(WHTM) — November 10 and November 12, 2020 – those are the dates that Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s Playstation 5 video game consoles were released, respectively.
Nine months later, you’d expect to be able to walk into any retail store that sells electronics and purchase a console for yourself if you’d like to. Wrong.
It’s not that demand is lower for new consoles or new games. Video game sales saw a record-high $56.9 billion in sales in 2020, a 27 percent increase over 2019, according to an NPD Group report. The pandemic saw hundreds of millions of people suddenly stuck in their houses, and a lot of them turned to video games to help fill their free time or take an adventure down a nostalgic lane.
A chip shortage is partly to blame. Sony has blamed the worldwide computer chip shortage on its inability to meet consumer demand. But even with the shortage, the company is pacing sales that are equivalent to or above its launch of the Playstation 4 console in November of 2013. Microsoft announced earlier this year that they expected their console supply to be limited until around June. We’re now two months past that date and there’s no end in sight.
Of course, with little supply and huge demand come the people who look to take advantage of the market.
Scalpers, they’re called, look to buy up as many consoles as they can get their hands on, to then resell them for a higher price and make a profit. It’s a simple concept that has evolved around many popular products over the years, but it seems the pandemic has driven the operation into peaks that the major corporations can’t seem to handle. Each console is currently going for at least $200 over the retail price on the secondary market.
The Playstation 5 sports two different models – the Disc Edition and the Digital Edition. Pretty self-explanatory – the Disc Edition, which retails for $499, allows users to play games on blu-ray discs and the Digital Edition, which retails for $399, is entirely comprised of digitally-owned games. The Xbox Series X is the only next-generation model for Microsoft, and it carries a retail price of $499.
Christmas is coming faster than we all believe, and that means the demand for these consoles will only rise with time. It has yet to be seen if Microsoft and Sony have the answers to be able to meet the demand in the next four months. If the last nine provide any clues, the answer will be a strong no.