The Xbox Series X/S and Playstation 5, two coveted consoles, released in November of this year, remain almost impossible to find. The new consoles sold out rapidly, leading to a scarcity of the products. Now, weeks after the launch, both consoles remain highly desired.
The largest ever console launch for both Microsoft and Sony, the release coincided with the 2020 holiday season. With the COVID-19 pandemic still afoot, the release allowed for mass purchasing online. Even before discount days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, which normally see huge increases in sales, many vendors were out of stock. Some customers had already pre-ordered their consoles online, many more flocked to pick up their consoles after the release. Currently, almost all retailers are completely out of stock. This includes the official Xbox Series X/S and PS5 websites, which as of now list the consoles as out of stock, as well.
Already there have been attempts to resell consoles bought in bulk at a higher markup. In the wake of the upcoming holiday season, many may be forced to pay a minimum of double or triple the price from a third party if they want to get their hands on a console as a gift or for themselves.
Many of these resellers seem to be using scalping software. The scalpers use bots to rapidly order as many of a given product as possible the minute it goes on sale online, then resell them at higher values. While this is not strictly illegal for retail products, some retailers still use firewalls to keep bots out, and do their best to cancel orders they can confirm were not placed by actual customers.
Still, Playstation has tweeted that “more PS5 inventory will be coming to retailers before the end of the year.” Hopes run high that there will be enough volume of product and time before the holidays to make purchases. As of yet there has been no confirmation that new inventory will be released this year by Xbox, although their website states that current orders will not ship until late December.