The pre-orders for the PS5 were a fucking mess, and the disorganization of it all can probably be blamed on a few retailers jumping the gun. But the real problem is on Sony, and what I can only believe to be a manufactured scarcity. There is no way they “released” for pre-order all of the consoles they’ll have available this holiday season in one clusterfuck of a Wednesday night, but the perception of such scarcity breeds panic and FOMO which only benefits the brand as a whole. It drives hype, word of mouth, and perhaps tips some consumers that were on the fence from “ehhh” to “oh, maybe I need this!”. A slow “saline drip” of additional stock throughout the next couple of months to make sure we all remember this is a thing we’d be “lucky” to nab.
This sort of hype and anxiety is typical of a console launch, and further heightened this year because everything was fucking scarce there for a little while. The difference, at least for me, is that this console cycle doesn’t feel like it warrants the hype and FOMO we’re starting to see. Fear of missing out on what, exactly?
Of the only two PS5 launch titles I feel are worth the time, Spider-Man: Miles Morales I could just play on the PS4 I already own, and Demon’s Souls I’ve already beaten. I’d love to play the remake, but it’s hardly a pressing concern.
The XBox Series X, meanwhile, doesn’t have a single interesting confirmed launch title that I couldn’t simply play somewhere else.
Eventually these two boxes will grow into must-haves, I know that. They will both get games I really want to play, and they will be the only place to play them. But for the first time since my Mom was amazing enough to go to the mall on launch day while I was at school and pick up my long-preordered N64 system, I am looking at the launch of a new console with incredible amounts of apathy.
I don’t really feel like jumping through the hoops to get a pre-order this time around. Setting up tons of email alerts, constantly refreshing store pages, etc… If I see a Ps5 for pre-order, I won’t say no, but at the same time, I’m feeling increasingly comfortable with the idea of just not getting one until later. With most of the truly interesting next-gen exclusives pushed to 2021, it just feels like perhaps these consoles should have been pushed as well.