There’s two things to take out of the pre-order hype over the past two weeks: firstly, video game consoles are here to stay and for a long while, despite pundit suggestions otherwise, and secondly, the industry may need to rethink distribution methods from 2020 and beyond.
The PlayStation 5 was unveiled with a bang earlier this month, before Sony dropped the bomb and opened up pre-orders almost immediately. Anyone not watching their live broadcast pretty much missed out, and it’s clear that it was Sony’s intent to maximise ownership amongst those fully committed and with the highest purchase intent (ie. those watching its live stream).
Microsoft went a different route, giving gamers weeks notice of when pre-orders would go live for the Xbox Series X. This led to an all-in virtual brawl as people flooded online retailers, leading to server crashes, and lots of frustrated/angry/sad gamers who missed a launch-day console.
My own experience was nauseating: I’ve written about my Xbox Series X pre-order experience, but to summarise, I leaped from retailer to retailer until finally I managed to get a console with the Microsoft Store, although that also came after significant delays and website issues, and no one from Microsoft can tell me if I’ll get the console around launch, if at all before the end of the year: there’s zero indication as to my place in the queue.
Amazon went a different route again, this time holding off on pre-orders and staggering its release in the hope of minimising server impact. It worked for the most part but unfortunately, as is the case with most in-demand products on Amazon, it’s anyone’s guess if the product will be delivered on time.
Much like my Microsoft Store experience, no one knows when their console will arrive, and so what many people have is a simple order, in many cases with no payment made, and a “you’ll get it when you get it” approach.
This comes by the way of The Game Awards host, Geoff Keighley, who Tweeted an image of an email he received from Amazon.
“We’re contacting you about your order of Xbox Series X to let you know in advance that you may not receive this item on the day it is released due to high demand,” the email says.
Amazon insists it’s “making every effort with the supplier to procure more inventory.”
There’s been record-breaking demand — although we’re not sure of the context of this demand — for Xbox Series X and Series S since pre-orders opened around the world on September 22. The console launches on November 10.
Did you manage to lock in a launch day Xbox Series X? How was your experience? Sound off in the comments below!