Buying A Console Shouldn’t Be This Hard

COG Considers: Why Can’t Anyone Find A PS5???

The new consoles are here, and everyone loves them! Well, everyone who can get a hold of one. It turns out bots are still a very serious problem, one that makes console shopping into something of a soul-crushing nightmare. People are still bashing their heads against the spiky wall that is scarcity, with no real solution in sight. Maybe we need to re-evaluate how we do this online shopping thing, after all.

If you managed to snag a PS5 or an Xbox Series X/S, congratulations! You’ve snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and/or a horde of malevolent shop bots. While this bot business didn’t seem as prevalent during the pre-order windows, the scalpers found a way by the time both consoles went on sale last week. Online retailers’ sites were crashing like crazy, purchases were vanishing from people’s carts, and both boxes were selling out in record time.

The sinister second act of this tale comes in the form of re-sales. Those same scalpers immediately started hawking their wares online, with prices quickly reaching the thousands. That’s too much money to spend on a console! But how could we have predicted this problem? It’s not like bots have been screwing people out of purchases… for umm… years? Ah yes. How quickly we forget the hellish time that was the NES Classic’s release.

In fact, it seems like every new console that’s come out in the last four years has been marred by this issue. Nintendo can’t drop a hot new product without it vanishing into the fog in minutes, and Sony hasn’t been any better. Even Microsoft has fallen prey to this awful phenomenon. It’s not a big ask! we just want to be able to buy the things you’re all selling. Maybe work a little harder to ensure that ‘one per household’ isn’t immediately co-opted by malicious scalpers and their high-speed tools.

I’ve had a little success in this venture, and it’s only because I was online the very minute pre-orders were opened up. Otherwise, how does a person stand a chance? Not everyone is watching the press conferences for the exact second sales are active. Most people have busy lives to attend to, jobs to do, children to raise. Even among those journalists and industry peeps who were tuned in, the success rate was pretty low. I know that maxing out those teraflops and boosting the fps is a big priority, but let’s also make sure that people can actually acquire the godly box once it’s on the market. Don’t let the thieves and robots win again!