Sony has declared the PlayStation 5’s launch to be the biggest in their history, but unfortunately the consoles aren’t going directly to the hands of the customers who want them.
PlayStation celebrated on social media, thanking “gamers everywhere for making the PS5 launch our biggest console launch ever.” With “unprecedented” demand, Sony assured that more consoles would arrive at retailers through the end of the year.
Global sales figures have not been released yet, but Famitsu reported last week that 103, 901 units were sold in Japan alone in the first four days, with an additional 14, 181 units of the digital edition. The PlayStation 4 had an incredibly strong launch, with over a million sold in North America on its launch day in 2013, so Sony had big shoes to fill.
There is a blemish upon the PlayStation 5’s out-of-the-gate success, however. Scalpers and resellers have had a field day with the new console, with one UK-based group claiming to have secured almost 3500 units (of which almost 1000 were preorders). Members of this group pay a subscription fee for access to its bot services, but also claim to have had success securing multiple units manually. They then flip the consoles for exorbitant prices, some over double retail — the $500 standard edition for $1100, and the $400 digital edition for $900.
Such groups have been profiting off of various high-demand items throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. With the PlayStation 5’s launch shifting last-minute to online or physical preorders only as a safety precaution amidst the virus’ second wave, more units were made available to these opportunists as an unfortunate consequence.
Physical retailers were expected to have the PlayStation 5 on-hand for this week’s Black Friday sales, but quantities are expected to be as low as two units per store. Sony is also selling direct to consumers in low quantities.
“Please stay in touch with your local retailers,” Sony mentioned in its celebratory tweet. Many retailers, such as EB Games in Canada, are managing wait lists as new consoles arrive, so those who are still waiting to get their hands on the new console may want to check with their local store.
Meanwhile the Xbox Series X|S had a similarly strong launch as well, the largest in Xbox history. Famitsu reported approximately 21, 000 units sold on both versions in Japan in its first week. Despite pandemic-related complications and opportunistic scalpers, the next generation of game consoles has started strong.