The PS5 sells for $ 499 or $ 630 in stores, depending on which version you choose, but the resale price is as high as $ 1,500 per piece on sites like Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji. (Photo: Canadian Press)
The shortage of video game consoles during the COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely profitable to sellers like Rick Charles.
The 25-year-old project manager made $ 500 in profits selling every new PlayStation 5, Sony’s latest version of its coveted console.
“Everyone knew Sony would not be able to meet demand, and when men buy 20 or 50 at a time, the average buyer doesn’t stand a chance,” he said in an interview.
Hence, buyers, especially parents before the Christmas holidays, were willing to pay big bucks for the latest PS5. It sells for $ 499 or $ 630 in stores, depending on the version chosen, but the resale price hits as much as $ 1,500 apiece on sites like Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji at the height of second wave closings.
Although these prices have since fallen between $ 750 and $ 950, this is still a lot of money for families with tight budgets. However, experts say there are other affordable ways to quench your thirst for gaming.
Video games have spread hugely during the pandemic as people have left more free time. They can also use game machines to communicate with their friends.
In Canada, spending on games, consoles, and mobile phones increased to nearly $ 2.9 billion in 2020. This value is expected to reach more than $ 3 billion in 2021, according to estimates by Maurice Garard, technology research analyst. Mobile phone and games for Futuresource Consulting, the British company.
Additional markets like gaming headsets have also seen a boom in demand (for both gaming, work and home study), with shipments to Canada increasing 29% year-over-year in 2020.
Demand group to decline
Garrard said the excess demand for new consoles is expected to decline by the middle of the year, with more waves of restocking.
Walmart says it restores PS5 consoles online to provide a “fair and equitable opportunity” to purchase the item they’re looking for.
“This gives all customers the same access to the largest number of products and allows us to communicate with all customers at the same time,” company spokeswoman Felicia Fever said in an email.
“When we restock, we prefer to surprise and delight our customers rather than providing advance notice,” she said, adding that there is a limit of one console per customer.
23-year-old Nathan Santos searched the internet every day for several months before finally stumbling across the console one evening at Walmart.
“Maybe the page opened 15 seconds after posting a notice, and the console digital versions (no drive) were already gone, so I thought I wouldn’t wait any longer and bought the version (with the disc player),” the alternate teacher at an elementary school in Mississauga said, Ont.
“I couldn’t believe it. I even sent a video to a few of my friends on Snapchat, basically in shock.”
Mr Santos is not a big supporter of retailers, who he accuses of preventing players from getting their hands on systems at retail prices.
“I’m not prepared to pay several hundred dollars extra for this console when I know I can finally get one at retail.
The shortage was due to the problems that limited the production of semiconductor chips, a problem that plagued the automotive industry as well.
Other, less expensive options
Chris Alexander, an assistant professor in the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University, notes that while some suggest that the display limitations are intentional, a similar deficiency has affected previous releases of previous PlayStation consoles and other systems of games like the Xbox Series X and S.
“There is no confirmation to conclude that this was done on purpose or not, but there is a timeline to find out what happened with the PS2, the PS3, the PS4, and now the PS5,” he noted.
Someone describing himself as a video game teacher added that you don’t have to be rich to enjoy the hobby, as some free games are available online and old and used consoles can be purchased.
Mr. Alexander noted that “I didn’t have the money to buy a console in the first year of its release, with the exception of Sega Dreamcast, in 1999”, adding that it still plays the old fashioned way. Wii U with his kids.
“If we can get ourselves out of the hype for a second, we can see that there are a plethora of free games out there, many of which were created by (world class studios) immediately available to play for free.”
Libraries are also great places to find games for free, follow Kent Sextrom, Director of Community Relations at Kijiji Canada, who saw a 372% increase in searches for the PlayStation term in the first few weeks of release. A new console, last fall.
This initial wave of excitement was also seen with other game consoles like Xbox and Nintendo Switch.
In addition to the hunt for new PS5 hardware, the demand for refurbished and used systems also increased as people who suffered during the pandemic seek bargains.
Some companies offer video game rental subscription services and old games can be exchanged for a new title.
“So it is still possible to play modern games, one game at a time, for a monthly subscription, which is much cheaper than, say, $ 100 for the last game.”
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