Sony has revealed that its PS5 console is selling at a loss right now, as the system is currently being sold at less than the cost it takes to manufacture it. It's not an unusual strategy, with the PS4 similarly selling at a loss initially, but combined with the scarcity of the console thanks to production issues, it seems more than ever that scalpers are the ones coming out on top post-launch.
Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X were looking at possible production hurdles early last year, prior to their release, but Sony and Microsoft managed to get their respective pieces of hardware to market on schedule. The demand has far outstripped the supply, which has been hampered by the shortage of AMD chips, but Sony reports that the PS5 has sold 4.5 million units in its launch quarter regardless, which is the same number the PS4 hit in its launch window.
We would've undoubtedly seen that figure kicked up a notch if everyone who wanted a PS5 was able to buy one. Sony's investor report reveals the hit it's taking on the hardware, explaining that the loss is down to "strategic price points for PS5 hardware that were set lower than the manufacturing costs."
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While the urge to buy from scalpers is understandably tempting for those who are desperate to get on the next-gen console train, it's worth waiting it out as more PS5 stock slowly rolls out, with a fresh drop expected next week, according to our PS5 stock tracker.
Most retailers don't seem to care about the rampant issue of bots, or scalpers reselling, although some have taken measures to tackle them, or find alternative ways to open up buying opportunities, like Walmart, and UK retailer BOX and its ballot system.
Scalpers are not only making a profit on the console, with their jacked-up prices, but also contributing to the shortage by buying up thousands of consoles, according to their own claims.
Whatever their reasons for doing so, they're ruining everyone else's time, and are making money hand over fist, while even Sony isn't making a profit on its own hardware yet.
UK politicians proposed a bot ban at the end of last year in response to the situation, but such legislation would be difficult to implement. We'd like to see more retailers step up and take some accountability, but until then, keep your hard-earned cash; according to a Microsoft exec, the chip issues should be resolved in a few months, at which time we'll hopefully see PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles in plentiful supply, and scalpers thwarted.