It's been over five months since the PlayStation 5 launched – and it's still very difficult to buy

Business Insider US
A customer buying Sony's PlayStation 5.
  • Sony's PlayStation 5 is still very hard to find.
  • Despite regular restocking, PS5 consoles sell out instantly through Sony and major chains.
  • Supply of the console isn't expected to meet demand until this fall at the earliest, Sony said.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

When the PlayStation 5 launched in November 2020, it was nearly impossible to find.

Five months later, with spring just days away, Sony's wildly popular game console remains as elusive as ever.

Though resupplies have been frequent, demand for the PS5 continues to vastly outstrip supply. And when the resupplies do go live, people overwhelm digital storefronts in a mad dash to maybe, hopefully, finally get a PlayStation 5.

More often than not, they are met with disappointment.

READ | SA gamers are paying huge markups – and taking big risks – to get a rare PS5

During a three-hour PS5 resupply marathon that Walmart spaced out in ten minute intervals on Thursday, Insider repeatedly encountered errors or crashes while trying to purchase the console. The item couldn't be added to the cart, or the website would hang while trying to load, or it simply did nothing after clicking an input.

Each time, even when the website did technically "work," the same result: The resupply sold out instantly.

A restock of the PS5 was made available at 3:00 pm. By 3:01 pm., supplies were exhausted.

Those issues were echoed by other people attempting to buy the new console.

"I was able to add the PS5 to my cart, get all the way to the payment method, and then it said item out of stock," one Twitter user said.

"None of it is working," another Twitter user said. "I keep trying and it [doesn't] want to let me get it in the cart."

Those same errors and near-instant sellouts persisted in ten minute intervals throughout the three hours of PS5 stock resupplies on Walmart's web store.

Beyond the technical issues retailers are having, and the overwhelming demand from consumers for Sony's latest PlayStation console, many are still being swept up by resellers - some of whom are using bots to beat out human buyers.

A quick look at resale websites like StockX demonstrates why: Resellers are offering the PS5 for about $730 (R10,673) as of this week - just shy of a 50% markup over the $500 (R7,310) retail price of a PlayStation 5 model with a Blu-ray disc drive. Over on eBay, both versions of the PlayStation 5 are going for $700 (R10,234) and up.

The top results for PlayStation 5 consoles in the "Buy it Now" section of eBay.

Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like Sony will be able to catch up with demand anytime soon.

In several interviews in late February, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan warned of an ongoing supply issue continuing through the second half of 2021.

"By the time we get to the second half [of the year], you're going to be seeing really decent numbers indeed," PlayStation boss Jim Ryan told the Financial Times in February. Though the company has, "been relentless in terms of trying to increase production," he said, some obstacles are out of the company's hands.

The global microchip shortage and the ongoing global pandemic are both impacting Sony's ability to produce more PS5s, for instance, but Ryan said the supply situation, "will start to get better hopefully quite quickly."

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