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PlayStation 5 Won’t be on Store Shelves on Launch Day

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Despite its launch day, November 12, rapidly approaching, the PlayStation 5 won’t be on store shelves that day. Instead, Sony has opted for online-only sales for their upcoming console, due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic.

This news, combined with the complicated and muddied pre-order window for the system, has combined to make the PS5’s launch frustrating for some gamers.

Many online have commented that the PS5’s launch has been a perfect storm for scalpers. Sony’s messaging about the timing of pre-orders clashed with what actually happened when retailers put up their orders. This resulted in a mad scramble, where Sony fans were racing to place pre-orders with major retailers. Sony apologized for the fiasco, but was unable to change anything since the orders were already placed.

No Launch Day PS5s in Stores

“In the interest of keeping our gamers, retailers, and staff safe amidst COVID-19, today we are confirming that all day-of launch sales will be conducted through the online stores of our retail partners,” wrote Sid Shuman in a PlayStation Blog post on Thursday.

Sony’s decision to skip the physical release for the PS5 on launch day makes sense from one standpoint. After all, the kinds of long lines and crowded stores that console launch days tend to bring are not a good look in the COVID-19 era. As such, many gamers expressed understanding for the decision, and some commenters online noted that this was a good, safe move.

However, it has also incensed some fans, who claim that Sony has (purposefully or not) created a situation that is perfect for scalpers.

“Scalping” refers to a process by which people looking to make a profit on a sought-after item purchase it in high quantities and then turn around to sell it on sites like eBay.

Often, this results in items like the PS5 being quickly bought out all over, only to be relisted on secondhand sites for a considerable markup. While this situation greatly angers fans, it’s difficult for the companies selling these items (Sony, in this case) to directly address it.

Launch Lineup

Meanwhile, Sony’s launch lineup of games is looking a bit thin compared to prior generations. The major marquee PS5 title coming out on November 12 is Demons’ Souls, a remake of the From Software classic. While it’s not a PS5 exclusive, the launch of Miles Morales Spider-Man, the DLC for 2018’s Spider-Man, coincides with the new console’s release.

Sony’s main competitor, Microsoft, is faring no better in terms of launch day exclusives. Halo Infinite, which was supposed to launch alongside the Xbox Series X, has been delayed into an undetermined date in 2021. Microsoft is aiming to use their Game Pass service as leverage to stay competitive with the PS5’s first-party lineup.

Similarly, CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 was supposed to have released a week later, on November 19. However, it was delayed into December in order to make sure it was optimized for the numerous platforms it’s launching on. That delay has reportedly cost CDPR upwards of millions of dollars, as it saw their stock prices fall dramatically.