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Restock Madness

The hype for the next generation of consoles is at an all-time high. After an eight year wait since the last launch of the consoles, from just plain high demand due to COVID isolation, a rise in the gaming community, and higher performance in the new consoles, it is no surprise that the next generation for PlayStation 5, Xbox series X and even computer GPUs have been sold out. Ever since Microsoft and Sony released the gaming consoles in early November 2020, the demand for them have been shocking. There is so much demand that manufacturers of these consoles cannot keep up, causing millions who want these next “gen” gaming consoles to be forced to wait. Even worse, people are buying these consoles at mass to resell it, pushing its resale prices through the roof. It's now February 2021, a new year, three months after the consoles have hit the market and every major retailer is still forced to release a small amount of consoles for sale sporadically. Due to this situation, millions who want consoles are forced to put up with the grueling process of trying to purchase one either by waiting or buying it at an exorbitant price when it shouldn't be this hard at all.

Ever since the start of the release of the gaming consoles, the preorders have been shaky. Sony and Microsoft were gearing up for the 2020 holidays, putting the consoles out for preorder with many consumers having issues securing orders from them and their partnered major retailers like Target, Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop and more. These numerous problems were reported all across social media and forums on the internet. The items would appear out of stock, online pages would crash, orders would cancel and other errors would occur making the process of securing these high demand consoles stressful and near to impossible. The companies apologized promising more consoles up until and after the holidays after they officially release. Consumers probably weren't ready for these same problems to persist months after the consoles released in November and even after so many months after the holidays. When stock does come in, it is purchased and out of stock within a moment.

Ever since the launch of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series x/s series, it has been an impossible task for the average consumer to purchase one with consoles selling out in seconds after restocking. Also due to the pandemic, most outdoor activities have been shut down leaving everyone to be at home for most of the time. This contributed to a rise in the want for video games causing the gaming community to skyrocket, leading everyone to now want that new shiny console that just hit the market.

It’s hard for manufacturers to make these complex machines at the rate that consumers want them nowadays, especially during the pandemic. They must outsource the parts from different manufactures and it's hard during COVID when there are shortages and especially high demand. It’s been said by Sony that they are selling the disc version of the PS5 at a loss and breaking even on the digital version of the PS5.

What makes the restock situation even worse than it has to be is the scalpers. These are the people who buy the consoles not because they want it, but because they know they can profit from the demand of it. The resale community was already growing in the fashion culture where people would resale high in demand sneakers on known resale markets. Scalpers have always been known to be a plague to the common consumer, but in 2020, this situation became even worse due to the increased demand of people wanting to make a buck during COVID. This scalping mindset has moved over to the consoles due to their high demand. The demand and profit of these consoles have also put them as a target of botting.

Botting is a process of using a program that can automatically buy any item the user wants within seconds of it being on the internet. People who use these programs usually have the intent to use this bot for profit. These programs are so sophisticated that they can bypass walls that retailers put up to stop someone from purchasing more than one, allowing anyone with a bot to purchase however many they want. This creates an environment where there are rarely any consoles available and the ones that are are 2 to 3 times more than the retail price.

Since it's nearly impossible to purchase, how do you purchase one and how long will this last? Well, since the release, there has been a community formed not around the consoles and video games, but a community around purchasing consoles and video games. People must resort to looking for information about when the consoles are going to drop. They search and follow the rules of the retailer who has next generation consoles in stock. Personally, I was able to purchase both consoles within the last month, staying vigilant of YouTube streams that were dedicated to watching for the restock and putting on Twitter notifications of profiles dedicated to quick updates. You must be lighting quick as soon as you know exactly when a drop is going to happen because they are rarely ever announced early and usually announced the day of if even at all. Even if you know when a drop will happen that doesn’t secure a console because you still have to compete with the millions who do know when a restock is occurring. Each retailer has a different way of restocking so you must be aware of how they perform their restock. This is where the restock community comes in hand because they can give you tips on how to increase your chances during a drop, like adding multiple browsers during a restock. Doing these things still doesn’t automatically secure you a console but it allows you to be quick and it greatly increases your chance of purchasing one. For me, it was extremely stressful and I’ve failed many times. I almost got scammed by someone who was appearing to be selling a PS5 but was really just trying to steal my money using the situation as a ploy. Luckily, I was not scammed and I was still able to secure a Xbox series X for myself and PlayStation 5 for my brother.

It is not completely clear when this situation will subside for every gamer who wants to purchase a gaming console or graphics card at retail price with ease and no stress. Due to this pandemic and plain high demand it doesn't seem soon but a hopeful speculation would be during summer or in the second or third quarter of 2021. It might be too soon to say this spring but that possibility is not out of the question.

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