Sony Japan has instituted a new anti-scalper policy and as low-tech as it is, it does to seem to be effective.
The PlayStation 5 still isn’t much easier to get hold of today than it was at launch over a year ago, but if you want one in the UK stock now arrives more quickly than it used to – or you only have to spend a little extra on eBay.
The situation in Japan is different though, as Sony has always prioritised shipments to North America and Europe and largely ignored its homeland until recently, when stock started to become more easily available – which also means that scalpers became more prominent.
According to Yahoo Japan though stores have found a simple way to discourage ‘malicious resale’: they simply break the seal on the box in front of the person that buys it, ensuring they can no longer pretend it’s brand new.
What happens with purely online sales is not clear but there’s few enough of the consoles in Japan that the majority seem to be being sold only at physical stores.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping a scalper from selling the console anyway, even if the seal is broken, but anyone already wary of buying from them is going to be even more put off if they can’t prove that the console isn’t brand new.
The lack of stock in Japan has given a skewed impression of how popular the PlayStation 5 is there, as in the midst of a restock last week the PlayStation 5 sold 35,474 consoles in Japan.
That’s much less than the Nintendo Switch, on 83,800, but it is a lot more than usual, and proves there is demand for the console when it’s available.
The Xbox Series X and S only sold 390 consoles during the same period, which makes it sound like Microsoft is doing as bad as usual in Japan, but it’s consoles are supply constrained too and currently at a low ebb.
When they’re in the stock the console has actually been selling a lot better than the Xbox One, even if it’s still a long way behind Nintendo and Sony.
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