Console Crisis: Trouble with PS5 and XBox Series X Stock

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The launch of a new game console is an exciting occasion for any avid video game enthusiast. Especially now during the tumultuous Covid-19 pandemic when people have more free time to dedicate to playing their new device, the demand for Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is exponential. 

But what is not exponential is the stock for these consoles. 

The PS5 and Xbox Series X were notoriously difficult to order during the initial pre-order period around mid-September, often selling out within hours, if not minutes. 

As of the publication of this article, both consoles are sold out on,,, and But fear not– one website has these consoles available in bulk: eBay*. 

Oh, but there’s an asterisk there. You can certainly buy one on eBay…for over two times the original price at least. Some listings even exceed three times the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). Keep in mind that the PS5 and Xbox Series X retail for $499 already. 

One eBay listing had twelve consoles stacked on top of each other, selling at just under $1,400. The new consoles have been scalped and price-gouged, making it nearly impossible for consumers to secure a console for a reasonable price.

The process of buying copious amounts of a product with the intention of selling it at a higher price than paid is typically called scalping, and price gouging is the act of selling goods at an exceptionally high price when demand is high and supply is low. 

An example of price gouging was with the increase of price of hand sanitizer during the early stages of the pandemic. The new consoles have seen both of these practices all too much. One need only look on the resale market for consoles to see that. 

Sony and Microsoft know how popular their consoles are and should have anticipated large demand, especially this year given the extra time everyone is spending at home,” Nicholas Laird, the advisor of the Moravian Cyberhounds, said. “Both companies should do what they can to increase availability before the holidays so families don’t feel the need to resort to price gouged alternatives.”

Teddy Smith, a Moravian College student and video game enthusiast, was not surprised about the shortage. Smith related the PS5 and Xbox Series X problem to Nintendo’s release of their NES and SNES classic consoles, during which Nintendo failed to supply enough stock to meet demand, and thus scalping and price gouging was plentiful. Smith also said graphics cards for PCs were subject to these practices because they were useful in helping acquiring the crypto-currency Bitcoin. 

It’s important to remember that not even a megacorporation’s resources are infinite,” Smith said. “The consoles are selling so fast that Microsoft and Sony can’t keep up, and a select few that did get their hands on a new console are reselling them and price-gouging to make a quick profit.”

The issue of low stock may be dangerous for a corporation’s PR, but economically there can be great benefits to a shortage, namely artificially increasing demand. 

A consumer will be more likely to pre-order the consoles when they come back into stock because they want to avoid having to wait even longer or avoid having to purchase a console through the resale market at a significant markup. 

If true, the intentional shortage is highly anti-consumer and should be scrutinized by gamers.

I can say with certainty that these consoles will be available everywhere online and at retailers in the coming months. As such, I urge readers to avoid paying for price-gouged Playstations or Xboxes on eBay, and wait for a reasonable price. 

When it comes to these price-gouged, scalped-to-hell consoles, I know I’ll be holding onto my hard-earned money, so let the scalpers keep theirs. 

Here’s hoping that no one buys them and they turn into $500 dollar paperweights.