Technology

Amid PS5 pre-order chaos, scalpers are selling consoles with huge markups

Perhaps it was inevitable: pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 have been a bit of a mess – and scalpers are taking advantage.

Pre-orders for the PS5 went live late on Wednesday night UK time – before Sony had officially announced they had begun. This sparked a scramble from those desperately trying to secure their pre-order. As retailer websites wobbled under the pressure of the online horde, the victorious took to social media to celebrate, while the defeated were left deflated, hoping for better luck in the coming weeks.

Now, just a few days later, the next step in the console pre-order dance has been taken: concern over cancelled pre-orders, retailer warnings about delivering on launch day, and scalpers laughing all the way to the bank.

Let’s start with Amazon, which has sent an email out to some who have pre-ordered a PS5 to warn that the retail behemoth may not be able to get them a PS5 for launch.

Even Geoff Keighley, PlayStation news extraordinaire, is not immune.

On these shores, social media is flooded with complaints from angry customers who either couldn’t secure a PS5 pre-order, or who thought they had one but don’t. Argos has come under fire for its online system. A successful pre-order from Argos relies upon the receipt of an email confirmation within two hours of an order being placed. If you don’t get this email, you don’t get your pre-order. It looks like there were quite a few people who didn’t get this email, even though they went through the entire online process.

Over on HotUKDeals, users have reported receiving pre-order cancellation emails from online retailer Very. “Unfortunately, due to extremely high demand and limited availability, your order has been cancelled,” reads the email, as reported by user Grudz90. “We apologise for any disappointment caused.”

“… held off any other preorder because I thought I was sorted,” Grudz90 said. “Now missed all the others. Will never use Very again.”

PS5s are in hot demand – that much is clear. The console is currently the number one bestseller on Amazon. Pre-orders evaporate as soon as they’re made available. And so we have scalpers who are taking advantage of the situation – as they have always done, and probably always will do.

UK eBay has 1804 results for PS5, with “guaranteed” pre-orders ranging in price from the extortionate to the frankly ridiculous. We should of course look at successful auctions to see what the PS5 is going for on eBay. Here’s one that’s gone for £750.00. Here’s another that’s gone for £700. There are more, somewhat suspicious confirmed sales that are much higher. Here’s an Argos pre-order that’s gone for £7,069.69. For reference, a PS5 should cost £450.

The situation is so bad, the mainstream press has taken notice. I’ve seen PS5 pre-order / eBay stories on the websites of the national newspapers – and they focus on the “gamer fury” angle. Those who have so far missed out and who don’t want to pay over the odds on the likes of eBay are now beholden to shops receiving fresh stock allocation and then being lucky enough to snag one when they go on sale. Amazon says the PS5 is currently unavailable. It’s the same for GAME. It’s a similar situation across most shops right now.

Perhaps the best shot is simply rocking up to a shop on 19th November and trying your luck. But with a second wave of coronavirus upon us, will shops even be open then?