Christmas 2020 was always likely to be a difficult one considering what’s going on in the world, but it was made all the more difficult by people not being able to get the one present that their children (or perhaps they themselves) wanted most of all. That was the Sony PlayStation 5. The console launched amid great fanfare in November 2020 but was immediately out of stock and didn’t come back into stock for anyone but the luckiest of people for the rest of the year. That left a lot of parents explaining to disappointed children on December 25th that there are some things that even Santa can’t arrange.
Many fingers of blame were pointed when the consoles became hard to get hold of, most of which were pointed in different directions. Sony took a lot of criticism for not building enough consoles for launch day despite being aware of what demand was likely to be like – a fact that they’ve since apologized for more than once. Scalpers and scammers also took a lot of criticism, and quite rightly. Cleverly-organized scalpers – some of whom used specialist software – managed to land multiple units of the console on launch day and then re-sold them on eBay, where they retailed for thousands of dollars per console. That meant some gamers scored a Pyrrhic victory – they got the console that they so desperately wanted, but they spent far more than they initially intended to on it.
Under normal circumstances, this would have presented a significant opportunity for Microsoft, which launched its brand-new Xbox Series X console a week earlier than the new PlayStation. Unfortunately for them, they also somehow managed to misjudge demand and sold out immediately, despite the fact that their console is significantly less popular than Microsoft’s. With gamers unable to get hold of either console, millions of PS4 and Xbox One machines have had an unexpected extended lease of life as players continue to ‘make do’ with them until the drought finally ends.
While Sony and Microsoft have both doubtless lost out on sales and money because of the stock outages, other companies have made hay while the sun is shining. Nintendo has sold millions of units of its “Switch” console, with a level of demand that the company hasn’t seen since the golden years of the original Nintendo Wii. Google’s Stadia, with its online slots style delivery of games freed from the constraints of console hardware, has also seen an uptick in popularity. We make the online slots comparison because players can access games on the platform from anywhere in the world so long as they have a ‘smart’ device with a screen and a stable internet connection, as well as a controller to interact with. Just as the whole casino industry changed when the first online slots reached the net, video game streaming might yet change the whole gaming industry. Amazon certainly hopes so, as the company has just launched its Stadia-like “Amazon Luna” platform. Sony and Microsoft will be hoping for the outcome.
If Sony doesn’t want gamers to make the jump to streaming ahead of schedule, they’re going to need to get the PlayStation 5 back in stock sooner rather than later – and it appears like they’re gearing up to do precisely that. If you’ve been desperately hoping to get your hands on a Playstation 5 and you live in the United States of America, we have good news for you. More stock is coming, and it’s coming very soon. Almost every big-name store in the country has been pushing Sony to provide them with new stock as quickly as possible, and it looks like Sony is finally able to fulfill those demands. We’ve been keeping our eye on the stock situation, and this is the latest news.
Sony says that new stock will be available to all major retailers as of January 7th and that from that point on, there shouldn’t be significant stock outages. If consoles do sell out at any particular store, they should be replaced with new stock within a small number of days. Best Buy and Walmart have not yet publicly confirmed that they’re expecting new stock to arrive within the next seven days, but they might be waiting until they have the units in their warehouses before offering false hope to customers. Amazon has already sporadically begun accepting orders for delivery after that date, although this appears to be on an ad-hoc basis. If you’re determined to get a PS5 as soon as possible, it might be the best advice to keep the relevant page of Amazon’s website open on your browser and refresh it throughout the day.
Target and GameStop are both believed to be getting new stock of the console either on the 7th or the 14th and then every week after that on an ongoing basis. It’s Sony’s hope that the next trench of sales will take care of what would have been the Christmas market, and that demand will slow down to a more manageable pace after that point. As strong as demand is at the moment, there’s still a finite number of people who want PlayStation consoles, and all of the people who have the money to buy one will probably have one within the next month to two months at the very latest. Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, GameStop, and Target are still your most likely sources for finding one within the next two weeks. Sony urges customers not to overpay for the console on auction websites, and so do we. There’s no reason to pay more than one thousand dollars for a console that ought to cost less than half of that price when waiting a few more days would likely get you what you want for the right cost.
When you do eventually get a PlayStation 5, your next challenge will be to find something to play on it. Aside from the latest versions of “Call of Duty” and “Assassin’s Creed” the console is a little bereft of platform-specific high-profile games at the moment, but that situation will resolve itself in the weeks and months to come. 2021 is likely to be a fantastic year for gamers, but you might have to be patient for a little while longer before you can start to experience the good times.