The hype around the PlayStation 5 is reaching fever pitch. With no stock confirmed to be coming into the country until next year, and the presale and live stock selling out in minutes, its no wonder that while we’re still not fully out of the pandemic, people are desperate for entertainment.
The bungling way Sony has handled the rollout has left thousands of people out there foaming at the mouth to get their hands on a PS5 — or succumbing to the screams of their darling offspring. As expected, the age-old laws of supply and demand have kicked into gear once again to produce some truly mad results.
Online and physical retailers dried up faster than a puddle on a hot summers day on the November 12th release date. Since plenty of unscrupulous characters used automated bots to take advantage of the hype, purchasing extra consoles and flipping them for a quick buck, the secondary market has become the focus for getting your hands on a PS5.
It has not been unusual to see the consoles going on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Gumtree for two or three times their retail price — and people happily (or unhappily) forking out the cash for the opportunity to play the next-gen right now.
The premium people are paying has already reached Dutch poppy levels of wild. Kotaku reported on one console selling for $15,000 in November and another for a massive $50,000 in September. On Monday however, new territory was broken as a PlayStation 5 disc drive console sold on eBay for an eye-watering 90 thousand Australian buckaroos.
Just What the Hell Is Going On?
Now, it might not seem obvious, but no one is actually paying the equivalent of a house deposit for a PlayStation. What’s happening here is that sources unknown are injecting a little bit of chaos into the resale market to stop scalpers ripping people off.
How this works has to do with the eBay bidding mechanisms. eBay’s auction format for selling will award the highest bidder the item. If that person then refuses to pay for whatever reason, which is against eBay’s rules anyway, the second-highest bidder doesn’t then automatically get the item. If the winner refuses to pay, the item has to be relisted by the seller and the auction begun all over again.
Anti-scalping activists are programming bots to make accounts online and then target PS5 auctions to relentlessly bid on them, pushing the prices way beyond what any sensible person would pay and thwarting the attempted scalper’s sale. It’s all done in a bid to frustrate and derail people exploiting the lack of consoles.
The image above shows the history of bidding on the PlayStation in question. You can see the seller initially listed the console with an extra controller for the actually quite reasonable price (all things considered) of $900. Up until the price reaches $1450, at least some of these bidders are legit people intending to pay. When you start seeing multiple bids from the same bidder, jumping up in massive increments very close together, that is likely a bot following its programming to trash the auction.
How Much Are People Paying for a PS5?
It’s hard to say with certainty whether anyone is paying five figures for a PlayStation 5. eBay’s “sold” category is full of legit-looking auctions of the new console for around $1500 and up to $2500 is not uncommon. We would be very surprised if that notorious $15,100 sale was legit but the buyer does have a solid feedback score and the item wasn’t relisted so who knows.
If you are thinking of shelling out for a PS5 anytime soon, somewhere around $1400 is what you can expect to pay on the resale market for a new console but, really, it’s genuinely not worth that much. There aren’t many console-exclusive games out yet and 2021 is only a few weeks away now so you’re much better off just twiddling your thumbs like the rest of us until the market calms TF down.