in various regions the PlayStation 5 launch day will be beset by bots and scalpers, this was already a foregone conclusion, but now the impact will be much worse. PlayStation 5 launches on November 12 in the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and on November 19 in the UK and the rest of the world. And those launch days are going to be a mess.
Sony has announced that there will be no consoles in stores for purchase on November 12 or November 19 as part of their launch plan. Sony has allowed pre-orders to be shipped to stores, but no more stock will be sent out. Instead, orders are being handled by online retailers and their distributors.
The announcement on the PlayStation blog also confirmed that anyone who has already pre-ordered their machine at a brick and mortar store will still be able to collect their orders. Sony has made this decision to remove the option for crowded midnight launches “in the interest of keeping our gamers, retailers, and staff safe amidst COVID-19.”
It’s a sound decision to prevent the spread of a deadly disease, where in the US more than 100,000 new cases have been confirmed in just 24 hours, setting a new record. But the outcome will be nothing but a boon for predatory scalpers who will snap up any consoles they can to try and resell them.
And it’s not just the US that’s having trouble. The UK is going into a second national lockdown for the next month as COVID-19 enters its next wave of infections. Part of the lockdown even prevents cash transactions to limit personal contact. That means many retailers in the UK are adjusting plans to adapt. Many will still allow in-store pre-orders to be picked up within certain limited windows, with social distancing enforced.
This also doesn’t do much to address concerns of COVID-19 spread within the postal services, shipping companies and warehouse staff of the world. And going into the holiday shipping season, which is certainly going to see a spike in demand, there’s bound to be a massive problem that develops there as companies push workers into unsafe conditions to meet the demand for shipments and retail sales. This is going to be a huge disaster, and there’s not much any one company can do about it.