JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Every year, there's that one gift that turns all parents into Arnold Schwarzenegger looking for Turboman. This year, the latest craze is for the long-awaited and hard-to-find Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X.
Even with the pandemic, the pandemonium over these video game consoles have some people paying two or three times the retail price on reseller websites.
“When I was picking mine up, a guy behind me was getting his as well, but he said he ordered five more online that he was going to sell for $1,000 [each],” said Jacksonville resident, Chris Jackson.
Jackson says he got lucky when he snagged his PS5 days after it was released on Nov. 12 for the retail price of $499. His friend told him a local GameStop had them in store so he took a chance to get one.
“I love it, there has been a couple of times where it has crashed but they came out with updates for the system and it hasn’t crashed since," he said. "Gameplay and everything else, a lot better than the PS4. Downloads are a lot faster, even if you don’t have the best internet, I downloaded an 80GB game in 20 minutes.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as Jackson.
The demand for these consoles greatly outweighs the supply, causing people to splash thousands for it, said Justin Bateh, a business professor at Florida State College of Jacksonville.
“Just like with pools, inflatable pools, bicycles, in a virus-driven economy there’s a stronger uptick for any kind of home entertainment activities,” Bateh said.
He says Sony and Microsoft both ramped down the production of their groundbreaking consoles to create too much supply during a recession.
“Microsoft and Sony released this to over 60 different countries compared to under 20 the last time they rolled out a new version, so supplies are spread and you have a wider market,” Bateh said.
Prices are firm from the manufacturers and retailers. The Xbox Series X is also going for $499 with the disk reader.
Some retailers are also making adjustments.
Stores like Best Buy have decided to exclusively sell the consoles online.
"Like other retailers, we’re seeing a lot of excitement from shoppers looking to get the new PlayStation and Xbox consoles. If a customer is still looking to order a console, they still might be able to get their hands on one – but only on BestBuy.com. Our stores won’t carry the consoles throughout the holiday season," a Best Buy spokesperson told First Coast News.
Jackson says the consoles are worth getting from the right place.
“Just wait and try your luck either in-store and online, and if not, wait until next year until they have them. Don’t spend a thousand dollars when you can get it for $500 less,” Jackson said.