By Jennifer Korn
Like many gamers in recent weeks, Nicole DeSantis, 33, from outside of Philadelphia, has been scouring social media sites trying to find inside information on where to get a PlayStation 5 this holiday season. Due to the global shortage of chips, video game consoles are particularly hard to find this year.
After successfully scoring a unit of Walmart.com, she has helped more than half a dozen local mothers secure various video game consoles for their children. She also posts tips on popular Facebook groups – such as “PS5 / XBOX SERIES – RESTOCK”, which has 27,700 members – on how to find them.
“You definitely need information to get a console,” DeSantis told CNN Business. “You can’t just get it without.”
More than a year after their first launches, Sony’s PlayStation 5 (PS5) and Microsoft’s premium Xbox offering, the X-series, are still hard to come by. The more recently launched Nintendo Switch OLED model, launched in October 2021, is even harder to find on shelves and online. Replenishments of the devices sell out in minutes and an incident in Harris County, Texas even resulted in an attempted armed robbery when a 19-year-old man attempted to sell his PS5 to a man he met online.
Supply shortages and logistics issues have impacted many industries, including automotive and consumer electronics, but the gaming industry has been hit particularly hard as it competes with these other sectors for similar parts.
“The supply chain issues that affect other consumer items are even more pronounced for game consoles for several reasons, namely the shortage of chips, logistics backups and robots exploiting the imbalance between supply and demand, “Forrester technical analyst Alla Valente told CNN Business.
At the end of last year, Sony (SNY) withdrew its production forecast of 16 million PS5 units between March 2021 and March 2022, adjusting the number to 15 million units. Nintendo (NTDOY) and Microsoft (MSFT) both warned customers earlier this month that console sales would be down due to the chip shortage.
“We will do our best to meet the demand for all of our products, depending on the current situation and any challenges with shipping and supply chain management,” said a spokesperson for Nintendo at CNN Business. “Our goal is to manufacture enough systems to meet demand, so that we can satisfy as many consumers as possible. “
Likewise, a Microsoft spokesperson said the Xbox Series X | S will continue to be restocked. “We are working as quickly as possible with our manufacturing and retail partners to expedite production and shipping to meet unprecedented demand,” they said. “We recommend that you check availability with local retailers. “
But some buyers like DeSantis are actively looking for workarounds. For example, Microsoft began offering Xbox Series X packs in mid-November for “select fans” who received links through their existing Xbox accounts to purchase the pack, which included the console itself and a game.
Sony has established a similar practice where it has started emailing special invitations for PS5 restockings based on “past interests and PlayStation activities,” according to its website.
Other retailers offer special access to restocking for buyers who sign up for their annual membership services. This includes Walmart + ($ 98), Best Buy Totaltech ($ 199.99), Costco ($ 60), and GameStop PowerUp Pro ($ 14.99).
“The majority of Walmart + subscriptions are probably just people trying to get the PS5 and then canceling it after they get it,” DeSantis said.
However, signing up for these services does not guarantee that someone will find a console. Bereket Tesfay, 42, of Austin, TX, is a gamer who cannot locate a PS 5 even after paying for subscription services.
“I joined the Walmart +, Amazon Prime, and GameStop’s Pro subscription so I could have a first chance to buy a system – and after a year I still haven’t had one,” he said. told CNN Business. “I’ve never seen a console in my life where a year after it came out, you can’t just go to a store and buy one.”
Ameer Assaf, 32, of Flushing, Michigan, maintains three different social media pages to help players share advice on product availability. In addition to tweeting updates from his Twitter page, he manages a replenishment group on the Discord messaging app and his “PS5 Restock Updates & Alerts” group on Facebook with over 60,000 subscribers.
“A number of people started playing more video games during the pandemic and became interested in purchasing or upgrading their existing consoles,” Assaf told CNN Business. “We are indeed seeing a situation where there is incredibly high demand coupled with very low supply. … The PS5 shortage has been the worst I have seen so far.
He said scalping robots, which quickly buy items for resale at a higher price, are also making it harder for average customers this year.
“I’m especially excited when parents send me a message to let me know that my group is the reason they will be able to gift their child a console this holiday season,” Assaf said.
Analysts predict that supply chain issues will impact the gaming industry through 2022 and possibly 2023. Assaf said he will continue to do his best to help connect consumers with a console coveted.
” From now on, [my] the groups will continue to operate until the shortages are no longer a problem, ”he said.
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