When the PlayStation 5 launched earlier today, there weren’t long lines wrapped around the stores. In Japan and internationally, Sony is limiting launch sales to online and pre-order pickups.
“The COVID-19 situation makes us very nervous about putting stock into stores around the launch window,” Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, told Nikkei Asia.
According to Kyodo News, Japanese electronics retail chain Nojima Corp. received 100 times more pre-orders than the number of units it had planned to sell.
Online e-commerce site Mercari has been flooded with listings for digital and the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive versions of the PlayStation 5, with gray market sellers asking as much as $1,000 or more. According to the listings, people are paying for these marked-up consoles.
In the past, when gray market sellers tried to profile on the oh-so-hot Nintendo Switch, retailers tried combating that by having customers line up at the stores and raffle away chances to buy the consoles—a system that was problematic but one that could hopefully deter profiteers. Obviously, with the pandemic, that’s simply not possible.