Both Microsoft and Sony launched next-gen consoles this month, and it has been a bit of a nightmare since their release. Thousands of consumers have been feverishly trying to get their hands on either an Xbox Series X|S or a PlayStation 5. Demand is through the roof, with retailers immediately selling out worldwide. Rarely, some stores online would get a pitifully small number of consoles to tease potential customers with but this oftentimes ended with websites crashing. With more people playing games than ever, it’s no surprise that consoles are near impossible to find.
I was not able to get a pre-order for a PS5 when they went live earlier this year. I told myself that it was fine. I, like many people looking to pick up a next-gen console, resigned myself to one of two options.
I could spend sleepless nights hounding and refreshing retailer websites for a golden chance to spend money on something I don’t necessarily need right now. Or, I could wait until next year or whenever consoles become readily available again. I chose to wait.
Then this past weekend I decided I was going to try and purchase a PlayStation 5. I really, desperately wanted to play Demon’s Souls. I wanted to play it so bad, it overcame my resolution to wait. Part of the appeal became the thrill of the hunt.
Spoiler alert: I couldn’t.
Virtually standing in line for a PlayStation 5 is not fun
For all of Saturday and most of Sunday, I sat by my laptop and refreshed pages. It wasn’t too far off from a typical weekend for me, but now with added stress. I had multiple tabs open on my internet browsers and repeated timers set on my phone. Every 15 minutes or so I’d drop what I was doing, refresh some tabs, get disappointed, and go back to what I was doing.
After almost two days, I realized it wasn’t worth it.
Physically standing in line isn’t great either, but at least I know what type of anxiety I am getting myself into. I was one of the lucky few who was able to snag a launch day Wii back in 2006. I am used to waiting in lines for hours, sometimes more than half a day, just to guarantee I am in the top ten people on a console release. In a year where so much of the world has been affected by the coronavirus, however, I was not about to do that.
Scalping at it’s finest
On a whim, I checked eBay. I knew it was a mistake — there have been screenshots and stories buzzing around Twitter about scalpers asking for absurd prices. Like this person below, selling a PlayStation 5 for almost $2,000. They have sold 17 already.
People looking to hustle isn’t anything new. Scalpers have been around for years, but for those looking for a next-gen console distraction during a global pandemic, it just hits differently. It’s disheartening to see, but it comes with a harsh reality. Eventually, those consoles will be restocked, and in six months, retailers will be lousy with PlayStations.
At the end of the weekend, I was not able to order a PlayStation 5. My two-day quest failed and I have to go back to waiting like I originally planned. But it’s okay. It’s okay not to be able to find a console. It’s also okay if you aren’t able to afford an Xbox Series X|S or PlayStation 5. The world is going through some tough times and it is affecting people in so many ways.