Apparently, Sony underestimated the expected demand for the PS5, and now many pre-orders are being delayed or outright cancelled, even as the PS5 is quite a ways off from being shipped. Nevertheless, this issue of higher than expected demand is not unique to the PS5, as other tech products are experiencing similar problems.
The PS5 and high demand
Despite Sony saying the PS5 would have more consoles on launch than the PS4, this wasn’t enough to meet the demand for the new console. Worth noting is the fact that the Digital version of the PS5, at $399.99, is actually the least expensive console put out by Sony when adjusted for inflation.
Perhaps this added affordability is what drove much of the high demand, or perhaps the console simply offers enough value on launch that people decided it was worth it. Alternatively, it is also likely that the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled production of the console by making production centers have to close down, or follow rigorous safety procedures, in order to avoid outbreaks.
Likewise, the PS5 is probably experiencing increased demand because the rest of us, now stuck at home, have turned to video games as one of the best ways to entertain ourselves, socialize, and drive off the mundane living quarantine offers.
Lastly, there is one other thing to consider that has plagued tech releases for ages- the problem of automated bots making mass purchases quicker than human buyers. While it is unlikely that bots are entirely to blame for the high demand of the PS5, as more consoles will be made in time and the value of the mass-purchased PS5s will quickly lose their resale value, it is certainly a possibility.
How bots affect high tech product releases
Perhaps one of the best examples of bots negatively affecting the launch of a new tech product has to do with the brand new Nvidia RTX 3080 that “launched” on the 17th. Many people, like me, waited eagerly for the release minute to come, only for every store that claimed to have them to be “sold out” in under three minutes.
Needless to say, this led to a large number of unhappy people who wanted to buy a graphics card at launch finding the cards they could have purchased listed for upwards of $10,000 online by scalpers who had no intention of using them.
Perhaps what these two launches tell is that companies who intend to maintain the goodwill they earn through their products will need to take steps to make sure their products actually end up in the hands of those who want them, and not those who just want to resell them.