Next-Gen Console Scarcity Issues Continue for Microsoft, Sony

    • After November 2020 launches, the PS5 and Xbox Series X and S are still hard to find.
    • Some scalpers are using “purchase bots” to buy consoles quicker than humans can.

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If you haven’t been able to secure a PlayStation 5 or next-generation Xbox, that may not change any time soon.

Sony has described PlayStation 5 demand as “unprecedented” and promised more inventory. Microsoft says it is “working tirelessly with our manufacturing and retail partners to replenish Xbox hardware as quickly as possible.”

But both companies’ consoles are still incredibly difficult to find.

In a lot of ways, they don’t want to satisfy demand initially. They want to have an ongoing gap between supply and demand, David Gibson, CIO at Astris Advisory, told The New York Times. “They want to have buzz and excitement around it for a longer period of time.”

  • Gibson estimates that Sony sold at least six million PS5s through the end of 2020.
  • He says that Microsoft sold about three million of the Xbox Series X and S.

Some scalpers are using “purchase bots” to buy consoles quicker than humans can. Walmart said it blocked more than 20 million bot attempts to buy a PS5 in one 30-minute window.

COVID lockdowns also closed factories at the same time demand for remote devices rose with players at home.

Despite the inability to meet demand, Microsoft’s console launch was its most successful ever, and the company’s gaming unit had its first $5 billion quarter from October through December.

We’ll find out more about how PlayStation 5 has performed from Sony’s earnings report on Wednesday.