Xbox Series X

By now I’m sure we’re all aware of the PS5 pre-order debacle. But if you haven’t been following the news, Sony promised not to make the pre-orders for its next gen console a surprise, and consumers were supposed to receive a heads up once pre-orders went live. Of course, as is often the case with the games industry, that didn’t quite happen. In fact, the opposite happened, and pre-orders stealthily went live shortly after the price announcement during the recent Sony livestream event. And, of course, they sold out lickety split.

Sony would later apologize and stated it will make more units available for those left out in the cold.

This was of course, naturally met with much derision, and it also allowed Microsoft to have a little fun at Sony’s expense.

But it doesn’t stop there. I recently logged into to take a gander at this week’s sale items when I noticed, at the top of the page, an infographic about the Series X/S with links to pre-order. I hadn’t given much thought to actually buying the next-gen Xbox, but this definitely gave me a moment’s pause at the possibility.

Xbox Series X Pre-Orders

Just out of curiosity, I clicked the pre-order link for the Series S and was brought to a specs page, which gives the rundown for both the All Access monthly payment option (which comes with two years of Game Pass Ultimate for $34.99/month), no upfront cost, and 0% APR (which is actually an insane deal if you currently don’t have Game Pass Ultimate). There was also a link to pre-order flat out by paying the $499.99 upfront.

Xbox Series X Pre-Orders

After making your financing choice, a pop-up window then not only shows you which retailers are offering pre-orders, with a link to each site, but also which retailers have sold out. Although the first link I clicked (which stated the Series S wasn’t sold out) led me to a sold-out page in Walmart’s online shop, each subsequent link seemed to line up correctly. The most amazing part was that, as of this writing, there were actually Series S units available at two retailers, and Best Buy still had pre-orders live for the Series X.

Xbox Series X Pre-Orders

Now contrast this with Sony, who opened their pre-orders prematurely with no fanfare, only to have them sell out the night before they were supposed to go live. So there was already a slew of people who got up early the day PS5 pre-orders were supposed to go live — perhaps going to bed extra early the night before — only to be blindsided by the news that the initial pre-order stock had long since been spoken for.

But when I did a quick check of the PlayStation Store website for comparison, the site doesn’t even mention the name PlayStation 5, let alone have any information about the fact that the PS5 is an actual product coming out very soon. And that’s to say nothing of the lack of retailer links and generally up-to-date stock notifications to help the consumer navigate the treacherous pre-order landscape as it currently stands.

Now, it’s worth pointing out that the PlayStation Store is largely a digital storefront for downloadable games, but if Microsoft can integrate Series X/S messaging into their own digital storefront, why can’t Sony do the same thing?

It seemed so ridiculous how badly Microsoft handled the Xbox One announcement way back when, especially since by that point in history they had all but squandered the huge install base they’d accumulated after Sony’s own PS3 price debacle. And that PS3 debacle came after Sony had long dominated the gaming landscape with the PS2; all it took was an overly optimistic price point to flush the hopes of Sony fandom down the toilet.

Here we are once again, with Sony commanding a massive install-base lead over Microsoft as we head into a new console generation, yet it seems that the tables might be shifting in Microsoft’s favor. All of the goodwill Sony has amassed over the past few years is evaporating, simply because the current top dog assumes they only need to show up in order to one-up the competition in this new next generation.

Will they never learn?

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