PS5 Software Sales Could Be Struggling Because Of Scalpers

Sony's system is sold out everywhere, but physical game sales in Japan are low enough to suggest that many of them aren't being played.

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The PlayStation 5 released worldwide in November, but right now it's very difficult to buy one, with stock in short supply. One issue since preorders opened has been the prevalence of scalpers, including bots that automatically buy systems to then resell at a higher price. Now, figures out of Japan suggest this might be an even more severe problem than first thought.

Bloomberg reports that strong console sales are not necessarily translating into software sales. Figures they've taken from Famitsu show that the system has sold 213,000 units in Japan since launch, but the sales for physical releases of the system's top 3 games (Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon's Souls, and an unnamed third-party title) come to just 63,000 units.

Comparably, the Switch sold 525,000 units in its first month, and saw that almost matched with 509,000 sales for its top 3 games.

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There are numerous caveats here--because of forwards compatibility, it's likely that many customers have bought PS4 versions of certain games for less money, and digital sales figures have been on the rise. The PS5 also has a digital only version, which would drive down physical sales, too. But the disparity is great enough to signal an issue, and because the PS5 is sold at a loss--as most consoles are at launch--Sony is reliant on software sales to make money.

This could have a long-term impact, too. Bloomberg quotes Morningstar Research's Kazunori Ito, who belives that the system "could miss a critical chance to get into a good hardware-software upward spiral." This could mean that "the platform’s total revenue earned won’t be as strong as we hoped for," he says.

Hopefully, PS5 stock will stabilize in the near future--or Sony (and Microsoft) will find reliable ways to deal with scalpers.

If you want to buy a PS5--and you're not a scalper--make sure to bookmark GameSpot's PS5 Restock Updates page. We'll keep you updated when systems appear for sale again.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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