Next-gen PlayStations and Xboxes are hard to find, but why?

Gaming store employees say that COVID-19, microchip shortages and scalpers have made it difficult for game console supply to keep up with demand.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X next-gen game consoles were hard to obtain last holiday season.

Fast forward to 2021, and they are still difficult to acquire. Chris Thompson, who owns the Gameroom gaming store in Lincoln, says the continued shortages have been surprising to him.

“New-gen consoles were going to have a shortage regardless,” Thompson said. “But it has persisted a bit longer than I would have expected.”

Why are these devices so hard to come by? Microchip shortages brought about by the pandemic are one factor, but it’s not the only one.

“If the catalyst was COVID, then the scalpers are the next ones in line,” Thompson said.

Thompson explains the next-gen gaming console market has become saturated by scalpers who buy up as many consoles as they can to resale at a much higher price.

“Their margins are so great that they can buy in bulk, flip rapidly and just keep that up, basically vacuuming up everything left over,” Thompson said.

Charles Kendeigh, who works at Gameroom as a customer service and marketing associate, says he had a hard time tracking down his Playstation 5.

“The stores don’t have them in person, so when you have them all online, you can have those coordinated people buy them all up, and then try to resell them,” Kendeigh said.

Kendeigh says he would constantly search online retailers, Facebook message boards and Twitter accounts, getting close a few times in his search. Ultimately, he was able to get his Playstation when someone brought a broken one to Gameroom.

Kendeigh asked Thompson if he could pay the price for the console and its repair. Thompson agreed and Kendeigh had his new Playstation.

Thompson says he’s already seen people call with issues with their new game consoles.

“Now we’re starting to get repair phone calls, less than a year in and they’re already breaking,” Thompson said.

Thompson says the three main issues that he sees when people bring in any type of game console are broken HDMI ports, disc drives clogged with dust and overheating.

Kendeigh says in order to get your hands on a new gaming system, you almost have to think the way a scalper would, and start searching now.

“If I was a parent and I really wanted this for my kid, if I was dead set on it, I would be hustling,” Kendeigh said.

When will the market settle down? Thompson says eventually, but not any time soon.

“Until everybody gets back up to speed, everything will be in shortage,” Thompson said.

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