Almost a year and a half ago, when I first got my hands on the PlayStation 5, an enthusiastic friend came over, tried it out and said, “You know what! It’s good but, I’ll wait for Sony to present a bundle. They might even reduce the price too. It sounded like a good plan. We all know that Sony has always offered great bundles with the PS4. They allow you to take home two controllers for the price of one. Sometimes take great games at no extra cost.
I also registered. We set the target for Diwali, assuming that would be the best time to introduce such offers. As Yoda would say – We were wrong. 18 months later, there’s still no sign of any bundles or deals. Was there a price drop? No.
Interested buyers have to wait weeks for a restock, only to have it sell out in minutes. It’s a shame considering that these two next-gen game consoles have been well received in the Indian market. Sony made significant changes to the PlayStation 5 over its predecessor, while Microsoft seemed closer than ever to its Japanese rival with improved performance and an exclusive games bouquet.
The issues behind this shortage are well documented. Lockdowns in different countries, their effects on production capacities and the drop in supply due to a continuous shortage of chips have affected almost all technology-related industries. The automotive sector is a prime example, where even smartphone makers are struggling to keep prices low.
Still, you’d expect two of the biggest console makers to handle this situation better. The PS5 and XBox Series X are in their second year on sale and most retailers in India are still sitting with empty shelves.
The situation of the scalper
A big part of the problem are the scalpers. You don’t know the concept yet? These are individuals or groups of individuals who accumulate consoles through both pre-orders and retail purchases. No need to guess – they later sell these units for a higher price. Theories suggest that they are using “bot” software that allows them to quickly purchase multiple items without having to manually complete the checkout process. It also allows them to purchase more than one unit of the same product.
Scalpers are a big deal but like I said they are only part of the problem. Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand even if you remove scalpers from the equation.
Positive statements have been made recently. Sony senior vice president Veronic Rogers said earlier this month that the company plans to dramatically increase PS5 production this year. Microsoft, on the other hand, is paying factories to prioritize their chip in order to ramp up Xbox Series X/S production.
You may be excited about these ambitious statements, but there are also obvious statements to doubt.
PS5 Pro or Xbox Series Y
During one of its recent conferences, TCL surprisingly claimed that the PS5 Pro and Xbox Series Y consoles could be launched in 2023 or 2024. It stated that these new consoles will offer gameplay up to 120 FPS at 2160p resolution. and that they will be able to play games in 8K.
If you go by history, the suggested timeline makes a lot of sense. The PS4 was released in 2013 and we got a Pro version three years later in 2016. Microsoft also introduced the Xbox One X in 2017 as a successor to the Xbox One launched in 2013. The Xbox Series X/S and the PS5 are both coming out in 2020. We’re halfway through 2022, which means we should have an updated version next year or the year after.
But it could make matters worse for Sony and Microsoft, who are far from meeting supplies for the Xbox Series X and PS5. Even developers and gamers haven’t been able to get the most out of the existing PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, which, by the way, are quite capable gaming devices themselves.
So I don’t think it would be wise for any of these manufacturers to ramp up production of a new console before they better capture the existing market.
Time will tell if we see new consoles or not, but for now, the gaming community in India has been let down by these two tech giants who have continuously struggled to deliver the required number of consoles.