Practically every retailer sells out instantly after getting more allocation. Many who do get their hands on the new systems end up being scalpers who sell them for exorbitant prices to profit. On eBay alone, 60,000 next-gen consoles were sold, generating nearly $60 million in revenue through December 1, 2020.
This comes by way of a Dev article that was relayed by Video Games Chronicle. As Dev points out, the median price of a PS5 Digital Edition on eBay was $937, while the Standard Edition averaged at around $1021, which both retail for $399 and $499, respectively. That means the average scalper nearly doubled their money by selling next-gen PlayStation systems through eBay — even after eBay and PayPal fees.
On the Microsoft side, the median price of an Xbox Series S was $469, and its older sibling, the Xbox Series X, averaged $865. Respectively, each sells at retail for $299 and $499. In contrast, not as much of a profit as the new PlayStation systems, those who flipped a new Xbox console made a steady profit.
In total, Xbox sales on eBay generated $23,586,474 in revenue and $10,091,369 in profit. PS5s on the other hand earned sellers $35,753,329 and $19,036,493 in profit on the marketplace.
The scalping has gotten so bad that in the UK, a proposal is in place to prohibit “the resale of gaming consoles and computer components at prices greatly above Manufacturer’s Recommended Retail Price,” according to VGC. The motion needs to be signed by nine Members of Parliament to be passed.
One of the most famous examples of scalping in recent memory from Twitter user @Mike_Feichtner. They posted an image with dozens of PS5s with the caption “F*** your feelings,” and listed the prices of Digital PS5s at $900 and Standard Edition PS5s at $1,100.” There are reports that the user was later robbed at gunpoint, but it's unclear if this is true.
Either way, the scalping has gotten out of control, and measures must be taken to prevent it from happening. At this time, it's nearly impossible to find a new PS5 or Xbox Series X through a retailer thanks to the scalper “bots” that are programmed to buy all the stock before a consumer has the chance.