If you’re one of the many people who tried to get an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 earlier this week, you probably have some strong words for Microsoft, Sony, and all the major retailers in your area now. There are no two ways about it: These launches have been disastrous from a consumer perspective, and at this point it looks likely that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S will have issues in stock for some time to come.
Obviously, we expect the new consoles to be popular and fast-selling items regardless of when they launch, but the pandemic we’re currently in is not making things any easier. It’s pretty clear now that launching new consoles in the midst of a pandemic is a recipe for frustration, so maybe we should avoid doing it in the future, yeah?
I’ll try to avoid throwing a lot of stones here because Microsoft, Sony, retailers and customers are all victims of the circumstances, but it has to be said that the launch of both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 was something disorganized chaos dating back to the time both of these units were ordered Advance.
If you don’t crash a controller by pre-ordering it again when it first opens, it’s basically left to fight for a launch day controller, which is really complicated by the pandemic. Shortly before the release, Sony announced that there would be no launch day in store to sell PlayStation 5 in store because it did not want people to line up in front of stores or otherwise flood them and contribute to the spread of COVID-19 via the gaming console.
A smart move due to the pandemic, that’s for sure, but with PlayStation 5 sales moving throughout its online launch days (along with several Xbox Series X sales, for that matter), it made it even more difficult for real people to get their hands on the console. control. This is especially true when you consider that few retailers have announced times that they will open console sales, which leaves most people simply updating their console listings constantly in hopes of being lucky.
Even when a retailer did advertise for the times – which was basically just Walmart in the case of the PlayStation 5 – that didn’t make things better for casual consumers. Even though Walmart showed off several different PlayStation 5 stock collections on a regular basis yesterday, you had to be very lucky to get one. In those announced times, the Walmart website was unsurprisingly overwhelmed, either slowing down to crawling or crashing altogether.
Then you have the fact that most of these retailers don’t have any guarantees against robots or those who buy stocks just to resell on eBay at a profit. Some retailers, such as GameStop and Costco, have chosen to offer only consoles as part of a more expensive package. Although some will cry over the price hike upon seeing the price of these packages, this wasn’t actually the case – instead, these packages were offered as a way to dissuade sellers from buying, as they would have to figure out what to do with the additional games and accessories that came. With console (with many stores not allowing individual items from the respective package to be returned).
The packages certainly sold more slowly than the standalone consoles, so they may have done their job of banishing eBay rackets, but this isn’t an ideal solution for regular customers either. Not everyone will want all of the components of any given package, and not everyone will have $ 700 or $ 800 on hand to cover the cost of one.
In short, if you’ve been trying to buy the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 online this week, whether or not you’ve got one was really a matter of luck. Few people will win a race against robots, and unstable locations only make matters worse. The inability to find a PlayStation in the store, while a good thing due to the pandemic as a whole, means that regular consumers have been at a disadvantage when it comes to actually getting a console.
As far as I know, all PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X sales have been first come, first served, too. Retailers like Walmart and Target are definitely selling futures stock, but neither Microsoft nor Sony let you get some kind of a waiting list. Introducing this has the potential to take off a lot of pressure for consumers who just want to secure a console for delivery at some point in the future.
After watching the last few days, it would be surprising to see Sony and Microsoft implement something similar to the way Apple is selling iPhones. If you head to Apple.com for an iPhone, you’ll always be able to buy one, with shipping estimates based on Apple stock. At this point, I suspect most people would be okay with paying Microsoft and Sony their money as long as that means they can have a console at some point, even if their shipping date is a month or two away.
Don’t get me wrong, the fact that Sony and Microsoft have been able to run logistics and launch consoles during the pandemic is impressive, and Sony should be particularly commended for not allowing in-store sales of the PlayStation 5 to prevent the spread of COVID. Although it may be impressive, the only clear winners of this week are the speculators who have used robots to secure a pool of shares that they can resell on eBay.
At the moment, eBay is showing 4880 scores for Xbox Series X and 9040 for PlayStation 5. Certainly not all of these listings are for Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5, but many of them are. In the case of the Xbox Series X, we see listings ranging from $ 700 to over $ 1000, while the PlayStation 5’s price is much more egregious, with listings exceeding $ 1,400 or even $ 1,500 in some cases.
These aren’t just moon hunting speculators either – if you look at the sold listings, you’ll see a lot of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles sold for over $ 500 that Microsoft and Sony demand. As people hit their heads against the wall in an effort to get Xbox Series X or PS5 online, they become more desperate and overpay for one.
I’m not here to be the kind of advocate for people who can’t be patient and decide to spend more than twice the MRSP to get a console now instead of waiting a few months, but the fact that these units sell them illustrates just how horrible the stock situation is. As I mentioned earlier, this is always an issue when releasing a new console, but the pandemic appears to have exacerbated everything ugly about the console launch. I don’t think I’m alone when I say this was one dance that I never want to do again.