Video Games (Next-Generation)

Robert Gore, Entertainment Writer

In a time where large portions of our days are spent indoors, we find ways to stay entertained and occupied. For over 40 years now, a favorite pastime has been video games, a popular form of entertainment with yearly revenue topping the film and television industries. 

It’s no surprise that as the current generation of video game consoles reaches its eighth year on the market, the industry is preparing for the next generation. The current generation of consoles consists of the Wii U, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch, which were released from 2012-2017 –  the upcoming generation consists of the Xbox Series X/S and the PS5. The two consoles have both already been released, but as of this moment are notorious for their stock issues. 

Many gamers who refuse to wait have resorted to purchasing the consoles from scalpers on the internet. Scalpers are people who buy and sell in-demand items to people at large markups. Scalpers will stalk websites to purchase consoles before others, only to sell them back for a profit. Unfortunately, there are no laws forbidding this, and there isn’t much stores can do to prevent this besides limiting sales to one item per customer. This is frustrating to many people eager to get their hands on the future of video games, but was this shortage planned out all along?

A business strategy that we have seen in the video game industry that has been becoming more and more popular in the past decade is called “Artificial Demand”. Artificial demand is when a company releases a product in an extremely limited quantity, causing the few who want it to create a panic looking for it, which resulting in people feeling that they should buy the product that other people are also buying, even though many people who are buying it did so to keep up with trends or to scalp. This strategy was used recently with the Nintendo Switch. Pre-orders for the console were very limited, causing uproar. This then led to the console being featured in news stories, giving it more attention, and leading both gamers and the casual audience to believe this was something they needed to invest in and be a part of. So is it possible that this is exactly what is happening with the newest Xbox and Playstation? Most likely not. 

These new consoles are a very small step graphically from the previous generation. There isn’t a huge amount of wow factor to these new consoles besides a few new features like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. There is almost no reason to buy these consoles now. The PS5 launched with only two exclusive games, and the Xbox launched with none. This leaves little new and exciting for people who aren’t very interested in video games to sink their teeth into. 

In the case of the PS5 and Xbox, the lack of consoles is most likely due to shortage of parts and the way the world is at the moment. Sony has reported that there has been a shortage of chips needed to produce PS5 consoles, and Microsoft has also stated that Covid-19 has affected the manufacturing process significantly and that they will most likely continue having shortages until next spring. This reason also makes more sense when you consider that the holiday season is the most profitable time of year for video games, so it would be a poor business choice to do it then.

Overall, the next generation of video game consoles is an exciting thing, but right now, it’s something that we have to wait to fully be a part of. Over time these new consoles will grow on us and make their ways into our homes as they will surely be around for quite awhile. Until then, we’ll have to make do with what we are able to get right now.