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Getting a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S Is a Herculean Task Posted Feb 23, 2021

It’s so hard to get a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S today, even though both consoles have been out for a while. Many gamers are incredibly dissatisfied with not being able to get their hands on the consoles.

Whenever a site restocks, both consoles are sold out within minutes. The core of the problem seems to be that demand is much higher than the current supply.

All of this has made it almost impossible for regular folks like you and me to get a next-gen console. But why is this the case? It seems like it was never this hard to buy a new console, especially so long after its initial release.

In this piece, I’ll try to explain why this seemingly silly problem is happening. It’s all much more complicated than most of us think.

Getting a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S Is a Herculean Task

COVID-19 Changed the Game

The pandemic changed everything for many people, many companies, and all governments of the world.

It turned all of us into gamers.

Just consider a few examples. Cyberpunk 2077, despite its flaws and controversies, broke the record with 8 million pre-orders. The record it broke was set only a month earlier in November 2020, when World of Warcraft: Shadowlands became the fastest-selling PC game of all time.

There are many more examples, but you get the point. If games were mainstream before, they became as common in 2020 as eating food and drinking water. However gaming wasn’t the only Niche to gain high praise during the pandemic, its modern counterpart online casinos hit a high note during the lockdown as well many people sort to find new methods of generating income by trying out some of Canada's top rated casinos.

So, going back on track with gaming the demand for consoles rose significantly. But that’s not all. Due to the pandemic, the manufacturing costs grew as well. More importantly, the manufacturing process became markedly slower than usual due to the new safety measures in the workplace.

Scalping Became a Big Problem in the World of Electronics

The resale culture reached the stratosphere in 2020. This caused the rise of scalping in the world of electronics, especially consoles. Scalpers were always a problem for console manufacturers, but 2020 turned them into one of Sony and Microsoft’s worst predicaments.

Many dedicated scalpers can buy numerous PlayStations and Xboxes and then sell them for a massive profit as the demand for these consoles has increased significantly. These scalping methods have made the demand even higher as people couldn’t buy the consoles in stores.

To make things even worse, resellers started using bots to buy consoles as soon as they reached the digital stores. There were, and still are, numerous instances where a store put the consoles on sale, and only a few seconds later, they were gone. The practice can’t be stopped as botting is not illegal, and it’s certainly not illegal for non-essential items like consoles.

Sony and Microsoft deserve part of the blame for this. They could have stopped scalpers in advance, but they didn’t. Other companies with equally popular products don’t have these problems, which clearly shows that the console makers can fix it, at least in part. Manufacturing Is More Complicated and Costlier Than You Think Yes, that’s right. Making these magnificent consoles turned out to be much more challenging and more expensive than we thought.

What’s more, both Sony and Microsoft are losing money on these expensive machines. Yes, I know, the PS5 costs about $100 more than PS4 Pro, and Xbox Series X/S is the same price as the previous version. However, both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S stand at $499, not a small amount.

Even though they are relatively expensive to buy, they are not cheap to make either, nor is the process easy, as it largely depends on third-party factories. These manufacturers are making parts for various companies, and their cooperation is not exclusive to Sony or Microsoft.

What’s more, once the parts are there, the assembly process also takes time. It’s hard to make each console as these are incredibly complex machines, many times more complex than the previous versions.

So, once you take all of this into account, neither Sony nor Microsoft, want to risk losing money on all of this if the demand isn’t high enough. And no, they didn’t expect such high demand before the launch date, when so many consoles already had to be ready for sale.

Some would say that both of these companies are huge, so they can afford to make more consoles than needed. Well, they can’t.

To simplify things, let’s imagine that Sony wanted to sell 3 million units for the holidays. To do this, they would have to spend money on building each console, and according to the latest reports, each PS5 costs Sony $450 to make. Yes, that’s right, $450 for a console that sells for $499.

If that weren’t enough, building 3 million units thus costs $1.35 billion. And if Sony were to fail to sell a small part of these 3 million units, they would be bleeding cash. Sony is here to make money, not bleed an amount most people can’t earn in their entire lifetimes.

Will I Ever Be Able to Get My Console?

For now, probably not. No one expects the problems behind the console shortages to go away any time soon. The pessimists think it will last for most of the year, while optimists believe the scarcity will most likely end in April 2021.

So, for now, you’ll just have to wait. You can try out some online tips and tricks on how to get your hands on a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, but these hardly guarantee success.

This is the unfortunate reality we have found ourselves in, and the only thing you can do is try your hardest to buy the console you want, just like I’m going to. I hope we both succeed. Happy hunting!

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