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Gaming

I’ve lost hope in getting a next-gen console for the foreseeable future

On shortages, scalpers, and struggles from all over the place

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If you already have any of the next-generation consoles, you may read this if you wish. But for most of us, myself included, we all shared a collective struggle to snag one of the two highly-anticipated consoles late last year. Unfortunately, such struggle continued even into the new year, even when Sony and Microsoft were pretty optimistic about it to start.

Don’t get me wrong: the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are part of the future of console gaming. We’re talking technologies and hardware that supposedly rivals that of any gaming PC build for more than half the price. Even with a limited game library, game developers are adopting the next-gen consoles moving forward.

However, at launch, almost all units sold out in an instant — and the reasons are quite obvious. Months prior to launch, these companies stated numerous reasons for shortages on launch day. People like me were hopeful that restocking inventory would come soon enough, and would be enough for everyone all over the world.

But why are we still struggling to find a next-gen console?

Believe it or not, this struggle to simply purchase a next-generation console isn’t entirely on the industry itself. Sure, they’re running low on production staff, worldwide deliveries are a little messy right now — but that’s not 100 percent on them anyway. In case most people forgot, there’s still a COVID-19 pandemic happening in most parts of the world.

The pandemic put the video game industry on hold for a bit, as production for the next-gen consoles took a heavy hit. Because of remote working conditions and factories shutting down, Sony and Microsoft went out and said that launch day units will be scarce. I thought that they would just simply delay the launch, but nope — they still wanted to launch in November, on the exact day.

And yet, the next-gen consoles ended up being well-received by everyone — especially the ones that were either sent a unit, or successfully bought one. Both consoles sold out on launch day, mostly due to online pre-orders on Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and other retailers. Even here in the Philippines, eight retailers held online pre-orders and immediately sold out within the 5-minute window.

It’s pretty clear to me that there is a high demand for the next-gen consoles wherever you decide to buy one. However, the companies simply cannot provide regular stock as soon as possible due to a lot of factors — hardware shortage, mostly. Yet, Sony and Microsoft do their best to try and release more stock whenever possible so everyone gets an opportunity to buy one.

next-gen

What do you mean, everyone gets an opportunity?

I remember when Datablitz PH held its first online pre-order for the PlayStation 5 back in November, two weeks before the official release. On the day of the pre-order, I received the email with the link to the pre-order form and instructions on how the process goes. However, I was busy around that time, so I asked my sister to check the link for me.

Then, she texted me saying that every pre-order slot was full, even for the Digital Version. Slots went out so fast, it’s like the 5-minute window was way too long. At the moment, I had no complaints because I expected this to happen. This wasn’t the case for the rest of the internet as they took  their complaints to social media on the online pre-order system.

Another pre-order wave started, so more opportunities, right?

A second wave of pre-orders came in just last January, and I didn’t even bother with it anymore. Instead, I decided to lurk around Datablitz’s Facebook page and see the comments on their restocks and, well nothing changed. The claims were the same as the first time: bots from other buyers, while others are able to log in at an earlier time. There were even some conspiring that retailers had internal agreements with other people about it, which I don’t think is the case.

In essence, not everyone gets a “fair” opportunity at grabbing a next-gen console. It sucks that this has been a regular occurrence with premium items like this, and yet no concrete actions have been taken. But, I was thinking that maybe we’re looking at the wrong culprits here.

It isn’t the pre-order system’s fault entirely, and it’s mostly because this was an initiative by Sony and Microsoft given the pandemic situation. We’re trying to contain the virus here, and staying indoors for the most part is the best way moving forward. Still, I think they could have improved the process with every new run.

Wait, how come they have an abundance of stock of the next-gen console?

Instead, allow me to direct your attention to the scalpers themselves; you know, people selling you things for an insanely higher price. You’ve seen these people on a Facebook Marketplace or on Shopee, promoting that they have a next-gen console ready for you. Some of them even go out of their way to offer you a complete bundle to save you the hassle!

It’s not just these people that are participating in the grand sweepstakes for a next-gen console. In addition, there are also these (let’s just call them) unauthorized resellers who also somehow have stock of these consoles. While some of them do sell the console at either a fair or much lower price, there are those that don’t tell you that you have to pay extra fees for them.

PlayStation 5

In essence, these people manage to give you what you want: a next-gen console. The catch, however, is that you have to satisfy these two conditions to get it: be a sure buyer, and be ready to spend tons of money getting it. 

But, I thought that next-gen consoles were in shortage?

That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I kept seeing some of these “sellers” on social media. The fact that they have nearly tens to hundreds of units every other week just makes it hard to believe. Even when both Sony and Microsoft declared a shortage for the next couple of months, the grind continues for these “businesses.”

I say that they’re a business because these sellers claim to be such entities. They’re somehow able to capture a need present in their market, and provide the product or service to address it. As with most businesses, they determine the price such products or services are offered through extensive research and planning. For scalpers and unauthorized sellers, however, price setting is the easy part.

These entities will seek to supply everyone with as many units as possible, and they’ll find ways to procure them in bulk. You know how people were complaining that bots are taking their stock for online pre-orders? Well, some online retailers and news agencies are aware of such technologies being abused that way.

In my own experience asking one of these unauthorized sellers, they told me that they’re supposedly closely linked to the manufacturers. Also in some cases, they are not giving me a full rundown of any additional fees nor any proof of such. Yet, they expect me to simply abide by the payments since I got it for cheaper. In essence, they achieve the same thing as scalpers do by paying more than official retailers.

So, what now? Should we just wait for regular stock?

Admittedly, I’m already thinking that regular stocks of the next-gen console won’t be here for another 7-8 months or so. It’s not just because of the already announced shortages in hardware. Rather, it’s the fact that there is a higher chance that scalpers will get a hold of them first.

I feel like these companies were pretty clear on how they want the next-gen consoles to be received. In my opinion, they truly want to give everyone access to the future of gaming; that maybe you don’t need to spend insane amounts of money for crisp, clean gameplay. You know, something that you can do on a gaming PC but on a much cheaper yet strategic price tag.

PlayStation 5

Yet, these scalpers and unauthorized resellers simply want to make a profit off a need like this. Cry about it all we want, but these people exist and some people partake in their businesses. They’ve practically turned the next-gen console into a true luxury, something that the industry and some governments are trying to go against. 

I’ve lost hope in trying to get the next-gen console for this year, or possibly while the shortages are still in effect. At this point, I’d rather spend that money somewhere else, or invest it in the stock market. We could wait for regular stock all we want, but if scalpers keep getting these from us, there’s just no hope.

SEE ALSO: A somber look at the PlayStation 5 crisis

Gaming

Nintendo Switch is now third-bestselling console in history

Overtakes Game Boy and PS4

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Though there are more powerful consoles now, the Nintendo Switch is the most representative of the world’s situation since its launch. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the console keeps breaking records. Now, it has crossed its most important milestone to date. The Switch is now the third-bestselling console in history.

Released back in 2017, the Switch is the quintessential console for hybrid gamers who play at home and on the go. In its first few years, the console already spawned classic titles such as Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. However, its big break truly came during the 2020 lockdowns. The timing of Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ release created a worldwide moment when everyone stuck at home wanted a Switch to play the island life simulator. Since then, the console, despite launching an improved OLED version, is gradually mellowing out, especially when opposed to even more powerful consoles like the PlayStation 5.

Regardless, the Switch’s effect on the world is palpable. Today, Nintendo announced that the console has sold over 122 million units worldwide. With such a figure, the Switch moves up to the third spot in the list of bestselling consoles of all time. It squeaks past the Game Boy (118 million units) and the PlayStation 4 (117 million units).

Now, the next consoles in the Switch’s sights are the Nintendo DS (154 million units) and the PlayStation 2 (155 million units). The console is in for quite a climb, though. Unless it hits another golden age, it will take a while before another overtake.

It’s still possible, of course. The Nintendo Switch is still set to release a few much-awaited titles like Tears of the Kingdom, the sequel to Breath of the Wild.

SEE ALSO: Cult classic GoldenEye 007 is coming to Xbox, Switch

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Gaming

Samsung’s Odyssey OLED G8 is finally available to buy

Announced back during IFA 2022

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A good gaming rig is incomplete without a decent monitor. If you’re in the market for one and are willing to splurge, Samsung has finally released the Odyssey OLED G8 to the public.

Finally, after being announced way back during IFA 2022, the Odyssey OLED G8 is now available for purchase through retail. The curved gaming monitor features a 34-inch QD-OLED screen. Users can take advantage of the 1800R curvature and 1440p resolution to get the most of their games.

With adaptive sync and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, images will not suffer from choppiness or tearing, even in fast-paced games. Plus, with HDR True Black 400, the monitor can reproduce colors and dark scenes accurately. Response time is also remarkably fluid with a low 0.03ms response time and 175Hz refresh rate.

Behind the monitor’s sleek chassis, the Odyssey OLED G8 houses a conveniently minimized port design to reduce tangled wires. The design can support Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB-C. (The USB-C slot even supports up to 65W of charging.)

The Odyssey OLED G8 is now available for purchase. It will sell for US$ 1,499.99 through Samsung.com and select retailers.

While last year’s monitor is finally getting its spot in the open, Samsung has also unveiled a new series during CES 2023. The new Odyssey OLED G9 and Neo G9 showcases what’s coming next for the brand’s display segment.

SEE ALSO: Samsung launches Odyssey Neo G9, OLED G9

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Accessories

Logitech launches first-ever gaming earbuds

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Logitech G Fits

Logitech is venturing into the gaming accessories scene with the release of its first-ever gaming grade earbuds, the Logitech G FITS.

The wearables are the first earbuds from the brand to feature Lightspeed wireless, giving users pro-grade wireless connection for their PC, Mac, PlayStation 4 and 5, Nintendo Switch, and Android devices via USB-A or USB-C.

The true wireless gaming earbuds have 15 hours of total listening time. That’s seven (7) on their own and an additional eight (8) with the charging case. When connected via Bluetooth, the total battery life in one full charge stretches up to 22 hours.

The Logitech G FITS also feature the patented Lightform technology, which allows users to get a contoured and custom fit in just a minute.

They simply have to connect to the Logitech G FITS app which then triggers a number of embedded LEDs and harden the gel-filled tips to suit one’s ear as ideal as possible.

The same app may also be utilized for an equalizer to tailor-fit the listening experience, especially if one wants to emphasize bass or fine tune the settings.

Price, availability

The Logitech G FITS is now available in major retail stores and online via Lazada and Shopee for SG$ 389.

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