Blog: One Last Rant – 12/02/20

I know I’ve repeatedly complained about my inability to secure a PlayStation 5, but I promise you that this is the last bespoke article you’ll have to endure unless something truly buck-wild happens. The majority of issues that are plaguing the launch of both the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 can be summed up with “not enough stock,” or “scalpers.” It’s truly been an exhausting and underwhelming experience that’s made me question why I’m fighting so hard for the chance to spend $500.

What started as the casual perusing of digital store shelves eventually devolved into obsessive behavior and a complete monopolization of my spare brain capacity. I started simply by following a Twitter account known for alerting people of sales and other announcements surrounding video games. With Black Friday coming up, why wouldn’t I follow someone who had their finger on the pulse of deals in a way I did not? I enabled notifications and went on my merry way.

“Wal Mart is restocking at 9pm ET” one tweet read. “Cool,” I thought to myself, I’ll load up the page on my computer as well as my phone just as an additional precaution. This is a hotly sought after item after all. 9pm arrives, I abuse the F5 key to reload my webpage after every instance of the “error adding item to cart” message I’d receive. No worries, I’ll just keep doing this until it… oh, it’s completely sold out and it’s not even 9:01pm yet. This is where things took a turn.

Every major retailer’s PS5 page, both physical and digital editions of the console secured a prominent display on one of my monitors. Several tabs dedicated to both editions across various retailers are left open on my screen, occasionally receiving a refresh just in case one of the 4 PS5 stock notifying Twitter accounts I follow, just happen to slip up. I think we can all agree that I was being very sensible and not at all crazy.

And with this idea in my head that these Twitter accounts could fail me, I found some websites that track the stock of items in several retail stores. Even better was that they refresh automatically and even have alarms for when something comes back in stock. With alarms and notifications in place, one could reasonably assume that I could just go on with my life until I was alerted of something changing. That was the intention at least.

No, it turns out that I’ve been unable to find joy in literally anything else for fear that I might miss out on my one chance to buy this stupid looking console. It also doesn’t help to see that the only consistent “in-stock” options are eBay and a site called StockX, both boasting nothing but scalpers selling their wares at extremely reasonable prices. $1200 for a console that retails for $500? Sounds like an excellent deal to me. There were several listings for PS5s in the range of $30,000, but shout-out to the person listing a PS5 for 1 million fucking dollars. Thankfully shipping is included in the $1,000,000 price tag, unlike some of the other ones that were charging 500 bucks for shipping on top of a $28,000 price tag.

It’s been so infuriating to follow all of this, but this is exactly what so many others predicted would happen in a world where manufacturing and shipping lines had been disrupted by a deadly virus. It’s the reality of the situation, and until we can get to a place where the stock can meet the demand this is how it’s going to be for a lot of people. I desperately want one of these stupid boxes so I can play modern games without them either looking or performing like garbage, and getting a PS5 just happens to be the cheapest way I can do that. It’s that or spend at least a grand on upgrading my computer.

What bothered and continues to bother me the most is how unwilling any retailers or even Sony themselves seem to be about offering people a better shot at buying these consoles. Sites like Wal Mart and others put as little in the way of obstacles as they can to prevent you from buying something. That means there’s no verification process for an automated script to bump up against when trying to secure a dozen new consoles for resale. Meanwhile Sony has a queue system in place that isn’t perfect, but at least gave me the passing impression that I might be able to buy a PS5.

These are the prices for just the boxes!

I guess the ultimate question is “why do I want this thing so badly?” It’s an extremely valid question that took me a bit to come up with an actual answer that wasn’t just, “cause I waaaaaaaannnntttt one.” The way I see it is, there are some really big games coming out soon that I really want to try, things like Cyberpunk 2077 and Ubisoft’s terribly named Immortals: Fenyx Rising. My base PS4 isn’t going to do a great job with either of those games, and my PC is showing its age in a way that makes me certain that the clock is ticking. But in reality I could definitely hold off until next year to buy a PS5 and I’m well aware of that fact.

They always say that you shouldn’t buy the first iteration of any electronic product because it’ll inevitably be flawed in some way. There are reports of failing USB ports, incompatibilities with external drives and plenty of user interface issues that seem to be affecting people, all of which are great reasons to wait for a firmware patch or a new iteration. But in a year that’s been fundamentally broken and busted, why shouldn’t my new $500 console be a complete representation of the year 2020? Ultimately, I just want the new shiny thing and got really obsessive about it to the point where I’d get genuinely upset when I couldn’t purchase one online. It was at that point I decided to close out all of my tracking tabs and just try my luck at finding one in a store, which considering that I live in a fairly small town, might actually be my best option.

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