I was lucky enough to place a pre-order for the PlayStation 5 last year, a month before its release in November. 

I figured it would’ve been extremely difficult to obtain after its initial release date, one reason being the demand of next-gen consoles and the other being how they wouldn’t be shipping consoles to stores for buying them in-person; you could only get them online. 

I remember the rough release of the PlayStation 4, and how the console had various hardware issues, like a busted HDMI port. I was worried those problems, or more, would carry over to the 4’s successor. 

Thankfully, I haven’t had any problems with mine yet. 

In 2013, I got a PS4 for Christmas after my parents found one at my local Walmart. Sadly, for Christmas 2020, not many people were so lucky. Fast forward to today, and it’s still a nightmare trying to find a PS5 or Xbox Series X that hasn’t been scalped. 

Scalping is when someone uses bot software to buy out all the stock of a certain product quickly and automatically resells them at a much higher price. A physical edition PS5 can get its original $499.99 market price resold as high as $1,000. 

Scalpers are the main reason no one can find a next-gen console, so what are main retailers doing about it? The answer is: the best they can do. 

It’s not a problem for them to actually get consoles sent to them by Microsoft or Sony; their problem is selling it to real people instead of bots. 

The bot’s software ironically makes them able to pass those “Are you a robot?” tests, but sometimes they’re not able to get through, thanks to retailer’s specific buying algorithms designed against bots. 

There was also a sort of “rule” every retailer had that limited one console per purchase. Those specific algorithms haven’t been working too well, as stock is still gone in minutes. 

Walmart once stopped 20 million bots from getting through to the system, but many more were still able to get through and buy multiple consoles in an instant. 

I was able to help my friend get a PS5 by keeping watch on restock news on Twitter, and he was able to get one from GameStop. However, it took us about a week of trying. 

GameStop restocks in waves to deter bots, and only stocks higher priced bundles to deter scalpers. Sounds like they’re using the mentality of “if you want to deter scalpers, you must join them.” 

Obviously, GameStop’s a better deal than some shady dude who has a wall covered with next-gen console boxes because you’re getting, say, and extra controller and/or a couple games for the same price as the scalpers are selling the base console. 

As GameStop sells in waves, you have to constantly refresh and stay glued to the screen for at least an hour. 

The problem my friend had is that it took about three sessions of refreshing for an hour to finally get one. He got a $700 bundle with three games and two controllers with a $20 GameStop gift card shoved in.

Myself and two others attempted to get one of my other friends a PS5, but I think the site had way too much traffic and the site decided to release the consoles in waves, which made it really unresponsive. 

As it is now mid-April, and the PS5 is still pretty rare. PS5 exclusives that released day one are suffering in terms of player base. 

My friends, the one who got a PS5 and the other who didn’t, and I are pretty big fans of the “Dark Souls” games. We ran through the games together and after the “Demon’s Souls” remake was announced, we were pretty excited. 

“Demon’s Souls” is the first “Souls” game that was released back in 2009 on the PlayStation 3. We’ve been holding off from playing it until we can play together, as we primarily like to invade/be invaded by other players to fight them. 

I’ve heard that the game was dying simply because there’s not enough people getting into it, which is terribly sad. Hopefully, everyone can get a next-gen console sometime soon and retailers figure out how to combat scalpers on a larger scale.