Almost a year after the PS5 and Xbox Series X came out they’re still incredibly hard to find, and expensive, including at Amazon where the monopolistic retailer appears to be selling at least a few Microsoft consoles for roughly $1,000, or twice what they’re actually supposed to cost.
Kotaku was alerted to the seemingly sketchy activity by a tipster who happened to be perusing Amazon Warehouse’s gaming deals earlier today when they hit upon a listing for the Xbox Series X marked up to $984, and in some cases even more. The Xbox Series X is supposed to retail for $500, and Amazon Warehouse is supposed to be the online retailer’s discount shop for refurbished and opened box goods. So why is Amazon selling used ones for double?
It could be a coding error, or it might have something to do with the dozens of scalper-made listings on the site trying to price gouge desperate consumers seeking latest-gen consoles. You might have noticed in recent years that Amazon’s online store experience is kind of a mess, and especially since all of the supply chain issues arose after the start of the pandemic, all kinds of pricing anomalies have fallen through the cracks.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As Ars Technica reported a year ago, a report by the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen found instances of price gouging and defective products were rampant at the world’s largest retailer. That’s in addition to Amazon’s existing struggles with selling all kinds of mislabeled junk through its mostly unsupervised battle royale of third-party resellers. But as the months roll on, some people are clearly more willing to take risks on price and quality to finally get their hands on a new console.
“I decided to ‘bite the bullet’ and pay double for the XBox Series X compared to the retail price in stores,” wrote one recent reviewer on the Xbox Series X’s Amazon listing page. “I was a little wary of paying this much (close to $900) and doing so from a third-party, but I just really wanted to experience the next generation of gaming.”
In that person’s case the console turned out to be defective. Microsoft was able to fix it under the existing warranty, but the whole fiasco still ended up being an overpriced headache. “If I could go back and do it over again, I would not make this purchase. I would wait patiently to find a console in the stores for retail price,” they wrote. “I cannot help but feel cheated.”
Unfortunately, it could still be a while until that’s possible. New-gen consoles are still mostly sold out everywhere, with new stock being depleted as soon as it comes in, even as scalped inventory continues to be priced at disgusting markups. Just last week people across the country lined up for blocks just to get a shot at buying PS5s and Xbox Series Xs at Best Buy for MSRP.
“[The shortage is] going to be with us for months and months, definitely through the end of this calendar year and into the next calendar year,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer said in a recent interview with The Wrap. In the meantime try to resist giving into the scalpers, or in this case, Amazon.