2020 was supposed to be the year where gamers around the world would welcome the next generation of home consoles with open arms and raucous applause. The jump from the eighth generation to the ninth generation brings some of the biggest upgrades in hardware consumers have seen yet, making this gaming evolution one to remember.
However, the shift in generations will probably be remembered for a wildly different reason. Both console giants have revealed their machines, but have not yet given release dates or prices, a stark contrast from how Sony and Microsoft behaved during the last generational jump. During the season when gamers should be able to make pre-orders or scout out prices, there is nothing to be done—well, not exactly.
Since revealing their consoles back in summer, both Sony and Microsoft made their fans play the waiting game. Only small bits and pieces of substantial console-related news was heard over the course of months, but not exactly news for which fans were eager. The two P’s, Prices and Pre-Ordering, remained elusive.
Last week, however, Sony was the first to break the silence on the pre-ordering subject. Microsoft has yet to make any moves, with several retailers only offering to notify hungry fans when pre-ordering is available. Though Sony did broach pre-ordering, it was not in any way what fans expected.
On the official Sony website, they have opened registration for the PS5. No, not registration for a pre-order, but a registration to be ABLE to pre-order.
The official statement is as follows:
There will be a limited quantity of PS5 consoles available for pre-order, so we will be inviting some of our existing consumers to be one of the first to pre-order one from PlayStation.
Pre-order reservations will be taken on a first-come-first-serve basis, so once you get an invite via email, we encourage you to follow instructions and act fast.
If you are interested in receiving an invitation, register below.
It then tells users to register with their PlayStation Online IDs to qualify to be among the lucky few who will receive a pre-order notification. Sony has also provided a list of FAQ’s to clarify some concerns about the process. Most of the FAQs and answers are run-of-the-mill questions, but two particular questions and their corresponding answers have raised concern. The questions are as follows:
#1: Who will be selected to receive an invitation?
#2: If I receive an invitation, am I guaranteed to pre-order a PS5 console?
The answer to the first question says that Sony’s selection will be based on a user’s PlayStation activities while the second answer explains that the pre-order window has an expiration date, with limits on what users can purchase under one PSN ID.
All the aforementioned bits seem like incredibly tedious steps just to be able to not pre-order but to QUALIFY for pre-ordering, and certainly not what eager Sony fans expected. This pre-registration essentially eliminates non-PS4 users from the equation, disqualifying them from pre-ordering. On top of this, applicants will be chosen based on PlayStation activity, which is a ridiculous unit of measure. All of this just to qualify for pre-ordering.
Ludicrous steps aside, another concerning factor is the reason WHY Sony would go to such lengths for the pre-ordering process. Limiting the pre-ordering pool is drastic but not wholly unheard of; it’s the other qualifying steps that lead many to believe something is afoot with this year’s pre-orders.
The leading explanation to all of this is simple, given the world’s current circumstances.
Sony does not have enough consoles this year.
With the COVID-19 outbreak this year, many businesses around the world shut their doors to combat the virus’s spread. Due to the infectious nature of the virus, many factories and production plants were closed. As ground zero of the coronavirus, China was among the hardest hit at the beginning of this year, and a majority of console production factories and plants are stationed in China.
Japan-based companies were the hardest hit, given they outsourced much of their production to China. It didn’t help that the pandemic lockdowns also made consoles and merchandise fly off the shelves, leading to further stock shortages such as what Nintendo has suffered.
The world is still trying to tread towards recovery, but the nature of COVID-19 is keeping everyone on their toes. Countries that try to reopen often see a spike in infections, leading to more quarantining, like what is happening in South Korea.
All these things may have contributed to an immense shortage of PlayStation 5 consoles, making Sony unable to accommodate the legion of eager fans awaiting the launch of their beloved brand, thus leading to the arbitrarily tedious and difficult pre-ordering qualifications they have thrust upon gamers.
It’s not looking good for a majority of registerees.
Add that to the ever-growing list of disappointments in 2020.