»Every single person I know wants one«, someone writes in the online forum »ResetEra«. “Everything is sold out. Hobby speculators sell them for over a thousand. It seems to be a global phenomenon. «We are not talking about a new miracle medicine or a vital resource, but a game console. “Is the Playstation 5 the most popular tech product of all time?” Asks the author of the forum entry.
Get a Playstation 5 for Christmas now without spending twice the usual price of either 400 or 500 euros on portals like Ebay classified ads? That takes strong nerves and, above all, luck. Sony did for this year though
. But when, where and how it is so far remains one of the great mysteries of this Advent season for the time being.
We want to thank gamers everywhere for making the PS5 launch our biggest console launch ever. Demand for PS5 is unprecedented, so we wanted to confirm that more PS5 inventory will be coming to retailers before the end of the year - please stay in touch with your local retailers.— PlayStation (@PlayStation) November 25, 2020
Live blogs on Playstation sales
In any case, forays into department stores are of little help. The Playstation 5 was and is almost exclusively sold over the network, also to avoid crowds in the games department during the corona crisis. So far, the device could only be purchased online from tech dealers for a few days – in practice it was more like minutes or seconds. It took decisive clicks at the right time in the right place, a nightmare for professionals. Sometimes even entire online shops collapsed under the onslaught of the console. The specialist media now have small live blogs on the delivery situation.
The Playstation 5 is a marketing self-runner. However, the discussion is still more about mere ownership than about the gaming experience: to have or not to have, to wait or not to wait, to be there or fed up.
126,000 comments on a deal
Fabian Spielberger, 37, has seen many console launches, but he thinks this is the most sensational one. He is the head of »mydealz«, a platform for the hunt for bargains. On »mydealz«, which Spielberger founded in 2007, users post discovered offers, others rate them. Each set “deal” reaches a certain temperature, according to the motto: the more a deal burns, the more remarkable. On Black Friday, for example, a post on discounted sex toys landed at over 4000 degrees, on Wednesday a vacuum cleaner robot set cracked 3000 degrees.
It is a discussion full of willingness to buy and frustration, full of jokes and self-disclosures. A thread in which mostly younger to middle-aged men seem to have found a second family: that of the desperate Playstation 5 hunters, welded together by the desire to get hold of a console despite adverse circumstances. Motto: The chase is better than the catch.
“The unusual thing is that you can’t even pre-order the Playstation anymore,” says Fabian Spielberger. “As with other console launches, we’re not talking about whether or not you can play directly on day one, but about whether you will even get a Playstation in a few weeks or months.”
The demand is great, despite the lack of exclusive games
How could it come to this? Much is suspected about delivery or production difficulties because of Corona. Sony does not comment on this in detail. And yes, the pandemic probably plays a major role, but more so in another facet. Because this year obviously a lot of people just want to buy a new console.
According to Sony’s information, more devices were available at the launch than at the start of the Playstation 4, despite the corona crisis. But in the United States alone, there are said to have been as many pre-orders within twelve hours as the previous console did in twelve weeks.
For many, the Playstation 5 is apparently less of a luxury item than the right purchase for a time of crisis. No matter how white the console is, it can be huge and incompatible with many living room furnishings. It doesn’t matter that there are hardly any exclusive blockbuster games at the start, apart from the dark “Demon’s Souls”.
In return, the console lures with the fact that you can continue playing your Playstation 4 titles on a device that is much more powerful than its meanwhile old-fashioned predecessor. 4K resolutions, shorter loading times, a better controller: in a year when there isn’t much else to do in leisure time, a noticeable leap forward is possible, at least in gaming at home.
The corona crisis with its shutdowns has also brought some people only to play or back again. “Many of them may have saved money because they weren’t on vacation, for example, and then said to themselves: Now I’ll treat myself to a Playstation again,” says Fabian Spielberger. In addition, the days around and after Christmas are traditionally a good opportunity to play – preferably on a new console.
Scarcity as a marketing turbo
The start of the Playstation 5 reminds the bargain expert Spielberger with much more demand than supply of product launches in the fashion world, where some sneakers are deliberately produced in small numbers, which makes them all the more popular. Artificial scarcity as a marketing turbo. Sony would certainly rather bring more consoles on the market than too few. In any case, the company created a »FOMO moment«, says Spielberger, a moment that makes people think: »Oh crap, if I don’t get it now, I won’t get it for a long time«.
More than in previous console launches, people who clicked the competition for the first devices seem to have mixed in this time, who want to sell the devices in the style of ticket black market dealers for a profit to real fans. The business is worth it, whether on a small or large scale. Ebay classifieds currently automatically suggests a price of 600 to 900 euros if someone puts up an advertisement for a Playstation 5. This price range seems realistic. When asked, several private dealers report that the pain threshold for serious buyers is around 800 euros per console.
The majority of the messages they receive on the platform are insults, according to the dealers: How dare they sell the console for 900 or even 1000 or 1100 euros. However, some people expect chances of reaching four-digit amounts, especially with a view to Christmas. Because some people would give a lot to fulfill the dearest gift wish from their partner or child. This bet could work.
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