Two of the most anticipated gifts of the holiday season were released earlier this month, with Microsoft launching Xbox Series X | S and Sony unveiled the PlayStation 5. The only problem: you can actually find one of the $ 499 consoles in stock.
As Black Friday warns, the tools are still hard to find. But there may be some hope for holiday shoppers: Sony has vowed in a tweet that even more stocks will arrive at retailers before the end of the year.
Still, you can expect the consoles to remain hot objects. Demand for the PlayStation 5, which went live on November 12, was so high that Walmart’s website slowed and displayed error messages to some customers. Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X | St has been proclaimed by Microsoft as “the biggest drum in Xbox history.”
While some consumers wondered about their inability to buy consoles, resellers occupied listing new games on eBay, where resale prices rose to $ 32,000 for a new PlayStation 5 and $ 8,000 for a new Xbox Series X. consoles offered for resale range from $ 1,000 to $ 1,500 – still not a bad profit for people who were fast enough to pinch one.
Whether consumers would pay more than 60 times the retail price of the PlayStation 5 remains to be seen, but excessive resale prices signal the intersection of some pandemic eras: the growing popularity of the game and the shift to online retail in times of crisis.
“A new console release is always exciting – it only happens every five to seven years,” noted Jordan Minor, software and game analyst at PCMag. But he added: “Their introduction is a bit confusing, although every time a new console is launched, it’s a mess.”
One issue was the reliance on online sales for both products. The PlayStation 5 has debuted exclusively on online retail sites like Walmart.com and BestBuy.com, allowing bots to slam and shop in front of actual human consumers in milliseconds, Cequence Security said in a “hacker-in-residence” Jason Kent for the ThreatPost technology website. .
“Because most retailers have built their environment on high-speed and high-volume transactions, bots are supported by the environment that tries to keep them away,” Kent told the publication. “Efforts to build a retail store that is joyful and allows customers to enter into transactions will go directly into the hands of the makers of the bots.”
Frustrated gamers blamed both dealers and manufacturers for the new console shortage.
“2020 van @Walmart, should have been 1 per household for the Xbox release. “- said a consumer on Twitter.” Noooo, buy as much as you want. What a joke. 2020 and you, retailers, still can’t figure out how to stop bots and scammers. “
Walmart says it will recharge and release more kits during the holidays. “It’s not uncommon to see bot activity, especially on hot articles like the PS5. Our teams work hard to prevent this and ensure our customers have access to these items,” a spokesman said in an email.
Microsoft referee Liz Hamren said in a statement that some consumers were disappointed.
“We know that not everyone was able to get the Xbox Series X | S right away, and they work tirelessly with our partners around the world to bring as many new consoles as possible to us over time, and we encourage you to sign up directly to from local retailers for availability in your market, ”Hamren said.
The game’s popularity has only grown since the coronavirus epidemic paralyzed the economy. Because consumers were stuck at home, many chose to play while not spending hours.
Consumers spent $ 11.2 billion on video games in the third quarter, which runs from July to September, a 24% jump from the same period last year, according to NPD Group.
PCMag’s Minor offers some consolation for empty-handed shoppers: Don’t worry about falling behind on the same day release. First, the new consoles don’t offer many games at launch, and they may have bugs that their manufacturers will eventually iron out.
“Wait a year and there will be a year of play on it,” he said. – You may need your money for better things.