• Bill Newhart

Sneakers, Streetwear, and...Gaming Consoles? (Oh My)

"Ok, I'll bite. It's a catchy title", you may be thinking. But, really, what do gaming consoles have in common with hyped streetwear? A whole lot, it turns out.

Image Credit: Sole Collector

As shoppers prep their lists for this year's holiday season - a roster that likely includes the recently released PS5 or Xbox Series X - they're likely to be greeted by a new challenge this time around: actually buying the console itself. It's not uncommon for the year's hottest items to go flying off the shelves, particularly around end-of-year holidays. I have fond memories camping out for the days leading up to Black Friday in anticipation of the newly released Xbox 360 and having to run to the gaming section before sprinting back to the cashiers, all the while dodging a madhouse of shoppers piling up behind me (clearly this experience was pre-COVID). But, social distancing aside, the shopping experience has changed drastically in just the past 10 years. With the increase in online shopping, gone are the days of physically waiting in line for 24 hour's worth of deals; holiday sales can persist for weeks, if not months. But more importantly, less people are shopping in person and opting to make purchases through computers, smartphones, and tablets. The issue with this, quite frankly, is bots - or more importantly - the underpreparedness of retailers' bot protection.

Being in-tune with the sneaker culture, we know all too well how to navigate the bot ecosystem; Yeezy Supply, Footsites, and SNKRS have been dealing this this problem for years. Botters can run thousands of tasks per second in an effort cop the latest limited release, which now includes PlayStations, while your Average Joe violently clicks their mouse with one try per second. It's something the general public just can't compete against. However, seeing this dynamic spill more and more into the general marketplace isn't something most are used to. We covered this topic in detail in our previous article, Why the Hype? - The State of the Market, but it seems with more and more retailers choosing a limited supply marketing tactic, this issue won't be going away anytime soon. If anything, it'll only get worse.

Image Credit: StockX

eBay has always been a fan-favorite for flipping retail goods above cost, but more recently we've seen others take note of the growing need for secondary market actively, including StockX. The image above best highlights the current situation. This PS5 version retails for ~$500 and is reselling for just under 2x cost. And there's worse situations out there, with some resale prices going for eye-watering rates in excess of $1,000!

So, why not wait it out? Don't buy from scalpers and let the prices fall back to cost, leaving resellers with some dead, immovable inventory. It sounds good in theory but in practice it can be much more difficult. Congratulations if you have the mental fortitude to wait six months to a year to delay your purchase. For most that are seeking instantaneous gratification or shopping for their little gamers, this simply isn't an option. At the end of the day, scalping hasn't gone away - nor will it in the foreseeable future - it's just taking a new form we're not totally accustomed to. And, until retailers step-up their security protection, this issue will remain prevalent.

Best of luck on this season's drops! Remember to take the StockX "Verified" tag off your console before tucking it under the tree this year.

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