During previous console generations, the concept of popping down to your local big-box store and buying the hot new console of your choice wasn’t a luxury–it’s simply how things worked. Over the past two years, the pandemic completely changed the way that most people shop for desirable items such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X. In recent months, however, there have been indications that the new shortage culture surrounding video game consoles might be fading–at least in the short term.
If you tried to get your hands on a PS5 or Xbox Series X in the past two years, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Eager would-be buyers were greeted by “out-of-stock” messages at every retailer. Advertised restocks would run dry within a minute or two after the gate opened, if they didn’t crash for you in the first-place. This isn’t the first console shortage that gamers have dealt with–the Wii suffered from issues at launch–but it’s arguably the worst ever. However, while the Xbox Series X became relatively easy to find in 2022, the PS5 has continued to suffer from serious supply constraints.
The pandemic-era shortages can be blamed on a wide variety of factors: an increased interest in gaming as a hobby, ongoing shortages of important components, and general supply-chain issues. During that period, it was virtually impossible to buy a new-gen console for MSRP without using outside resources to locate the right opportunities. Desperate buyers turned to a secondary culture of Discord servers, Telegram channels, and Twitch streams in order to find the next drop and take advantage.
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Author: Steven T. Wright