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PS5 PlayStation Scalpers console shortages consoles
MXP team
PS5 PlayStation Scalpers console shortages consoles

PlayStation 5 may be a great new console, but availability is still a big issue

It is not an overstatement to say that 2020 has been one of the most difficult years in recent history. Locked inside our homes, isolated from communities and wanting to stay healthy – many of us hoped to at least have a bit more time to play our favorite games at the dawn of a new console generation. However, both the stocks for computer parts as well as the new consoles were running dry and those of us who were waiting for PS5 or holding out on buying a new graphics card were left empty handed. However, the situation might finally improve in the second half of 2021, at least when it comes to Sony’s new console.

The reasons it’s so bad

The obvious factor is the pandemic. The global health crisis paralyzed supply chains. There is a huge problem with semiconductors and it is much broader in scope than just graphics cards or consoles – the smartphone market, the automotive industry, basically all tech branches have been affected in some way. The demand for the new console turned out greater than Sony expected, both because people stuck at home need some form of entertainment and simply because of the popularity of the brand. With the shortages in supply, it has been impossible to ship a PS5 to everyone willing to spend their money on it and many people wanted to get one during the Christmas period – the busiest shopping time of the year.

The problems are amplified by issues with websites selling the consoles. On release day, people waited in queues that lead to nowhere because the consoles were already sold out. Many websites, even the bigger ones, crashed due to increased traffic or became unresponsive. Bots contribute to a lot of the issues with websites. People cannot buy the consoles because it is simply impossible to compete with programs as the device is gone almost as soon as it appears. Combined with scalpers – people who use these programs to purchase as many items as possible then sell them at exorbitant prices – this phenomenon made the purchase of a next-gen console frustrating, stressful and often very costly.

What could sellers do

There are a number of things that could be done to improve the situation and some companies are doing a better job than others. First, invest in software that identifies suspicious network traffic and is able to detect bots. Don’t allow customers to purchase more than 1-2 consoles using the same personal info/IP address/credit card/delivery address etc. One company in Poland offers better queuing positions for those subscribed to their newsletters and indeed restrict the purchase to one console basing on the provided delivery information. Some people also suggest that keeping the exact launch date and time a secret would help considerably. This might result in slightly lower initial sales, but would catch everyone by surprise, including scalpers, reducing the chances of bots purchasing every console.

Availability will improve in the second half of 2021

Sony Entertainment’s President and CEO, Jim Ryan, recently commented that the situation will improve with every next month in 2021, especially in the second half of the year, as the company is increasing their production capabilities. He said he is sorry for the situation, and he also thanked the community for making the demand so high. Hopefully, retailers will also improve the way they distribute the consoles and everybody that wants the new PlayStation will have one at their home by the end of the year.

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