Why Next Gen Console Pre-Orders are a Total Disaster

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A lot of people are quite excited by the prospect of getting their hands on a new Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. However, thanks to a perfect storm of factors, the systems have both had disastrous pre-order windows. This is hardly new in the world of gaming, though this year has brought a new slate of challenges to bear for gamers.

Typically, when a new system is rapidly bought up on the day it goes up for pre-order, it’s because of a concentrated effort to clear it out. This is likely true in the case of both Sony and Microsoft’s newest systems.

However, more is happening behind the scenes in this strangest of years, too. So, what’s going on with these new consoles, and why are they so hard to pre-order?


Wherever there is a hotly anticipated new release, there are countless scalpers just itching to get their hands on it to turn around and sell for a markup. These opportunists often rely on scripts that run on their computers that help them “snipe” the newest releases the moment they become available.

Such a move might be scummy and frowned upon, but it’s hardly illegal.

Once a bot has helped scalpers “snipe” considerable quantities of a product, like a new console release, scalpers are quick to turn around and sell those products on secondhand sites.

For instance, if you were to look for PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X systems on eBay right now, you’d find countless listings of overpriced, marked-up systems for “pre-order”.

Production Woes

In case you’re just waking up from a six-month nap, there’s a global pandemic out there making things harder for everyone. This has had major impacts on production and distribution in fields like electronics and appliances.

Electronics like game systems are complex and require a good bit of lead time to be manufactured. With a pandemic closing down factories for months on end, it’s a small wonder Sony and Microsoft can even launch consoles this year.

This, coupled with the slowdown in shipping from countries like China, has set the system’s supply back considerable.

It’s unlikely that, even in an otherwise normal year, Sony or Microsoft would have had enough systems to meet the astronomical demand for the new systems. Compounding that demand with a production slowdown has altered the situation drastically.

Should You Buy a Marked-up System?

If you’ve been scrambling to find a pre-order on a new game console, you might have even considered buying a marked-up system. “It’s not that much more than MSRP,” you might be thinking.

Don’t do this, though. Feeding these kinds of scalpers only makes it that much easier for them to do this during the next big product launch.

There will be more Xbox Series X and PS5 systems made, and they will be available for purchase off of normal store shelves. Don’t let hype and panic psyche you out: if you want to buy a console from them, Microsoft and/or Sony will happily oblige.

They want to sell you stuff, and they don’t make any extra money when a scalper rips you off. So, remember: good things come to those who wait. Like new systems at MSRP.