little hands on the next-generation consoles.

However, it's hard to think too positively about Sony these days. I guess you could argue that supply being extremely tight might just make consumers more adamant about waiting for the scarce product -- if it's that scarce, it might get the kind of cache afforded to luxury goods (not to mention it's expected to have a high price tag). On the other hand, the high pricing and short supply may cool off many more average consumers and encourage many holiday shoppers to go with Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox or Nintendo's Wii instead.

There's been lots of talk of Nintendo's Wii, which is due for full-scale launch this holiday season. With a lower price tag, it's often theorized that it will rope in many less-hardcore gamers, as well as younger children and even older folks.

The video-game industry looks pretty hot right now, with plenty of indications that more and more people view gaming as a mainstream entertainment option just like television or movies, rather than the fringe activity it used to be. Although there's reason to believe that many of the companies that stand to capitalize off of the interest in video games should do well this holiday season -- game creators like Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) obviously stand to benefit, for example -- it's easy to suppose that Sony's stingy supply of PlayStation 3 consoles give its rivals plenty of ammunition against it this holiday season.

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GameStop and Electronic Arts are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.