Next-gen stock woes continue
One continuing headache for video game buyers remains the ready shortage of next-gen platforms PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. Both Sony and Microsoft’s highly sought-after consoles continue to pop up at online retailers, only to sell out in scant minutes, inevitably leaving customers disappointed and frustrated.
Adding fury to mix, however, is the addition of “scalpers,” individuals or groups who purchase multiple consoles en masse, before immediately offering them for re-sale, often at hugely inflated prices. While scalping has been prevalent in retail for decades, modern technology has made the practice more difficult to combat than ever before, due to the creation of bot software that carries out the sales process automatically.
Early this week, UK retailer GAME took stock of its latest batch of PS5 consoles, all of which – naturally – sold out in double-quick time. Soon afterward, a scalper firm took to Twitter to claim that it had successfully acquired over 2000 consoles from the sale, via the use of its bot software. Other Twitter users also claimed of having bagged multiple PS5 units, most with a flammable, antagonistic attitude that makes the claims harder to believe.
After a deluge of complaints was lobbied against GAME for this outcome, the retailer reached out to VGC to assure its customers that GAME’s next-gen order process remains locked down.
“PlayStation 5’s continue to be in very high demand and that demand far outweighs current supply,” said a GAME spokesperson. “We have strong measures in place to help ensure that our ‘1 per customer’ statement is maintained to allow for as many individual customers to successfully purchase as possible… All pre-orders are subject to automatic checks, and order updates – such as cancellations following these checks – take place after a customer will have received a valid order confirmation email. At the present time, these orders are still pre-orders and as such no payments have yet been taken from customers. Payments will commence once our order checks have been completed.”
As long as there is demand for any item – from consoles, to concert tickets, to limited edition clothing, and even toys – scalping will remain a frustrating part of the online retail process. In the end, everybody who wants to purchase a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S will get the opportunity to do so, sooner or later. But the breathless rush to retailers looks set to continue for the time being, little different from all major console launches of decades past.
Death, Taxes, and Your Connection Has Timed Out.