While this year did see the launch of new generation consoles from both Sony and Microsoft, for many it was a frustrating experience. Consoles selling out at launch is nothing new, of course, it happens with almost any new major system launch, but this year was…different. Ask anyone who tried to pre-order and well, you’re bound to get a lot of tales of frustration, confusion and constant F5’ing. In part, of course, this was due to the pandemic, but there’s more at work here. For instance, scalpers are using far more advanced bots to grab up pre-orders to then sell at markup and sometimes pre-order times are just dropped without warning (such as Sony did this year with the PS5). Phil Spencer knows your woes and thinks it’ll lead to other purchase models being looked at.
Speaking with The Verge, Spencer talked about the frustrations felt during this pre-order period. He said both he and his PlayStation counterpart, Jim Ryan, expressed it as being a problem. He thinks ultimately these problems will lead to more buying models being looked at, giving a few examples, and that the current way of doing things on their end may be outdated.
“We want people to feel like there’s some consoles to go buy, and it’s not just the day where everybody gets to go pick up their console. I don’t know if that’s the right decision in today’s world. That’s very old world thinking, people are going to go line up outside of a store, kind of last decade thinking. I think we should challenge ourselves on that. Is that really the supply chain through the consumer that we’re talking about, that is a reality? We talked to our retail partners about this as well.
“I do think this business is going through, both for us and Sony — Jim Ryan [at Sony], I have a lot of respect for him, we both have lamented how these preorders have gone and what problem are we really solving when we seem to still have as many upset customers as we have, because they can’t get our product. I do think it’s going to push us to think about new models. It could be, reserve your slot. It could be doing things more direct with the customer. Still could have the retailer fulfill the order, but just so people can have more clarity on when they can get a console. It’s something we’re working on.”
The PS5 and Xbox Series X/S weren’t the only mass produced entertainment products released this year. Apple released new iPhones and Macbooks, for instance, and while they came later than usual, they had no significant delays or stock issues. So clearly, there is an alternative going forward. For now, though, all the new generation systems seem to be having stock issues that will hopefully be remedied by the beginnings of next year.